Finding Rural Bliss In The City

After spending her entire life in the countryside, Paula Lockwood made the decision to leave her farm home and move into the city.

Motivated as much by a thirst for adventure as anything else, Paula took an hour or so out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her life-changing move from rural idyll to urban thoroughfare, and how she’s managed to transplant the tranquillity of a rural life into a metropolitan lifestyle. As we’re welcomed into her home we’re told that she didn’t get much change from selling her farm in the Cotswolds in exchange for her two-bed flat in central Manchester, but such are the perils of moving into the big city…

Your home is lovely, but you must have had to sacrifice a lot of space when moving from your farm?

Yes! That was part of the appeal in moving. I’d reached a point in my life when I felt that I was becoming overburdened with stuff. Whether it was clothes, kitchen appliances, farm equipment – when you own this much stuff it takes up mental space, as well as physical space. For a year or so I’d been watching these YouTube videos about people living in small homes and slowly I was coming round to the idea of doing it myself. The sacrifice of space was a necessary and attractive part of the move for me.

You’ve moved from one hugely desirable area to another – why Manchester? 

I’ve got family living in Manchester and it seemed like an exciting place to live in, so I took the leap! I knew that it was a city rife with culture and that it had one of the largest metropolitan populations outside of London, both of which was enough to persuade me to sell up the farm and find a flat here. Although I didn’t quite have the courage to move into a micro-apartment like the ones that I’d seen online, my new place was a significant reduction in space, which meant that I had to downsize my belongings.

The countryside is fabled for being this magical place where everyone knows everyone, was it a bit of culture shock moving away from that? 

Honestly, no. The whole ‘everyone knows everyone’ thing is not completely true in the country and I’ve actually found that there’s more of a sense of community where I am now in Manchester. Part of the draw of moving here was being able to interact with more culture. Whether it’s art, music, theatre or film, there’s so much going on here that there’s always something to do and there are always friendly communities of people to engage with there.

That’s interesting – how have you felt that this experience has changed you as a person? 

Certainly. I wanted this move to give my middle-age a bit of a jumpstart, and it’s certainly done that! Moving to Manchester has enabled me to meet the kind of people and do the kinds of things that I simply would not have been able to do in the country. It’s an experience that has altered my life forever and I’m so glad I went through with it.

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