Rural Derbyshire has been our home for the last 18 months. Out of the rear of our house we had a large garden leading to woodland, out the front were fields leading to a river in a small, very green valley. We were a few miles away from the rugged crags of Matlock and the rolling hills of Ashbourne. It is easy to take time there. People are not rushing and busy in the same way they are in a city such as London. It was easy to be Hygge, be connected to nature, live slow and appreciate what was around us.
A few weeks ago we moved to a city, Glasgow, and we are both quite nervous about the transition. Modern cities are often fast-paced, polluted, they lack green spaces and wildlife. We both grew up in small towns with countryside on our doorstep and we moved to Derbyshire after a spell in the centre of Nottingham which we did not enjoy.
You may wonder why we have moved here if we both love the countryside so much. Well, that is due to lack of opportunity. Derbyshire has high unemployment and frankly felt rather dead. The population is ageing and there is a lack of opportunity to start and run businesses or earn a decent living without having 2 jobs. We found making a living there quite difficult. Obviously, we run Hyggebox but that is not our full-time occupation. I am a chef and found the work in Derbyshire boring (I get tired of making roast dinners) and poorly paid. Gabby is a graphic designer and we found that there was hardly any work for her at all. I think this is a dilemma for lots of people. We may not want to live in an urban place but that is where the opportunity lies.
So how do we make a life in the city which satisfies our need for nature, time and a sense of wellbeing? We will see! We are going to be sharing our journey with our Hyggebox followers and would love to hear how other people cope with city living.
Our first couple of weeks were really difficult. For a start, we now live in a flat, a tenement in a residential area. We are not used to having people so close to us. We can hear footsteps above and the heavy front door slamming as our neighbours come and go. It was difficult to sleep and we felt uncomfortable. A few weeks later and we are used to the sounds, we have made the flat more our own by painting and planting some herbs outside and we are starting to feel more comfortable.
Things I miss from Derbyshire are; birdsong, waking to birdsong, cups of tea in the garden, the view of the valley, silence, the sky, the woods, seeing the stars, my firepit, our vegetable patch and my huge kitchen.
On the flip side there are loads of things we have found in Glasgow which we are loving; fabulous restaurants and being able to go out for gelato at 10pm, our neighbours (they are super friendly), being gluten free here is easy (we hardly ate out in England) Scottish ingredients, the parks, the people, having cool events to go to, art museums on our doorstep, and opportunity. I have seen a bunch of interesting jobs in exciting kitchens and Gabby is about to start studying at the Glasgow School of Art. We have found pockets of peace and quiet in the lovely parks and Loch Lomond or the coast are only 30 minutes away. In fact, driving out of the city in any direction brings you to the fabulous countryside really quickly. There is less sprawl than in England where everyone has a house and garden.
It is going to take some time for us to settle in properly but so far it is ok. Doris, our cat has stopped hiding under the bed and we are enjoying discovering new places and meeting new people. We are feeling our way through it and finding how we can bring the slow life we love to an urban environment to try to merge the two ways of life in a way that makes us happy.