During half-term I spent a couple of days staying with friends in the Cotswolds.
The surrounding fields meant that when I woke in the morning there was no sound. No early morning commuters or taxis, no trains and no bin men rumbling down the street. I think I may have heard a bird chirp in the distance, but even he was being considerate to my ears with his barely audible tone.
As I lay there in the quiet, it occurred to me that moving out of the city and into the country could be the end to all my parenting problems. Notching life down to a rate slow enough so as to be visible to the naked eye was surely the solution to my overly hectic son and overly hectic life.
The fresh air, abundance of outside space and minimal chance of immediate death by raging city drivers must make teaching children life skills and independence an overall much more pleasant experience. I had my imaginary bags packed and resignation tendered.
I love the idea of children being able to roam freely, playing with sticks and leaves, using their imaginations and learning to find their own entertainment with the few things available. I love the thought of being able to teach them about the land, and in turn them learning to appreciate and respect it because of its proximity. I love the thought of being part of a close community, where the neighbours all look after each other.
But the more I thought about it, the more I decided perhaps I should hold fire on uprooting our life to somewhere my sat-nav doesn’t even believe exists until I had mulled over it for longer than a few minutes.
There are some excellent reasons to move away from a city, but there must be negatives too. What if the simple life turns out to be just a boring life? Teenagers who live in the country are just as likely, maybe even more so, to turn to sex, drugs and rock and roll for entertainment what with having so little to occupy their excitement-hungry little minds.
I also like the fact that my son experiences the cultural diversity and resources that the city has to offer – coming across people from all walks of life, for better or for worse. And with such a huge array of people comes a spectrum of opinions – inevitably, a city child verges more towards a broader mind than his country cousin.
I’m pretty sure it would quickly get on my nerves having to drive for miles to do anything and now I think about it, I’m not sure I fancy all the nosy neighbours knowing everything about our business.
As with many things, the grass is always greener on the other side of the picket fence. But perhaps for now I will keep the countryside for long walks and relaxing weekend breaks.
A friend of mine who is born and bred Pompey once said that if a child can survive growing up in this city, then it can survive anything – I hope she was right.