I just spent a week in a small town, for the first time since I left the one I grew up in. Living in a flat that was between lets, helping to clear father in law's almost endless junk from another house up the road.
The flat smelled like the various digs I had as a student - damp downstairs, bare walls upstairs, the minimum of furnishing. It smelled like transience.
Almost automatically, I started doing what I used to do as a student to decorate - use empty wine bottles as candle holders and artfully dribble wax down the sides. If we'd been there any longer I would have doubtless bought a Star Wars poster and some rag rugs.
I experienced that small town mixture of peace and boredom. I had brought work to do but a lack of internet connection meant it was difficult to do. So I spent a fair bit of time walking to the park, walking by the river, browsing in local shops and just generally pottering about.
I ended up being on greeting terms with the guy who worked in the only cafe with wireless, and stopped to chat a few times with our next door neighbour. Less anonymous than in the city - although the next door neighbour reminded me that smalltown friendliness sometimes gets a bit overbearing, as shortly after we arrived he actually tried the door of our flat before knocking and then gabbled something about thinking one of the workmen hired to renovate the flat was working late and he wanted to "check on his car" when my husband went out to ask what he was doing!
I began to think that we could live there forever; we own the property outright and could do low paid jobs while just bumming around the rest of the time. Sort of like being New Age Travellers without the travelling.
Then I realised that I would probably go spare with boredom after a fortnight, and that it was ok during the sunny weather but that the thought of the three of us living in a small flat the other 51 weeks of the year wasn't very enticing.
Still, it was fun for a week. I'd been a bit worried about coping with small town life, but it convinced me more than ever that it's time to get out of the city.