Rural Chicken: From city to countryside

Posted on February 20, 2012

In her debut post, Rural Chicken realises the difference between living in a comfortable coop and being a wild free ranger…

It was always going to happen. The grass is always greener on the other side, even when the grass at home is the rolling countryside of Derbyshire and the other side is a tiny little triangle of brown stalks in a borough calling itself Shepherd’s Bush.

So, being a country bumpkin type, after causing only one or two disturbances on this new-fangled thing they call a train (apparently you aren’t meant to take livestock on with you. Not even pygmy goats! Who knew?), I found myself unceremoniously dumped at St Pancras.

My trolley had a mind of its own, bashing its way through a pillar, evidently in search of Platform 9 ¾ and finding only a Costa Coffee and stern-looking station manager. But, such little things didn’t matter. I had arrived! I was in the Metropolis! I was… hungry.

In Derby, hungry is settled quite easily. You simply go to Birds Bakers, or the chip shop. In London, you turn on the spot and see fifty-two different restaurants. Including twenty-nine McDonalds ‘restaurants’ and twelve Pret a Mangers.

Eating is only one thing that becomes more complicated in London. There is the vast array of travel choices, the infinite number of social events, the never-ending variety of places to visit and people to see… Hang on, do I mean more complicated? Does more choice make it harder or easier? It’s a chicken and egg question (cough).

London is certainly… different. And when you are in London, you are very aware of the fact. While I was there, I lived an outrageously fun life, full of new people and old friends, and doing things you’ve always loved and finding new things to love, being happy and sad and hungry and full; things I’d always done but was now doing at a hundred miles an hour. By coming to London, I had become a true wild free ranger.

Later, I returned to Derby, to my little house, and my big car and my nights watching rubbish television, and my dogs putting their filth all over my bed. I was home, in my comfortable coop.

I arranged to Skype some of my friends in London, expecting them all to be very busy partying and eating and socialising. Imagine my surprise when they admitted they were, in fact, sitting in their flats, watching rubbish television, with their cats putting fur all over their sofas. And I thought I’d better check; they were still wild free rangers…. Right?

“Don’t be silly!” they cried. “You’re the wild free ranger, living in Derbyshire, going to all these events, rushing around the countryside under blue skies instead of Big Ben’s shadow.” And I realised, actually, I was.

For me, London is vibrant and booming, and the Deaf community is massive and tiny at the same time. On the other claw, Derby is small and beautiful, and the Deaf community is massive and tiny at the same time.

But, right now, Derby’s got the edge.

Derby’s got Birds Bakers.

The Rural Chicken is Emily Howlett, profoundly Deaf actress, writer and horsewoman. She describes herself as being “equally fluent in English, BSL and Gibberish, and completely rubbish at French.” Emily can be found all over the place on various escapades, but divides her time between Derby and London. She can often be found behind a large packet of crisps or any halfway decent book, and insists she can still play characters in their early twenties despite having a grey eyebrow hair.

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