Urban vs. rural

Yesterday, we met up with friends and took a walk from their house to Left Bank, which is a distance of some two miles. Some of it is through green spaces and the building at the end was definitely worth a visit.

The specific reason for going to the venue was to see the opening day of a friend’s exhibition. I’d already had a glimpse of the paintings but never even noticed this building before, even though I’ve passed it hundreds of times, including on foot.

Another building, further up the road, which I had also never before noticed, was

the bear pit. My friend pointed it out to me but knew of no other details. Presumably the building must be on private land, otherwise surely there would be a council sign – possibly saying to keep-out. The site does not currently look at its safest, though going on its history, for some it would never have been that.

In spite of all the discoveries and catching up with people we hadn’t seen for a while, there was a slight downside to the trip: the noise from the traffic. Most of the walk was along urban roads and at times with vehicles thundering past we practically had to shout to make ourselves heard. This must be the first time I’ve experienced so many unwanted decibels since lockdown – most certainly for my daughter, too.

Which brings me onto the piece which inspired this post: Scientists discover a major lasting benefit of growing up outside the city. I’m so glad I moved us out of metropolitan Leeds when my daughter was a toddler. We had lived very close to green spaces before buying the house in a village but a walk round Kirkstall Abbey, for example, still leaves a person surrounded by urban sprawl.

We haven’t been there for a long while, it has to be said. So, urban sprawl or no, next time we are heading that way, we might just stop off for a quick wander (if only down memory lane).

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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14 Responses to Urban vs. rural

  1. You give me another reason to be pleased that we moved out of London when the youngest two children were small

  2. I visited a friend this week who lives between a busy dual carriageway and a small back road which is much used by tractors avoiding the dual carriageway! I was struck by how often we had to stop talking as we sat in her beautiful garden because we couldn’t hear each other. Tractor passing on top of the constant bypass noise mad it impossible to continue. She has got used to it as I did years ago living just down the road from a busy A & E department with ambulance sirens screaming past. But it made me appreciate the peace of my own home all the more.

    • Helen says:

      Likewise, I appreciated coming home to the piece and quiet!
      Years ago, I live by a busy road and could hardly hear the TV because of the traffic. I also used to live in the centre of Athens, which was the worst – couldn’t sleep because of all the motorbikes 😯

  3. Once you’ve lived outside the city for a while, it gets harder and harder to think of returning to city-living. I love to visit, though.

  4. Over Soil says:

    Helen, I live 5 hours south, south / west of your forest garden by car. Here it is rural with a soupçon of a town and there is a sound in our forest garden of an A road at the end of a field. Part of me wants less of the sound of cars and more bird song, but seriously can any of us have it all? Still, “it could be worse” (these words come to mind, as spoken by Juno in the film Beetlejuice).

    • Helen says:

      Sadly, it probably isn’t possible to have it all! During lockdown it was wonderful to hear the birds instead of cars but I do detect more quiet moments now in comparison with before the pandemic. I’d like to think people were changing their behaviour but maybe it’s just my imagination.

      Anyway, my daughter would be quite upset if I suggested we’re going to drive for 5 hours (outside peak times, presumably?). Tomorrow we’ll be going to help friends in their forest garden an hour north of here and I think there will be quite a lot of chuntering in my house tonight.

      • Over Soil says:

        Now I need to look up the word “chuntering” and did, so that’s what it means, thought it was something to do with throwing up. We all learn sommat every day it seems.

        • Helen says:

          Haven’t used ‘chuntering’ for a long long time myself! Anyway, hopefully no throwing up here – just chucking it down after I’ve put my washing in the machine. Oh well, c’est la vie 😊

      • Over Soil says:

        Wait, I found it, the word I thought it was is chundering, my bad.

        • Helen says:

          And I just looked up chundering. It does have an onomatopoeic ring to it as well as being very similar to chuntering. I didn’t know the word till you said, though.

          • Over Soil says:

            Helen, your teaching skills are prominent, as I now have to look up the word onomatopoeic (I’m guessing one~automatic~phonetic) and I was wrong. However, now I know and put forth a good example of onomatopoeic in Welsh is Ych-a-fi “ucka vee” meaning yucky, ugly and possibly disgusting to the point of feeling a bit sick.

          • Helen says:

            Yes, it does suggest revolting – would be weird to hear such a word meaning beautiful, I think!

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