Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Today's Food for Thought.

A short walk with Percy yesterday because this sudden very hot weather is  playing havoc with my arthritis and I am finding walking very difficult and spending much of the day with my feet up.   But half way round the walk a lady I know opened the door as I walked past, to have a chat - she had obviously seen me approaching and, as we both agreed, it is important to speak to a few people every day.

We have an interest in gardening in common so we discussed her front garden, which is well set out and we discussed the hot weather (very unusual up here in the Yorkshire Dales I must say).  Then I asked her if she was a local (she is my age and a widow).   Oh no she said.   I asked her where she came from and her answer was Swaledale.  We live on the edge of Wensleydale here - Swaledale starts about a couple of miles over the hill to the North West - not exactly a million miles away you will agree.

But she does not see herself as a local.   I find this astonishing as an 'absolutely not local' but locals  here are still quite 'parochial'.   This will disappear before long as more and more 'incomers' arrive.  My son was speaking to his new neighbours yesterday and they have moved up from Kent.  And I remember a few years back my farmer did a count of how many locals there were in the village - he could just count them on his fingers.

I sat yesterday evening and did a  quick count of the friends I have made since I moved up here - many, but not many who are actually local.  My  now 'local' friends come from Huddersfield, Oldham, Halifax, Leeds, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Sunderland, Lichfield,  to name but a few.   I have possibly half a dozen real locals who I would call friends.

My farmer was born in the house where he still lived when he died.   He could not bear the thought of moving - it was home.   Until we met he had had one foray to Majorca with Young Farmers as a teenager and with that he was content.   I have spent all my money on travelling and have been to so many places all over the world.   After a couple of years he adopted my life style and together we went around the US and Canada, Scandinavia and parts of Europe. 

But now, when my travelling days are over,   I often think - does it matter whether or not you move from place to place?   Is it just whatever floats your boat?  Is all that matters your happiness or is it important that you see how people live, gain experiences, see beautiful works of art.  So often in travel adverts you see Registan Square in Samarkand and I think - I stood there.   But does it really matter?   All my travel experiences will die with me and I am no more likely to feel happy and fulfilled with my life than someone whose horizons go no further than Swaledale and Wensleydale.

Discuss?

31 comments:

Librarian said...

Food for thought indeed!
We're not all the same - some people are happy and content to stay where they are, while others have a thirst for adventure or simply enjoy seeing places different from their own. Often, this changes with advancing age; and also just as often, we can not afford the trips we'd love to go on while we are young, and when we finally are in a more agreeable financial situation, we may not be able physically or because of work and family duties keeping us tied to one spot.

Personally, I like the place where I live well enough to spend most of my time here. My country is affluent and (mostly) peaceful enough to allow for a good life. I am grateful for that.
Travelling has allowed me to see places of interest and make new friends, such as the family and friends I have in Yorkshire, but also in Italy (mainly Sicily, where I spent the summer for 10 years as part of a Sicilian family), the US and of course our neighbouring countries France and Denmark.
Travelling also has made me broaden my personal horizon, making new experiences, trying different food and so on.
I guess it helps against the dangers of keeping a narrow mind with a "tribal" outlook, although many people who have travelled far and wide are as narrow-minded and intolerant towards others as ever.

I do not like long flights and have therefore left Europe very rarely.

Sarah Dee said...

I’m glad you have happy memories of your travels to fall back on. I do not enjoy travelling one bit, I would probably enjoy the sights when I arrived but coaches and flying always disagree with me. I live in a beautiful southern County, until recently overlooked whilst folk sped on their way to the West Country but fear this summer to be inundated with people from other parts of the U.K. Yes, we rely on tourism but often at the expense of local people and I guess this applies if you live inGreece or Spain. I have recently moved from one village to another, 5 miles apart, different worlds!

Tom Stephenson said...

I suppose it was Thomas Cooke who made it possible for people with limited means to see other countries. Up until then, wealthy young people made Grand Tours and returned home unless they tried to make their fortune in other lands (let's not get onto that again...). I had a friend who was brought up in North Somerset and his friend who had never left the village said he would like to meet him in London, where he was now living. My friend was trying to work out how they should meet up (this was the late 60s) and the village lad said, "I know. I'll meet you in the high street".

Rachel Phillips said...

People are as you describe here in this rural area. If you were to have asked me did I think your friends who you describe in your day to day life were locals, I would have replied no.

the veg artist said...

I think some people are genuine explorers, and love to see other places, but others look for new experiences and places because they don't like where they are. I live in a beautiful area with a high number of incomers. Some love it and stay, some cannot settle and move on again, chasing their ever-changing dream. It's often the quaint, picturesque cottages that end up changing hands regularly every few years.
I often think of a saying, I think it's Buddhist, "Wherever you go, there you are." Constantly restless people are looking for an answer. Other people are content where they are.

JayCee said...

We have been 'comeovers' here for the past 30 years. There is a very strong sense of national pride here and true locals fiercely maintain and nurture their heritage, even though it is being steadily diluted by us comeovers. We are fortunate to have made friends amongst the local community who accept us for who we are and, although we cannot share their deeply rooted history, we enjoy each others company.

thelma said...

Well I think I am a 'stay at home' type of person. Just been reading a Lebanese cook book, too much lamb for a vegetarian ;), and translating into more English type recipes. Incomers are of course changing the villages, it started in the 60s probably when we all started to move around for jobs, etc.
But I always remember Jan Morris saying take one square yard of Wales and within it you will find the history of the country. I think that is true, the essence of any country is quite small, we can go on fabulous tours by television, we do not need the train and plane journey.

Sue in Suffolk said...

Most of my family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc were born and lived in Suffolk all their lives and the same with lots of Colins family but seems everyone else has moved here from all over the UK.

I've not traveled far in my life, the couple of trips abroad were enough. Home is my happy place.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I decided thirty years ago not to renew my passport as I could see, even back then, that all this flying around the globe, burning resources and pumping pollution into the atmosphere was no longer sustainable. I can't say I'm any less happy than I was before. Broadening the mind through travel is all very well but it's also important, I think, to think more deeply and investigate life around us more fully.
Many will disagree of course.

Julie B said...

This is a wonderful and thought-provoking post. I had travelled all over the world by the age of 40, but due to illness and lack of money, I now haven’t left the UK since 2007.
There have been times when I’ve felt very frustrated about this - but more recently I’ve come to accept it, and appreciate how lucky I’ve been in the past.
Strangely, I once dreamt in vivid detail that I visited the Taj Mahal in India - which I haven’t in real life - and yet that “memory” seems as clear and real to me as the memories of the places I actually have been.

Joan (Devon) said...

We're all different 'needing' different things. I have travelled abroad many times for holidays, some far flung and some closer, but would have been just as happy to stay at home. My husband and daughter are the ones who love to go travelling and unfortunately insisted I go with them. To me seeing the sights is a must, an advantage of being somewhere totally different to home, but that isn't on everyone's agends. Don't get me wrong, I have seen some of the sights you only see in books and magazines, but they didn't enthrall me thinking, "Wow".

Would I have regretted not going? I don't know.

George said...

In my case, Pat, I now cherish being home and in my own community more than ever. I don't think I would feel that way, however, if I had not traveled the world extensively throughout my life. I'm inclined to think that one of the primary benefits of travel is that one begins to have a better appreciation for home.

Derek Faulkner said...

I have lived here on Sheppey all of my 73 years and have never wanted to live anywhere else.I have written numerous articles on it's history and love being a true local but our localism has been heavily diluted by an influx of non-locals (mostly from London) for many years now. Until my mid-30's I had never travelled abroad but then spent about twenty years having the habitual annual holiday until in my fifties I totally lost interest in that, cancelled my passport and settled for remaining a local and have never missed being abroad.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Well so far what a lot of interesting food for thought. There is enough material here for somebody to write an article for a travel magazine if anybody feels like doing it. I shall have to think up more things we can discuss.
I do understand that many people can't afford to go abroad even if they wished to - but even travel over a relatively small local area is travel of a kind - and many folk don't do that. When I married the farmer he hadn't even been to West Burton Falls (a local beauty spot) about five miles from where we live. He was forty nine at the time).

Share my Garden said...

When my parents bought their home in the Yorkshire Dales the village was half empty and they were the first comers-in. They were treated with great kindness and some degree of curiosity for buying an old place that other people didn't want and doing it up. Now the village is full of people from elsewhere. My parents were avid travellers and had met on the ferry going to Belgium. My mother had worked as an interpreter and was fluent in French, German and Spanish, so as soon as the war was over our holidays involved piling into the car and exploring Europe. We did the same with our own children and visited many different parts of the world. Now, however I have little desire to travel, that itch has completely left me. Our elder daughter is very like my parents, always eager to be off, exploring somewhere new.
I think there must be something very special about being born and living in the same house for all your life. The Dales people that I know are very grounded, they have a solid network of place and people around them which I envy. (Wish I were there now! I am keeping in touch via phonecalls and the zoom book club meetings.)

Ruth said...

Oh Pat - I'm like your farmer! There absolutely no place on earth I'd rather be than here in my home, which is in a beautiful semi-secluded spot beside a river and between farm fields. I grew up in a small town, left after high school to work at the Pentagon, met a Marine from Brooklyn, NY, married him and spent the next 20 years in Brooklyn and Staten Island, until he met someone else and told me to go back "where you always wanted to be anyway." I did move back to live with my mother for awhile until I met my present husband, married in 1982, and found he likes home better than travel, too. We each have our own hobbies and interests right here. I read a lot, and enjoy travel shows on television - that's enough travel for this old lady! There's nothing I want that I don't have, and I'm supremely grateful for that. When we come closer to our end it's only natural to look back and ponder the experiences of our lifetimes. You've seen so much of the world and have such amazing experiences to think about. Mostly I think about my childhood in the 40's with such pleasure - those for me truly were "the good old days" of mud pies and fireflies!

EM Griffith said...

It's so different in the U.S. than in the U.K. it seems. Just before covid, we bought land in Arizona to retire to in the next few years. It will be the 10th state I've lived in, my 33rd or 34th move. My family is spread from coast to coast in at least 1/2 dozen states (including Alaska). No one lives where they were born. Some family members have traveled abroad extensively. Like my mom who is 87. I haven't traveled beyond the 50 states, but have visited 44 of them. Many in America move around, usually for jobs. Or so it seems. True "locals" are a rare breed here.

Sue said...

My father is 90 years old and has lived in the same Sussex village all his life. Apart from two years' military service in Egypt he is not widely travelled. But he does have friends and family that he has known all his life living close by. I have travelled far and wide and moved homes many times. I have several friends but none that I am very close to as they are scattered about the world.

Anne Brew said...

I moved to the U.K. from Ireland when I was 22, alone, some fifty years ago. I think it helped me as a teacher in inner city nurseries when a parent, recently arrived in the UK, would come in to register their child - I recognised that look of quiet bewilderment as I’d experienced the same feeling myself all those years ago!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Share my Garden - next time you come up this way do let me know and we must meet.

jinxxxygirl said...

I think what makes you happy is the most important thing... I treasure my home ... whichever home i'm in... I wish i had been able to put down some roots and stay in one place.. but my whole life it was not to be.. I love to travel too and have been blessed with visiting Europe and many states in the US.. I have been kissed on the Eiffel Tower and laid eyes on the Mona Lisa.. smelled the beautiful flowers in Holland and skiiing in the Alps... I wouldn't have missed a thing... Hugs! deb

Red said...

I vote for travel. Travel enlightens us about people and places around us. We become better and happier people . Hopefully with understanding we treat others better. Yes it matters that we would understand the world much better as we go through it.

Heather said...

I have always been interested in how things are done in other countries and longed to travel. However, early on we couldn't afford to travel and then my husband wasn't interested in doing so, so we didn't. However, I have managed a glorious long weekend in France, in Chinon. A fortnight in southern Spain recommended by a consultant physician, another fortnight in Rhodes which was also wonderful, with one of our daughters who had wanted someone to go with, and finally the holiday of a lifetime - 3 weeks in Seattle, Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Lots of lovely memories. Now I would find travelling too exhausting but am still interested in people from other lands.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

A feast for thought for sure
The first time I viewed a live cam in Africa, the pyramids of Eygpt, London, and more, I felt quite a surge of joy and amazement. I may never visit those places in person, but in my heart, I know them.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everyone. Lots of lovely comments to think about.

Derek Faulkner said...

Of course the one big down side of travel, especially air travel, is the way it can speed the transfer of virus's from country to country.

John Going Gently said...

Nicely observed pat. Thoughtful and thought provoking

Ellen D. said...

My siblings and I all live in the same city. It is not common anymore for that to happen and my own children are spread out to other states and towns. I think if one gets a chance to travel they definitely should as it really broadens one's views and makes a person much more tolerant of different people and different cultures. Globally, I have been to China, Rwanda, and Italy and have enjoyed each experience so much! Thanks for giving us "food for thought" today, Pat!

Virginia said...

Living, as we do in New Zealand, at the bottom of the world, travel is in our DNA. I’ve been fortunate to be married to an academic, so trips to conferences and sabbaticals are an opportunity to go to various parts of the world we might not have seen otherwise, for me, it’s an opportunity too see how other people live, other social systems and cultures, and best of all, to spend time in art galleries and museums that we don’t have access to here. Visiting exhibitions have become fewer, as costs and insurances became more prohibitive, and with only 5 million people, the load isn’t spread very far.. so, yes, to travel and experiences, they have made me more aware of the world and its complexities, and our place in it. ... for which I give thanks . Especially at this difficult time.

Joanne Noragon said...

But you have them; that's the point. My sister-in-law's husband was content with his life, until she married him and began travelling him around the world. I think it's wonderful.

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