I was brought up in a busy Yorkshire seaside town. Then I’ve done a bit of an English City Tour. Lived in Newcastle, Coventry, Portsmouth, London, Birmingham then York. Places with lots of noise, people and action. You get acclimatised to it. Becomes the norm.

Then we moved to a village in the countryside.

It all suddenly changed. The very first thing that struck me was how dark the night was. In a city you get street lights, car headlights, light shining out of window after window, late night shops, restaurants, advertising billboards …… its night but it’s never dark.

But in our village it’s all different. This is the view looking one way down the village street after the sun has set. It’s so dark.

The other way facing East is even darker.

No street lighting here. Hardly any cars on a night. The nearest shop is in another village 5 miles away and that shuts at 5pm. There’s a pub in another village 3 miles in the other direction. Another village a few miles away has a coffee and cake shop – that only opens a few hours a week. That’s it.

That takes a lot of adjustment for an urban bod like me. The first week I was here I went out to post a letter in the village mail box – after dark. I foolishly went without a torch. It was too dark I couldn’t find it. In fact when I decided to go back for a torch, I couldn’t find our house. Took me ages to stumble upon it. That’s properly dark.

The peace and quiet is wonderful. Not having to continually lock your door is refreshing. So is the feeling that your kids can wander a little more safely. To see the night sky without light pollution is awesome – you can so easily forget just how beautiful it is. But there are prices to pay for that.

No popping out for a loaf of bread or takeaway meal in the evening. It’s a 20 minute drive to the nearest late night shop. By the time you return with takeaway food, it’s cold.

Although you are in the country. In natural space. The night can feel suffocating. Very claustrophobic. No sign of human life, you can so easily feel a million miles from anyone. Especially in winter, you will go days without seeing another person. What was the ALIENS line – no one can hear you scream in space.

Village life has so many positives but you need to be prepared. It can be so tough as well.

BUT ITS WORTH IT….

89 thoughts on “Night

  1. The closest I’ve been to rural life was when I was a kid… my first home, but even then we were in the city and we did have things fairly close by. That was my favorite house though. Took me a long time to stop dreaming about it. I’ve probably told you that before. Now an equestrian company owns that land.

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      1. Well met, fellow Canadian. I spent as much of the 60s as I could in your beautiful city, back before it became whatever it has turned into today. It used to have a natural innocence. More straights understood the hippie movement in Vancouver than anywhere else I’ve ever lived.
        One experience: We were holding a sit in on Beach Avenue one day, just south around the curve from English Bay. I went along the line of stalled traffic, panhandling off motorists. One guy I talked to handed me a $20 bill, a fortune in those days. Food for 10 people at least. Why? He agreed with what we were doing, trying a different way to live. But please, please, next time we blocked traffic, “Do it somewhere else, not where I drive every day. I’m gonna be late for supper, and my wife is gonna kill me!”
        One of the best, and most rewarding, times of my life, lol.

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      2. Natural innocence would refer, in my mind, to the 60s “zeitgeist.” It was a feeling that pervaded, maybe even permeated, the whole area back then, from Horseshoe Bay to North Van to Lynn Valley to Surrey and White Rock, skipping around New Westminster, into Delta, and back down to the West End. West Vancouver we won’t talk about, nor Richmond. I cannot talk about Burnaby, Coquitlam, or other east-lying suburbs. There was no outright hatred of hippies–except maybe New West and Richmond. Kitsilano and East End were our version of Toronto’s Yorkville area, though looking at pictures from the later 60s in Yorkville, Kits and English Bay made their residents look hopelessly straight. Stanley Park was our daily Mecca. Sorry for all the name-dropping, but I’m feeling kind of nostalgic for that era of my life tonight. Not that anyone else would remember me from then, I was just one of many, thousands of manies. But I remember me, and me was Vancouver, until Vancouver wasn’t Vancouver anymore.
        I lived there again in the 90s, working in Surrey, but hanging out at the Broadway Holiday Inn, or the bar beneath the revolving restaurant on Robson near Cardero. Can’t remember the name anymore, but it had a very eclectic clientele. But the 90s were nothing like the 60s. That was a bittersweet period. You really can’t ever go home anymore.

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      3. What’s wrong with Richmond???? 😂😂😂 I was born and raised in Richmond. It’s not what it used to be. It was much more rural. Now it’s more like down town Vancouver. It’s funny… I used to think Down town Vancouver was so wonderful compared to how Richmond used to be… some how there is less city in me now. Things change… people change too.

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      4. Everything changes. Most of Vancouver was open and friendly to the 60s counterculture. Richmond, mostly white at the time, did not want “our kind” there, at least not “my kind” of “our kind.” I only went there a few times, (I sold the Georgia Strait , the underground newspaper.) but every time I was there. I was spat on and abused, told to go back to “hippietown” in Vancouver. New West was the same way. XMAS of 1967 I made the New West Voice, or whatever their regional newspaper at the time was called, for having my unsold copies of the Strait confiscated by the police (RCMP if I remember right), and was put on a bus back to downtown Van on my own dime. Whoever the cops were, they waited until the next bus pulled out of the Greyhound station. That was a Greyhound bus ride in those days, lol! The confiscation of my newspapers was not legal, but that didn’t matter. I was given a ticket for selling an underground newspaper within 100 yards of a Salvation Army Charity Bell, or something like that. The bellringer was upset because I was making more money than she was collecting for the Sally Ann.
        I was not arrested in Richmond, no one ever called the cops. It was vigilancy justice there, leave or get the shit beat out of me, which happened a few times too. That is what was wrong with Richmond.

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  2. Our house before our current house was five minutes outside of the city of Philadelphia right near the Philadelphia airport. So, there were lights and sounds everywhere. We had a black and tan beagle that had horrible seizures at the time as well. Then we moved about 45 minutes away from the city. The seizures stopped, thankfully. But, it was SO DARK and so quiet. Every time the black and tan beagle got out at night the only way we could find him was by the clinging of his collar and the shine of his eyes from the moonlight. You would think we learned from that scenario, but no – our next dog was a black lab. Oy!

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    1. I grew up with a black lab, with orange features. He was my best friend’s dog. We walked all over Winnipeg, and I mean ALL OVER. Sparky used to go everywhere with us. As he grew older, he decided he owned all the territory he surveyed. He didn’t need us to chaperone him anymore.
      He would go outside in the early morning, and take a stroll around his empire. Every “bitch” in the area wanted to bear his children. Every “dog” in the area crossed the street if it saw him coming.

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      1. Oh, he was. But I don’t think he would admit he learned the attitude from my cat. My childhood cat oozed leadership, confidence, strength, and serenity. Sparky was still a pup when they met, and Red put him in his place. After that lesson, Sparky put every dog he met in its place.
        Two peas from one pod, just different species.

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  3. I am an American suburbian lol … I was always in the suburbs – which is a nice mix of both… not crazy like a city and not so isolated like the country.

    Then for awhile I was in the cities… the cities are too much to me 😝😝 I don’t like them – I don’t like people on top of me – I need my space

    All my stuff happened and I needed to be away… so I came to the country. I have fallen in love with the great peace it offers … It’s brought me respite

    I still love the beauty and the peace even with the coyotes and wildfires… hazards of whatever you pick…

    But I do get lonely, and you are cut off… I don’t want to get too used to that and become a severe hermit lol

    I love when it’s dark like that… here you can see every star and sometimes even planets with the naked eye ❤️❤️ Oh my god! So beautiful!!

    And instead of teenagers doing spin outs I get to hear coyotes yelling and cows moo’ing lol

    It’s just different

    I also have to drive to get stuff … also adds to my commute. But that country peace is just incredible!! (Without fires of course lol)

    I need a balance… so while I go through things and things get crazy… at home I have peace ❤️

    My home wasn’t peace before. I made it that way because I needed it.

    Depends on the peace/balance you need.

    I find the city difficult – I hate the city!! The suburbs I like … and love the country!

    The city is too much / no space. I would rather have nature or suburbia myself.

    It does get lonely though. But I enjoy that peace so much! I still need it

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      1. Yeah… I kinda like the isolation ✌️ that is dangerous for me.

        Just been through a lot … I’ll come out on the other side when I’m ready and all the dust has settled…

        Still kinda going through things so still kinda need that peace… when I’m stronger I’ll be fine.

        Am building 😘✌️

        But yes very beautiful but also dangerous for me I suppose

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      2. Oh I watch it… I know I am silent and isolate … I am more comfortable with that currently while I go through things.

        I don’t “plan” to isolate forever… but I do love the peace currently – gives me a balance and strength while I get through everything else ✌️

        I am aware of it.

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  4. I grew up in a small city then moved to a larger on which has since grown to nearly 400.000. I would much prefer the country. I used to dog-sit in the country and loved it. I love peace and I love silence. But It’s not my lot to live in the country. There is one great thing about the city I live in. It has many park and conservation areas where I can go and feel as though I’m walking in the country. I love that. Also it is known as the Forest City as there are so many trees here. Many very old and huge trees, too. And we have coyotes here even in the city, though I have never heard them. They are usually roaming a number of blocks from me down by the river. I have also seen a fox in here, but not close to the part of the city I live in. I was walking with a friend this afternoon along a short trail and there was a hawk circling overhead and I saw what I assume what a hawk’s nest in a big tree. The nest was huge and I have never seen one like it before.

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      1. I will probably post a picture of it on my next post though it’s not really clear. It was high up in the branches of a fir tree and the sun was shining overhead, so you can’t see the detail but you can get an idea of the size.

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  5. The first time I visited my ex’s parents the utter darkness was surreal. The lived in a farmhouse way out in the country. I couldn’t sleep… it was too dark and too quiet.

    I live pretty near the center of my city. It’s a smaller city on the outskirts of San Diego, but you wouldn’t know you’d left San Diego and entered a different city.
    Anyway, the light pollution bums me out, BIG time. It was always nice to go camping in the mountains and see all the stars.

    It IS nice to have a little market almost next door for milk, eggs… emergency chocolate😉 but it’s also noisy, and random homeless people occasionally enter my property and they’ve stolen stuff before too.

    I bet I could do more Sciencey Stuff if I was away from the city…
    Seems both have their merits. I guess I’m just adaptable 🤷🏼‍♀️or indecisive 😂😂😂💌💌

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  6. Aww… no emergency sirens at 3am because you live on the main route to the hospital? No lear jet taking off (illegally) at 2am? No parties with live mariachis going into the wee hours? No me, calling for a missing cat at 12:30pm?

    How do you manage?!?

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      1. Yep, and when caterwauling drunks serenade us at 3pm, the isolation of a Yorkshire village seems like a little Valhalla… plus I really would like some of your rain please….

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  7. I remember when I was a kid and my family visited another family living in the countryside. I went out in the evening and I couldn’t believe what I saw … or what I couldn’t see because it was all dark, like a dark wall. I thought my eyes should get use to the dark so I at least should see some details but no … darkness, darkness darkness. And it was not just the darkness. The silence was so silent so I could hear it … hard to explain but you might know the feeling. It was a strange feeling for a city girl but still relaxing.

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  8. When we go and visit my partners parents, out in the “outback” I guess you’d call it. It’s the same kind of feeling. The dark is just DARK,lol. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t get it. And not seeing your neighbors house lights on at night, feels me with anxiety for some reason. My partner and I normally stay in the granny flat, and we need to a torch to get out there for bed. I have discovered that I am not a country girl,lol

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  9. I grew up in a moderate-sized city, 650,000 people. Tried Toronto, 2 million plus at the time, hated it. Settled for Vancouver, BC. 1.3 million at that time. A city of contrasts. Oceanfront houses on the west, mountainside houses on the North. To the east, hills, flatlands and suburbia. Go south, end up in Blaine, WA.
    From the West Coast I moved to the East Coast, starting in Fredricton, NB, then switching to small town NB on the St. Stephen/Calais, ME border. Watched the St. Croix River rise and fall by 12′ or more twice daily, an amazing sight to see.
    Still more moves, small towns, various-sized cities.
    Finally ended up in High Level, AB, CA. Population 3500. Five hours drive to nearest small city, 8 hours to nearest big city. Love it up here. Long summer days, long winter nights. Nature right outside my front door. Finally, this is living. Took me 55 years to find it, but I never gave up looking.

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  10. I had a friend in London who, when she came to stay with me after her father died, stood outside my front door and “OMG! Look at all those STARS!! We don’t see those in London because of the street lights, headlights, buildings etc get in the way. OMG! I had no idea there were so MANY!!”

    Ok, do y’all never get outta town???

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Sort of what I experienced too. I am not even in the village and if you’ve never experienced it, the darkness of night could be overwhelming. I had prior experience from many years ago. I was so happy to re-discover the night sky. Just love it.

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  12. I have found I get paranoid when living in remote places. I freak out at every single car that drives past or every single stranger I see, assuming they are coming to burgle me. And that nobody will hear me scream, like you say. I feel safer living in the middle of the city, despite all the noise and drunks walking past singing at ungodly hours.

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  13. It’s amazing how dark real darkness is, away from city lights. Have to ask, is a torch UK slang for flashlight it do you carry real torches? I’m picturing the Middle Ages. 🤣💕

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      1. No it’s just another difference between American and English vernacular… there are many. I find it amusing discovering them. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I must admit that, much as I always say I wish I could live on a deserted island with no civilization anywhere nearby, that dark is … intimidating! On my street, there are 32 houses, most with front porch lights left on all night, a few streetlights, and a shopping complex just 1/2 mile up the road! It might take some getting used to, but … I think the quiet would be well worth the effort. I’m so tired of motorcycles roaring up the street at midnight, dogs barking all night long, the sound of voices raised in anger at least once a day. Give me quiet, give me dark, give me … peace.

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  15. It can be a big shock to move to such a different environment and the big smoke to a quiet village is quite a significant change. For me, the only city I’d want to live in is York, which I adore and always have, and I guess that may be a reverse shock for me as I’ve mostly lived in villages! Love the photos of the rural ‘darkness’.

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      1. That’s exactly why I love it so much. I’ve always felt as though I’m walking its streets alongside the medieval folk that lived there before, from Saxons and Vikings to late medieval townspeople who supported Richard III. You can really sense it. That’s where I’m planning on doing my MA in medieval studies. If it goes to plan, of course, which we know is in the hands of fate. 🙂

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