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Town and Country Girl

Monday, June 4, 2007 by Marianne Elliott

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SA Trip 06, originally uploaded by frida world.

I'm a town and country mouse, absolutely, but also an Afghan mountain mouse, a Negev desert mouse, and whenever possible an underwater scuba mouse. Hmmm, I guess I might just be a gypsy mouse. But I'm not really a Big City mouse, although short visits to my city mouse friends are fabulous fun, and I have great memories of mouscepades in London, NYC, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Mexico City and Sao Paulo. This week I got tagged twice to list eight random things about myself (once by Home in Kabul and once by the lovely {a] of Spelling Tuesday) so here are two lists for Sunday Scribblings, a town list and a country list.

Eight things I love about the country:

1. Driving out of the city on Friday night for weekends on the home farm with my parents, big sister, brother-in-law and the kids – watching my nephew ride his moto-cross bike through the front paddock.

2. Waking up in Mum and Dad's house to the sound of birds and the smell of grass (and of coffee brewing in the kitchen).

3. Long slow runs along country roads, with plenty of time for gentle thoughts and smiles at the cows.

4. The entire New Zealand coastline – farmland and bush sweeping down to the sea with empty beaches to walk along in silence and solitude.

5. Neighbours and family friends who have known me my whole life and who still like me (or like my parents enough to pretend they do) despite my weird lifestyle and long years of absence.

6. Spring: if you're not working on the farm then the season of lambs and calves is pure joy (if you are working, then it is pure exhaustion). I love the slightly creepy feeling of a sandpapery calf tongue sucking on my fingers as I guide it to the milk teat on the feed drum.

7. A childhood filled with sleepouts, dinners cooked on a campfire, improvised tree huts and club houses, tree-climbing, bonfires, and learning to ride a motorbike and drive a tractor long before it was legal.

8. School calf and lamb club days – even though my big sister always got the champion shield, I was often a pretty close second with my calves named after native birds (Tui) and great-aunts (Daphne and Heather)

Eight things I love about town:

1. Old style cinemas especially on rainy Sunday afternoons – with comfy seats, great movies and glasses of wine.

2. Long slow runs through sleepy Sunday morning suburbs, watching the city wake up, followed by huge vegan brunch at a cafe named after Fidel Castro.

3. Book clubs, scrabble and sherry in my favorite bar with my favorite ladies (and very cute barmen stopping by to check out the books and make conversation with the ladies).

4. Access to yoga classes, organic food stores and new music.

5. Bookstores, bookstores, bookstores (the best one I've ever seen is Powell's in Portland, I swear it is worth visiting the city just for this bookstore).

6. Cafes with soymilk and wireless internet.

7. Exploring new cities, e.g. sitting in a pavement cafe listening to guitar music on the street in Buenos Aires (see photo above).

8. Summer concerts in the park or on the beach – with GG's cakestand, cupcakes and Falling Water cocktails.


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18 Responses to "Town and Country Girl"

  1. homeinkabul says:

    I am moving to New Zealand (4. The entire New Zealand coastline – bush sweeping down to the sea with empty beaches to walk along in silence and solitude) Can I work at your family farm?
    Wonderful post. I wanted to tell you to write about your childhood/NZ but I thought it would be a touch bossy. I’m so glad you did it on your own.
    Much love & peace,

  2. Swirly says:

    Your lists make me want to put on my hiking boots, get on a plane, land wherever I land and simply WANDER.

  3. lacithecat says:

    Ahhh … how SWEET!
    Home sweet home …

  4. Mardougrrl says:

    What wonderful lists! You are one of those people who is a World Mouse…and the world is lucky to have you. xoxo, M

  5. megg says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with Powell’s in Portland AND coffees with soy milk and so so much of this post – some lovely things are just universal!!

  6. Deb G says:

    I like your lists. I know it’s been said before, but travel does make home sweeter.

  7. Rethabile says:

    Soymilk? Why not. Living in the country and visiting the city is a good compromise for me.

  8. What lovely lists- there are good things to be said about everything, I would expect! I loved NZ when we were there- I could see myself living there, no problem!

  9. ceanandjen says:

    You must have felt so at home writing this, because I felt at home reading it. Lovely lists. And yes, Powell’s is fabulous, isn’t it?
    Love to you.

  10. susanna says:

    I think everything on both your lists – whether country or city – sound fabulous! I want to see and experience everything on your list.

  11. Laini says:

    Ah yes, two worlds — I want the best of both! While at the coast last week, where we went to “get away” we were mildly irritated the good restaurants weren’t open midweek off-season, and that the one little grocery store in town didn’t have low-fat ice cream. [snort!!] But those were just initial reactions — after a day, all that stuff fell away, and I just wanted to walk on the beach. But I’d get to missing that lowfat ice cream soon enough, I’m sure! And wow — all the places you’ve lived and traveled. Inspiring!

  12. Molly says:

    This is a lovely post and a lovely blog! I love your masthead. I look forward to exploring here.

  13. AnnieElf says:

    I am going to be in Portland next week. Jone at Deo Writer is arranging a meet-up. Now that I know about Powell’s, this is definitely the place to go.

  14. Tag says:

    Oooo…8 things about!
    Let’s face it, the traveling mouse is the happiest mouse!

  15. Paris Parfait says:

    I’ve been thinking about you a lot these past few days, because of the two brutal murders of women journalists and several reports I’ve read about the dangers for human rights and aid workers. It breaks my heart about Zaki Zakaria. I hope you’re being especially careful these days and taking all precautions necessary. xo

  16. oooh cafes with wireless and soy milk. Here in Marrakesh, only a dream. Sniff.

  17. jenny says:

    beautiful list, a lovely introduction to your blog (as a new reader) :”)

  18. I wrote a similar post on my blog, but yours looks at both the country and the city, and I enjoyed reading it.

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