Sunday, 5 February 2006

In the eyes of the delivery men

When, last March (2005) I got out of the car and peered over the gate down the farm track, to the long whitewashed house with yellow window frames, I knew this was going to be my next and possibly last home. Peripheral to right and left were the old barns, roofless and in one case, covered in "dangerous, do not enter" signs, but they in no way detracted from the views rising above the house, nor altered the fact that the house sat sheltered in a dip surrounded by masses of space and enormous oak trees. The place felt untouched for decades and the quietness of the location was something I hadn't thought was possible to achieve. So love at first sight then. Living a long way from anywhere you make a lot of use of online-shopping; clothes, beds, tractor parts, and whatever else is needed. As a consequence you see confused delivery men (they are always men) frequently. The confusion is based on three things: there is no street name; they take pot luck in deciding whether to deliver to us or our neighbours because the farm names are very similar (but not the same); and according to delivery man lore, only sad, mad or bad people live so far from an urban sprawl. Last week was a prime example. A couple of chaps were delivering a new wardrobe and stopped outside the gate and phoned us to check if they really were in the right place - their drive down the grassy road and subsequent view of the derelict barns meant that they didn't see how it was possible that the place was actually inhabited by anything other than bats and rats. Even when they came inside the house they didn't believe anyone actually lived here permanently. I hadn't realised that to some eyes we appear to live in the equivalent of a rural slum. Me, I think it's beautiful, and rich with a life-time of possibilities and projects. It's clearly all in the eye of the beholder.

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