Thursday, 19 March 2015

Living in Villages: Greece and Australia

Living in Villages: Greece and Australia

A Greek Village
An English Village

Life may be structured differently in different villages. In our Australian village the forest and Puffing Billy is a big feature, in our Greek village the harbour and the castle on the hill are the main features. 

Puffing Billing entering Emerald Village
Down by the Harbour in Myrina Village
Often country towns and villages grow up near a site of interest to others. This does mean that at times the village fills up with tourists but generally there are times when locals can enjoy those special amenities without the crowds.  

Someone wrote that happiness is about how you inhabit space with other people.

A Gated Village in Florida
The folk living in an American gated village may have some of the benefits listed below, and they may have found ways to make their village living good. They may have found ways to live well within the limits of that village’s geological space, and have been able to establish a creative lifestyle within its confines. 

But this post is about my experience of living in two villages, one in the Dandenongs in Australia and the other on an island in Greece. I have been asking myself why these places appeal to me. These are the things that I've come up with, and that, within limits, have given me happiness.

What do I Expect from Village Life?

 Peace and Quiet

 Once when living in country Australia my mother, a city lady, came to stay. She complained the country noises filled her with unease. There were the cockerels in the morning and when the calves were taken from their mothers the paddocks were filled the piercing moos of the mothers.

And I’ve found in Lemnos the motorbikes keep you awake in the early morning hours, and the street vendors loudspeakers at to the general noise level midmorning, then in July and August in the evenings tavernas turn up the volume, and blare out pep music along the beaches. Even in those picture post card villages in England, when surrounded by idyllic country sights, planes making their way to Heathrow airport regularly disturb ones peace.
Even in perfect villages you can be annoyed by planes, cars, and motorbikes!

But country noise, as I pointed out, it is not the continuous hum of city noise. So I wouldn’t say that country villages offer peace and quiet, though it is a different kind of noise to that found in cities – less continuous. There are periods of quiet.

Clean air

The lack of pollutions has to be one of the main draw-cards for village living for me. In the villages in the Dandenong Ranges in Australia the air is clear, and when we descend into Melbourne, though not a badly polluted city, there is often a haze hanging over the city. One place in Australia known for its clean air is Tasmania, breathing there is like breathing in sparkling clean diamonds.

A Larger house and garden

Most people living in large cities have to make do with a small balcony. Even in the suburbs gardens are limited, but it is not difficult to have an acre or more if you live in a country village. This means the children have room to make cubbies, and to own pets. It gives you the opportunity to grow the plants you love.  And country houses tend to sprawl, offering room for extra activities in doors too.
Our House in Myrina

Our Greek Garden

Less Crowded Shopping

You usually don’t have to wait long to be attended to (except in those mid summer ‘tourist months’). Your doctor, teacher, shopkeeper will have time to joke, to ask how your husband it doing. In Lemnos in particular we’ve found that we pick up the local news when we visit the green grocer, butcher or supermarket.
Shopping in Myrina

Greater interaction with neigbours

Though there are ‘village’ groupings in cities in the country more is likely to be required from you by your village friends, this is because they are more than just a ‘church’ or ‘fitness’ acquaintance, they are your neighbours and you’ll meet at many different functions. In the city fitness friends tend to be met only the fitness studio.

Meeting Neighbours at an Event in Emerald

Out for a Meal with Neighbours in Myrina

More Opportunity to Walk

Transport can be one of the drawbacks of living in a village. There may be public transport but you may need your car to get to the bus stop or railway station. Or you will find the streets too narrow for a car. Plus, if you need to work in the city and wish to live in the country commuting can be expensive . But as far as I'm concerned I love the opportunity to walk to the shops.

A Slower Pace of Life

You do not rush into a store with your money ready expecting to rush quickly out again with your purchase. Folk expect you to offer more than a quick greeting in a village store they often want some news too. And probably because the store is not within close walking distance it may take ten minutes to get there by car. A city dweller might not like it but I love the walk that shopping in villages entails.

Coffee shop in Emerald
Coffee shop in Myrina

There will be small cafes and restaurants and townies sometimes like to experience the small country eateries, but there may not be as many and the coffee may not be as expertly brewed. But you will probably be in charmingly different surroundings and it may also be cheaper, though nowadays not necessarily!
Takis and I at a taverna in the center of Myrina

‘There you'll find the place I love most in the world. The place where I grew thin from dreaming. My village, rising from the plain. Shaded with trees and leaves like a piggy bank filled with memories. You'll see why a person would want to live there forever. Dawn, morning, mid-day, night: all the same, except for the changes in the air. The air changes the color of things there. And life whirs by as quiet as a murmur...the pure murmuring of life.’ 

Juan Rulfo,   Pedro Paramo


No comments:

Post a Comment