Alex James: No longer any need to emigrate to Provence

Rural Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Top of many people's to do lists when I was growing up was to emigrate: a generation strove to muster the wealth and the bottle to flee these shores forever. Peter Mayle, an ex-ad man crystallised the dreams of mid-life crisis stricken professionals who longed to go on holiday permanently, with his tales of executive Utopia in Provence: swimming pools and extensions, pâté, boules and sunshine – retirement porn, really.

When I was younger I thought I'd end up in France. Sometimes I still dream of spending a couple of years in Sierra Leone, or Laos, taking a complete change of scenery. But a lot has changed here since Peter Mayle's day. Rural Britain is definitely more of a viable dream now than it was, and there is nowhere I'd rather be.

I'm sometimes cornered by people grasping for exactly what it is that I like about living in the country. "My boyfriend has just bought a house in Lechlade." She said. "That's near you. What are the cool pubs? What happens? Where should we go?"

There are no cool pubs. There is nothing going on. I've hardly been out at all this year. I wouldn't recommend the countryside for those who like going out. It's for staying in, really. Still, Easter weekend was a sudden frenzy of socialising: breakfasts lunches and dinners. We went to a neighbour's on Friday. He told me he had been stalking a herd of deer for a couple of hours, had selected his target and lined it up perfectly in the cross hairs with baited breath. He was just about to fire when an out-of-breath jogger came puffing and flailing up the footpath and scattered the lot of them.

He hadn't realised it was me but that's as good a description of what goes on here as anything. Solitary pleasures colliding occasionally.

Chives spring into action

The garden is a coiled spring at this time of year. Every day the picture out of the window changes, more colour, more shapes forming.

Last week I found a huge clutch of eggs. Chives were a nice surprise this weekend, back like old friends in the far corner of the garden. Perfect with the eggs.

My holiday home of canvas

I bought another tent: a bell tent. It is brilliant. No planning permission, no building regs and no builders required. It will be up in the garden from May till September. Seventy quid. Easy to get to as well. That's what I call a holiday home.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal  

What is 4Chan? And why does it threaten women like Emma Watson?

Memphis Barker
Chuka Umunna was elected MP for Streatham in 2010  

Could flirty Chuka Umunna be worth a punt for Labour’s top job?

Matthew Norman
Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world