Villages in Spain and France have put up posters in their local villages, advising city dwellers of what they can expect if they come on holiday to the country, or decide to come and live there. This follows urban newcomers’ objections to cocks crowing and church bells ringing. We thought some advice for those visiting, or planning to live in rural Yorkshire might also be in order.
Advice for urban newcomers to rural Yorkshire
- While only roosters cock-a-doodle-do, hens also make a racket at daybreak. So pleased they are with their early morning egg-laying efforts they will not stop until their sisters join in and celebrate with them.
- The dawn chorus takes place at – dawn. Owls hoot at night.
- Any address with mill, river, or falls in the name – river-side cottage, falls view, mill lane – is indicative of a fast flowing stream or river that will tumble past your property 24-hours a day. The parish council does not switch it off at night.
- Midges like damp warm places from May to September and often, the more picturesque the view (such as that from a romantic bridge over a tree-lined river), the more midges there will be.
- Harvest mites will burrow into the soft skin under your underwear elastic in July and September and clegs operate all summer.
- When the sign says ‘road closed due to flooding’, it generally is – but not always.
- If you are worried about mud, puddles, scratches from hedges or having to mount verges, leave your ‘all-terrain vehicle’ safely at home in the garage where it can continue to support your rugged fantasy.
- Anything using their legs to get around has right of way. Assume there will always be a pedestrian, cyclist, stray sheep or a low sports car around each bend, hidden by the dry-stone wall.
- When accommodation owners give directions – use them. Not only will the postcode cover the whole village, but your sat nav will be as much use as Dominic Cummings’ eyesight. You are unlikely to have a phone signal to check the map or to ask directions from the owner.
- Muck spreading is best done when the ground is firm – such as during the summer when it’s dry, or at Christmas when there are frosts – in other words, when you are on holiday.
- Hay making continues until late at night and starts early in the morning. Huge beams of light will scan your windows as the combine goes back and forth across the fields and a convoy of giant harvesters at midnight with flashing orange lights will pass your door on the way home.
- Cows and sheep poo; usually in fields but also on the roads.
- Dry stone walls are strictly for stock control or peeing behind, not for climbing on.
- If there is one, do not expect the village shop to sell kombucha or tamarind paste, or the pub to make cocktails, or the tearoom to bake organic, vegan, gluten and nut-free chocolate cake.
- Nothing is open on a wet Tuesday in February – and many other times besides.
Editor’s note: For those looking forward to a rural getaway this bank holiday weekend, enjoy!