As someone who’s spent most of her life in a city, spending five months in this tiny little village in the North York Moors has been a trip.
I’ve had multiple experiences where I’ve been blown away with how things work here. Things that I have never seen happen in Oakland (and would never imagine them happening).
So, for your enjoyment, here’s a list of things country folk may assume are normal while I’m like:
1. The Post Office Clerk’s Dad Owns the Nearby Printing Shop
Our printer wasn’t working and there’s no library or printing shop in the village, so I thought I might as well try the post office to see if they did any printing. The clerk said they didn’t have a printer, BUT his dad actually owns the printing shop in Whitby, and if I just sent the papers to this email address, he could bring the papers in tomorrow.
THEN, turns out his dad would be driving into Lealholm later that day and could bring the pieces of paper with him.
2. The Post Office Clerk Knows Where You Live…
And will hand-deliver papers your house. So those papers I needed printing that the post office clerk’s dad was going to print? That evening, they came in through our post box. Did I tell him where I lived or where he could deliver them? Nope.
I figured I’d just pick them up from the post office the next day. But no, the clerk knew who I was enough to know where I lived and hand-deliver the papers I needed to our house. I could not see that ever happening in Oakland. In all fairness, we do basically live across the street from the post office, but still.
3. The Pub Owners ALSO Know Where You Live
When I first got back here for this two-month stint, my partner and I went on quarantine for 10 days as we were supposed to. Because of this, we couldn’t walk over to the pub to pick up the weekly takeout. No worries – we texted the pub owners about our perdicament and they basically said, “Ah nice to have you back! No worries, we can deliver your order to you either at the end or at the start of the evening and you can pay for it all once your out of quarantine. Let us know if you need any shopping done too!”
No Door Dash or Just Eat, here, just really really nice pub owners.
4. The Pub Texts Out Their Weekly Menu
This may be a part pandemic, part small village thing, but since the UK’s lockdown, the village pub has only been doing takeout meals twice a week. In the city, you might expect them to post their weekly menu on their website or social media or maybe an email newsletter you can subscribe to.
Here? Naw. You just give the pub owner your number and he does a big text out to everyone each week. Then, you just message back what you want to order that week and they’ll tell you a time to come pick it up.
5. The Village Shop Lets You Have a Tab
I mentioned this in my first post about living in a small village, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. If I walked into my local Trader Joes in Oakland and was like, “Oh shit, I’m $0.40 short.” First of all, that’d be less likely to happen because they take card (the village shop only takes cash). But second, they’d probably be like “Ok, cool. Want to take something out or I’ll hold it for you so you can go get the right amount?”
Not at the village shop. No, the owners (because that’s who’s working at the till) know where I live. They’re literally our neighbors. She’s just like “just take them and pay the extra next time you come in.”
“Enjoy your sausages.”
6. You Wave At Cars Passing (And The Drivers Wave Back)
On most of my runs, I’m running on the road because the sidewalk (or pavement as they call it here) disappears as soon as you’re out of the village center. When cars pass, I tend to try to get off to the side a little bit so I’m not in the way.
As they pass, there’s this little acknowledgment interaction where I give a half-wave nod and they nod or wave back.
In Oakland, you pass people on the sidewalk and it’s odd to even make eye contact.
I’m sure there are more that I’ve left out here, but I’ll keep you posted and add more when they come up.