Slow paper is better than no paper

I’m not fully adapted to country life yet.  Forward planning – or lack of it –  is my failing.  I haven’t yet learned to anticipate whether we’ll need more milk, potatoes or whatever before the next planned trip to The Great Metropolis (aka Ripon), and quite often find myself grubbing around at the back of the cupboard for acceptable substitutes.

Saturday, though, is the day we treat ourselves and buy the paper.  There’s enough reading material there to get us through several days, and the sports section, discarded immediately,  is perfect for any number of little jobs such as lining the rubbish bin.  And yet today we had no excuse to visit Ripon, so would we have to go without our newspaper?

Well, no, there is another solution, but we have to reckon on leaving the house for well over an hour to complete the three and a half mile walk.  The round trip to the paper shop involves leaving home along the path through the woods, walking along the riverside path to Sleningford Mill caravan site, dallying by the weir for a few minutes, battling along the narrow path now surrounded by chest-high spring flowers, and finally reaching the bridge at West Tanfield.

The shop in the village is where you’ll find most things.  There’s food, drink, first aid and stationery – and a Post Office.  There’s a community board where today I found news of someone selling chilli plants – I’ll be buying some of those .  And there are newspapers.  I bought our weekly fix.  Then I set off home by a different route.  Out of the village on the road, up the hill, turn right at a farm gate.  The path here’s been slightly diverted, because the farmer’s made wide beetle banks to boost the number of farmer-friendly insects and spiders on his land.  Through several fields of sheep, who come to inspect me, and along the drive of Sleningford Park, a country house.  A final yomp along paths running alongside fields of wheat and barley, and I’m home once more.

It wasn’t quick.  But I came home refreshed by the birdsong I’d heard; the sight of birds, rabbits, squirrels and sheep I’d passed; the flowers I’d spotted on the paths, different already from the ones I’d spotted only a few days ago; and all those country smells, from wild garlic to sheep dung to spring flowers.  I’d had a better morning, I reckoned, than if I’d either gone without, or jumped in the car to grab a newspaper at the petrol station four miles away.

20 thoughts on “Slow paper is better than no paper”

  1. Well, I am home for some of next week – but you aren’t!
    We go down to Suffolk fairly regularly to see my mum and this weekend has been for a blitz on her garden.
    Have a great trip, and ‘see you soon’!!


  2. I think I’ve made some of my best ‘OMG there’s nothing open without a 15 minute car ride’ meals because we live in the country. It would be so easy if everything was on our doorstop. Mind you it’s much easier than when we were cruising – 11 days at sea really stretches the culinary imagination! Glad you’re enjoying life in the country.


  3. Speaking as one who hates newspapers the walk looked lovely but not the reason for doing it. You need a dog!!!


    1. I’ve thought of that. Luckily, our tenancy forbids it. It’s not that I don’t like dogs. But I do detest their smell. I’ll stick with the Saturday Guardian.


      1. Too bad about the nuisance factor of the rabbits but your photo really fascinates me! I’m not sure if you’re old enough to remember when they introduced a disease to try and control the rabbit population – maybe in the 50’s and 60’s and it was called myxamitosis? It was a dreadful thing and I remember seeing the dying rabbits in England as a child…hope they don’t still do that!


      2. Oh, I’m plenty old enough, and I remember it too. People are saying the disease is back and that they’ve seen sick rabbits around sometimes: I haven’t, but if it IS around, it hasn’t been artificially introduced….. I hope.


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