It can be tough moving to a new area - making new friends and generally fitting in.
My husband would argue that I don’t bother much with the latter now I’m well into my grumpy forties, with my ‘take me as you find me’ attitude to life. It possibly even acts as a repellent.
I don’t call it being grumpy. I call it being relaxed and refreshingly comfortable in your own skin.
People, acquaintances, friends may come and go, but it’s the ones that stick with you, by you, when they’ve seen you at your best and worst, that are the ones worth hanging on to.
Making friends has never really been a big problem for me in the past. I do actually like people, contrary to my husband making me sound like a scowling, toothless old lady.
I enjoy getting to know people and understand what interests them or makes them tick, so moving to a new county some 240 miles away from the majority of the family and friends we knew, wasn’t such a big deal.
I’m a great believer that if you are meant to stay in touch with people, you will naturally, regardless of distance. And who wouldn’t want a complimentary holiday in Cornwall from time-to-time, right?
One might argue that moving to a sleepy little hamlet with very little in the way of neighbours; might not be terribly conducive in helping to make new friends. I disagree.
Don’t get me wrong, I love not having many neighbours, its great! Especially if you’re someone like me who has learnt to cherish and appreciate the sanctity of silence. But it is just as nice when that silence is broken occasionally and you bump into someone and chew lifes fat.
I think you make more effort to make friends when you live in a rural location. You don’t take people quite so much for granted when you are not surrounded by the hoarding masses and their chatter every day.
When we first moved to our sleepy little hamlet, the ‘old townies’ in us thought it might be nice, civilised even, to invite our new neighbours (all six houses of them) for an impromptu cheeky glass or three of house-warming fizz and nibbles.
How very Jerry and Margot of us, and what a great way to get to know people and integrate into our tightly knit community we thought…
It therefore came as somewhat of a surprise to find out that we, the newbies on the lane, were in fact the first neighbours to initiate such a social soiree.
Of course, our neighbours interacted, were friendly and courteous to one another on an almost daily basis – they weren’t hay chewing yokels that just grunted at one another from their Combine Harvesters. No, it just seemed no-one had ever considered (or wanted perhaps) to be sociable on that level.
Maybe they’d moved here to get away from people like us. Really?
What a jolly disappointment for them.
This intrigued me.
Had us townies made some sort of local faux pas? Surely if that had been the case people wouldn’t have RSVP’d. Maybe they had come to see if others would. Maybe my reputation for making fabulous finger food had proceeded me and they were here to gorge on my fabulous free canapés. Or maybe they just came to check us out and make sure we weren’t the kind of people who conducted midnight rituals involving the dancing around fires in our belly warmers, belting out Abba’s full back catalogue.
What I prefer to think is maybe none of them ever got around to it. That living just got in the way. I think it’s true that time goes faster as you get older or possibly you just get more apt at filling it when you are retired or semi-retired.
Whatever the reasons, it made no odds to me, especially when our guests rocked-up bearing alcoholic quaffing gifts. They could quite frankly do a Cornish Hooley in nothing but their bed socks for all it mattered to me.
I like to think we started a trend that day.
Instead of just chewing hay and neighing over the hedgerows now, we go out for a few jars at the local hostelry, catch-up and watch the sunset over the beach.
Sometimes, we’ll host dinner or have a cheese and wine night. Or when I’m feeling really adventurous I’ll drag a few of the younger lady neighbours into town for a bit of hedonism at the local pizzeria.
That’s as fast as the fast lane gets in Cornwall, but it’s kind of nice and I wouldn’t change it for all the free spa days at Champneys.
Our hamlet may never be the same again now we've moved here but it’s not bad for a scowling, toothless old lady that doesn’t like making friends much.