Over these past few months of frantic house hunting that have swallowed weekends whole and not led to us finding the place, our friendly local estate agent, Sue, gave me a few words of advice.
“The view’s all very well,” she said as we were eyeing up an Aga equipped kitchen, “but you soon get used to it.” There are more important things in life, but as we tried to decide between off-street parking and ensuites, I wasn’t convinced.
“You can’t live off the view,” she said when we told her the rooms were too small (my office would have been in a cupboard in which, once I’d sat at my desk, no one else could get through the door). Oh and the view wasn’t great either.
But after a month of living in sight of the countryside, I couldn’t disagree with Sue more.
Every time I step out of my flat for a pint of milk or a post a letter, there it is. Look in any direction and the town is surrounded by hills hiding behind roof tops.
I can see it from my kitchen window. Sometimes the fields are green, at others they’re yellow – it depends on the light. The sky is blue, grey or silver. Sometimes the cloud descends and I can’t see the hill at all.
It could be that the honeymoon will wear off and soon I’ll stop noticing how the shade of green shifts as it reflects the sun’s changing moods. But somehow I doubt it.
I spent the past 5 years looking out at the same patch of water in Amsterdam and I never tired of it. Each time I stepped out of my door that view offered me something new: passing boats, the reflections on the water, sunset colouring the houses opposite. And if it didn’t I merely felt thankful that it was there at all.
Maybe you can’t live off the view – it won’t put food on your table, but it can nourish you in other ways.