Here is the best: it is beautiful, quite unbelievably so very often, and I live here all the time. I can see it in all seasons, in all weathers, with and without company.
I can feel the seasons: hard and cold winter, warm and soft autumn, summer, baking in the sun or shivering in gusts of rain and my favourite, spring, surging with excitement and light.
And here are the worst things: mud. In winter mud is everywhere, on your boots, on your car, in your house, on your kitchen floor, on the hems of your smart trousers when you look down, even though you wore your wellies to drive to your meeting and only changed out of them in the car. I haven't any mud pictures as I am always too busy wading in it to carry my camera.
Narrowness: a narrowness of choice in shops and company. Capers? You have to be joking. Multicultural communities? Well there is English and Welsh I suppose.
It can be lonely, especially in winter when life turns inwards and you might not see your neighbours for weeks if you live high and out and away. It can turn you in on yourself without the distractions of lights and shops and cinemas and theatres and restaurants. You need to work at life up here. Everything is harder, both physically and in a way mentally. You need to plan, to plan your shopping on a week to week basis, to plan your social life and even to plan your winter so that it does indeed hold company and variety and your life doesn't shrink to rain on the windows and a cold dash to the logstore.
Funny, writing this has made me understand why there is no representation of mud and narrowness, loneliness and hard work in articles about Fionella's life. They don't photograph, these things. Even after all this time up here I can't show you pictures of what they look like.
Yet I wouldn't change this life for the world. But if you are thinking about a big move to the country, try and look at your pink walled cottage in winter, when the roses are bare sticks and the lady's mantle is under the brown ground. Town and city life irons out many of the highs and lows of living. Real country living is wetter, dirtier, colder, more beautiful and more satisfying than any photos can tell you. So says Fionella, when the camera has gone.