I long to escape London and head to the English countryside forever where fresh clean air, natures rhythm and the quiet hum of silence abounds. I am five months into my London relocation; an experience that has been on my dream to-do bucket list for some time. All I can say is careful what you wish for. Whilst London has many amazing qualities and opportunities to offer, the downside is the sheer absence of quality air to breathe when going about my daily life. Moving to London has been a revelation in realising how important access to fresh air, green open space and proximity to the countryside is for my lifestyle. When talking to long time Londoners about my experience they all say they don’t notice the car pollution, noise pollution or cigarette smoke pollution any more. They are just used to it. Well for me its definitely something I don’t want to ‘get use to‘. My lungs and overall health is far more important. Perhaps my younger student-self might have quickly dismissed this in favour of the excitement and allure of living in London. Unfortunately my older-self appears unwilling to compromise. At least I can now scratch London off my to-do bucket list and move towards the dream of a healthier country lifestyle.
A couple of months ago I was fortunate to briefly escape London for a weekend in the Hertfordshire countryside to review the Mews Suites at Sopwell House. On the day I arrived the winter sun was shining without a cloud in sight and the perfect way to start my countryside stay. In the reception area, the clear blue sky was framed perfectly against the backdrop of the conservatory-like pyramid glass roof. A sky so blue it reminded me of home in Australia. From my Mews suite window, the view to the outside world was awash with wintry browns and greens. Trees stripped bare of their leaves looked naked and cold against the backdrop of the winter sky. The sound of gushing water from the hydrotherapy pool was so soothing and calming I could have fallen into a deep mediative sleep. However, with the perfect winters day on offer, I was eager to explore the grounds of this 12 acre property in the Hertfordshire countryside.
The only sound as I made my way along the footpath, away from the hotel, were the pebbles crunching under the weight of my feet. I was alone without another soul in sight. This solitary feeling was a little eery and unsettling after the human sardine can of London streets and public transport. All the other guests must have been enjoying the cozy confines of the hotel. I didn’t mind having the countryside as my only companion. Breathing in the fresh crisp air and feasting my eyes on wide open farm paddocks was the perfect antidote to London. Around 4pm as the sun started to fall on the western horizon, the expansive sky turned absolutely stunning with varying shades of orange, yellow. Soft pink and purple hues hugged the twilight moon in the opposite direction. Such views are rare when living in an inner city apartment where all you can see is man-made structures in every direction. As darkness enveloped my surroundings, I reluctantly made my way back to my room. Taking deep breaths and filling my lungs with the crisp evening air, I was overcome with a strong desire to stay in the countryside forever.
Back in my room I sat by the cozy fireplace and pondered my life and current lifestyle choices. Why was I so eager to move to a big city? Why couldn’t I have just been happy living in sunny Perth, Western Australia? Sometimes what we imagine doesn’t quite match the reality of experience. All I can say is my short stay in Hertfordshire amplified my yearning to escape permanently from the claustrophobic and polluted inner city of London.
*You can read my review of the Mews Suites at Sopwell House at: http://www.menstylefashion.com/sopwell-house-18th-century-georgian-luxury/