I was just sorting through memory cards full of photos that I have yet to organize or do anything with, when I came across this one. I took it on the 8th March at 8 am (The wonders of modern digital photography triumph over my innate forgetfulness.) That means I was on my way to the school bus stop with my son. The simply stunning morning light made me forget the usual morning scurry and sent me dashing back indoors for my camera. (Child abandoned on the street, swinging his rucksack in the air.) Sometimes the beauty of nature really does just stop you in your tracks.


Just as I was wondering how to catalogue this snap and musing on how I might use or share it somewhere, the daily prompt from WordPress popped up in my reader. Idyllic. It seemed perfectly in step with my response to this photo. I clicked through and discovered that the prompt related more specifically to what your ideal community looks like. How it is organized and how community life is structured. What values does the community share?

Then it struck me, this photo shows exactly what my ideal community looks like. It’s a  community based in nature and shaped by nature. A small community but with strong ties. On the horizon you can see the small cluster of houses perched atop the hillside, mirroring our own hamlet, dwarfed by the scale of the mountains behind and the expanse of green stretching between tiny, scattered villages. It could feel lonely but it promotes a depth and strength of connection between neighbours that doesn’t naturally occur in places, such as cities, where you can maintain a lofty self-reliance and independence.

The Spanish refrain goes: ¿Quién es tu hermano? El vecino más cercano’ meaning, your closest family is your nearest neighbour. This is never truer than when you live in a small community in the country. We rely on each other in a myriad of ways, both practically and socially. From borrowing a pint of milk rather than making a 20 minute trip to buy one, to sharing a cup of coffee and a chat on an otherwise solitary day.

Even our water supply (the very staff of life!) is community managed. This means periodic village meetings, the occasional Saturday morning spent clearing brambles on the hillside where the pump-house is or, in times of emergency, days spent chasing and fixing leaks in the pipework. I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s a worry and sometimes it’s a drag but it teaches me a darn sight more about personal and environmental responsibility than paying a quarterly water bill ever did!

So there you have it. My country idyll. Just right for me right now. But what about you? What’s your idea of an idyllic community? And are you lucky enough to already live there?

The local water board in action last summer. That'll be all of us then!

The local water board in action last summer. That’ll be all of us then!


  1. Trish @ Mum's Gone To says:

    It is an idyllic photo and I love how it’s made you think about your community. Having lived in a city, Newcastle, as a child and then in London when I left University, for the last 20 odd years I’ve lived in the country, in a small town and I love it. I don’t think I could go back to city living now.

    • I grew up in the (very rural) west of Ireland. By 17 I couldn’t wait to get out of there and head to Dublin to university. Subsequently I moved to London, at which time I felt terribly sorry for anyone who didn’t live there! Now, like you, I just couldn’t imagine myself ever living in the city again.

  2. The photo is just stunning – I could stare at it for ages! And it does look so idyllic – well hopefully I will be in a nicer setting in a few weeks time – escaping London and moving to greener suburbia – BTW I have moved over all my blog reading to Blog Lovin – so if you see that I have unsubscribed – that’s why – still reading your lovely blog!

  3. Seeing the pictures and reading this, made my heart jump…I love Spain and Asturias. Thank you for bringing me closer to it today through your post :)

  4. Reblogged this on Amalia Travel and commented:
    I had to share this because of two things: I love this woman and her family who I got to meet in Asturias this past year (her and her family’s heart for life and Spain) and I miss my Asturias, but through stories and pictures like this, I know it is still a part of me and me a part of it and I will be there again one day. As this post so eloquently presents, our sense of community can vary and I think can look different at different times and seasons in our lives. For me, I have a global sense of community right now that is based on simply being with my family and loved ones wherever I am at the time. What is your sense of community?

  5. I do love where we live, it’s peaceful, it’s scenic and not spoiled by ambient light and traffic noise. However, it is a busy farming community, so we don’t see much of our neighbours at all. If we needed them they would be there, but it can be weeks at a time before we bump into each other. The downside is the climate, we get much more rain than anything else.
    My ultimate country idyll would have to be the South West of France, a nice farmhouse surrounded by sunflowers and lavender, a few vineyards as neighbours, some nice artisan producers and lots of lovely sunshine

    • Oh it sounds lovely where you are but I know what you mean about the rain. The weather in the UK these last couple of years just seems to be getting wetter and wetter. It’s so limiting and a little depressing. I always wanted to live in the South West of France too, before we chose to move here I did think we might end up there. You paint a lovely picture of your idyll!

  6. Lovely post… I know very much what you mean.. Your village sounds so much like mine here in Galicia, aren’t we lucky? :-)

  7. There is something very idyllic about your life here

  8. Idyllic indeed. Community is very important isn’t it?

  9. Love this post – how did I miss this?
    wow and the alternative was Empire Road!

  10. Beautiful. I am also sometimes struck by the beauty around me her in the Apujarras. I have to stop and just stare. Hoxton wasn’t much like this.

  11. I love that you love where you live so much! This photo really does capture some of the magic. You’ve inspired me and I’ve mentioned this post in this month’s BritMums Expat Roundup :)

  12. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos.

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