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20 miles from Oxford Circus

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Rob Rob | 11:49 UK time, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Hello! I'm Rob and I'm new to the Learning English team. It's my first Blog too so I hope you like it!

Although I work at the BBC in London, I live outside the city in a village called Eynsford. It's a quiet, picturesque place, surrounded by fields and feels like a very different place from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, incredibly it's only 20 miles from Oxford Circus - that's right in the centre of London.


Eynsford is a typical English village with a cricket green, several pubs, a school, a church, a butcher's and a newsagent's. The shops are always under financial pressure and two have closed in the last few years. There is a great community with plenty of clubs and activities to get involved with. Because we are surrounded by countryside, it's a great place to walk and cycle.

The village is very old and was first written about in the year 864 but it's origins go back further when the Romans built a villa there. The remains of the villa were discovered in 1939 and you can visit them today. Eynsford also has a castle dating back to 1088 and is one of the most complete Norman castles in England. My daughter loves to run around the castle ruins and it's a great place to sit and have a picnic in the Summer.


Just outside the village we have another 'castle' called Lullingstone Castle. It's not a true castle but a manor house originally built in the 15th Century. It was substantially rebuilt in the 18th Century by Sir Percyvall Hart in honour of Queen Anne, who often stayed there. In 2004 the current heir to the estate created the World Garden of Plants in the grounds from a design made in 2000 while he was held captive by rebels in Colombia.

Running through Eynsford is the small River Darent which eventually flows into the River Thames. It's alive with fish, ducks and swans and in the Summer tourists pour into the village to sit by the river and paddle in it. It's possible to drive across the river too through a ford but sometimes the cars don't make it across and drivers need a helping hand to be pushed on to dry land!


The fields around the village are mainly used for growing crops but we do have a herd of Highland cattle which look out of place from their native Scotland. Lavender is grown in some of the fields and in July they turn a beautiful deep purple colour and the smell of lavender is in the air.



As you can see there is much to see and do in Eynsford which is why I love living there. But the great thing is you can jump on a train and very quickly you can be in London and in the office making learning english programmes!
You'll see from some of the photos, we had lots of snow this year which I think makes the place look even more picturesque. Of course village life isn't right for everyone, it may be too quiet or too boring for some but it's great for me! Does this sound like where you live? Would you prefer to live in the city or the country? Write and let me know.

Hope you enjoyed reading about Eynsford and liked my first blog.



  • Comment number 1.

    very good place,.....maybe i will tells story about my village next time...thanks

  • Comment number 2.

    Hello, Rob.

    Welcome to the BBC team! Yes, I enjoyed reading your blog and watching the pictures in it.

    However, there are some questions I have about the language. In this sentence:

    "Eynsford is a typical english village with a cricket green, several pubs, a school, a church, a butchers and a newsagents" I wonder about the details in spelling. Shouldn't English always be written with a capital letter? Shouldn't it be "a butcher's and a newsagent's"? (I think the word "shop" is implied by the genitive form of butcher and newsagent.)

    I'm almost sure about the butcher's and the newsagent's. But I'm not sure about "in to". You write that the small River Darent "flows in to the River Thames" where I would have written "flows into". The same as for the tourists who "pour in to the village". I would have written "pour into". Do you know how it should be? - I will not criticise the capital letter in Summer. I conclude that summer is very important to you.

    Am I a nitpicker? I know that what you wrote sounds the same whatever way you write it. Don't let my questions stop you from writing. I have a dyslexic daughter and I am very thankful there were some teachers that were able to see WHAT she wrote, not HOW she wrote, and who didn't kill her poetical vein.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dear Rob,
    Welcome to Learning English Blog.
    I'm very interested when reading your entry, it reminds me of my hometown where I have lived for my childhood. The village situates in the suburb of Nhatrang city, a beautiful beach in the central of Vietnam. Now I am living and working in a biggest city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. Being living both in the city and countryside for a long time, I have recognized advantages and disadvantages of life in the city and country. On the one hand, we are easy to have access to facilities of education, entertainment, supplies etc in the city that it is difficult to get them for those who living in the country. On the other hand, air pollution, noise are some of problems of the city life while fresh air, peaceful life are easy to feel in the village life. In my experience, people prefer to live in the city when being young. As getting older, they want to spend the rest of their life living in the country.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thank you for your description of the place where you live. Very interesting and with addecuate pictures. About language I have two questions that maybe are for the teacher blogger.
    It sounds strange to me the phrase: "was first written about in the year..." Do you use this form frequently. I dont remember to have seen it before.
    Also I dont undersand what is to paddle in the river.

  • Comment number 5.

    Thanks for your comments so far. I'm glad you like the blog!
    Kirsti - thank you for your detailed feedback and sorry for some of the mistakes which I will correct soon. You are correct about the Summer - we love it and spend all year waiting for it to arrive!
    Tienhoa - I enjoyed reading about your thoughts on country and city life and I think we have similar feelings. I have visited Ho Chi Minh City and liked it but I did find it busy! It is good to escape city life sometimes.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello Rob! I like your post and the place where you are home. All the photos are nice and my feeling is that you really past in to such a place. All the best!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hello Rob!I`m a student from China. I like your post very much. My hometown is a small city in Northeast China.It isn`t as beautiful as yours.but i love it.Thinks for your photos so that i can enjoy the sceneries from other country!

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Rob,
    Your first blog is a very good one. You made me travel to Eynsford :-)
    The place where you live is beautiful. I can imagine that you don't stress at all. Needless to say, it's quite different from the hustle and bustle city where I live. I live in the city of Buenos Aires (Argentina). I have to confess that I'm a bit fed up of the crazy pace of life I go through everyday. However, I think that I couldn't live in the countryside.
    Hope to hear from you again.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hello Rob,
    I liked your blog extremely well! Lovely, lovely place! Makes me want to go there for a holiday - in particular I very much fancy trying to drive through that ford. The only place where I have passed through fords before was in Iceland - none of them left here in Austria, as far as I know.
    I'm a dedicated villager, too, enjoying at the same time the vicinity of a big city - Vienna in my case. Sometimes I do feel though that the city nearby sort of stifles life in the villages around. It is understandable of course that if people want to go to a concert or theatre or cinema, they will invariably go to the city. Most of the shopping is done in a huge shopping centre halfway between our village and the city, too. So, that leaves us with a few moderately successful restaurants - not much of a village life anyway. But there are some very nice "Heurigen" wine taverns not far from (if not right in) my place, and on mild summer evenings we enjoy riding our bikes, including one or the other "Heurigen" in our tours.
    Speaking of nitpicking: There's an apostrophe in your text which surely was sort of a slip of the thumb: "it's origins go back further..."
    And like Kirsti I've been taught (and am teaching others) to always capitalise words like English, German, etc. In fact, I would even have capitalised Learning when reference is made to the specific BBC programmes. Maybe I'm being old-fashioned there - I know languages move on...

  • Comment number 11.

    Hello Beatriz
    The phrase "was first written about in the year..." is a strange one. We tend to use it if we talk about something very historic to give it more effect Eg: in the year 864. We wouldn't normally say 'in the year 2010' as it's in the present. It's still Ok to say just 'in 864'. Hope that helps!

  • Comment number 12.

    Thanks for all your comments on my first blog!
    It's good to hear about your experiences of the countryside and your help with my grammar.
    Keep your comments coming please.

  • Comment number 13.

    I were reading your blog and the comments and thinking- isn't there anybody who likes city life as I like it? I live in the centre of Moscow, it's about 20min from our central Red Square and 5min from the Moscva-river. Yes, it's a noisy place on weekdays and at work hours, I agree. But I must admit I like, I love, I adore the hustle and bustle of the city. I'm never tired living there and people and cars never get irritated at me. I live in an old house which is situated in the small side-street. There're some churches nearby, old and beautiful. This place is rather quiet at weekends. I'd better have a walk in the parks or in the streets taking a look at wonderful buildings instead of beeng in the forest, particularly in summer. I hate insects.
    City-lovers, unite! All the best. Natalie.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Rob
    Your village seems to be so cosy. I'd love to visit it.


  • Comment number 15.

    wow, you live in a beautiful place.
    I think people in europe love to live in natural environment than people in development country ( especially in my country) v.v'

  • Comment number 16.

    Hello Natalie
    I have visisted Moscow and I agree, it is an exciting city. I lived in London for many years and loved city life. I still work in London so enjoy some city life but I like to get away from it at the end of the day!

  • Comment number 17.

    Dear Rob,

    Firstly, l just read your article about your hometown. the only thing that l can tell about Eynsford is that this is one of the most beautiful place for people who really want to live in a dreamy place. Although we have many places in my country ( Turkey ) to advertise, the way of your making people captivated about this place was perfect! It can be out of the topic but l would like to say that these kinds of places like Eynsford should be protected from unaware people causing many problems about the environment of these places.. l hope that the next generation will have many changes to witness these areas like Eynsford.. with only one word it is just a wonderful place to visit and be protected...

  • Comment number 18.

    Hello Rob
    I'd like to add to why I don't like to live in the country.
    For the simple reason that I can't sleep well in silence. Probably I has already accustomed to sleep hearing persistent city noises that's why silence is odd and even scary for me. We've got a house in the countryside, where we are every weekend. I always have sleepless nigts.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thanks for your post, Rob. It was a very interesting article. I’m kind of jealous of you :) because you live in such a wonderful place. I adore English villages where nature surrounds you. The wind that blows on your skin, the smell of the air after a thunderstorm, birds chirping, a secret place to linger whenever you need a moment of calm etc., it all makes you feel like heaven.:)

  • Comment number 20.

    hello r...
    you are a lucky one...and more than that that WISE ONE ...living in such a fabulous countrtside...your photos are a real treat to eyes...i wish i could see the place not through the eye of your camera but my own real eyes...but until then keep posting such marvellous photos...keep writing...

  • Comment number 21.

    Very beautiful place.You can breathe the fresh air.I prefer to live in the country. my hometown is under the Lushan,but now I just work at the other city which is a little far away from my hometown,I don't know if someone know about Lushan mountain( or Mountain Lu). which is famous mountain in China.I stayed at my hometown when i was only a small child. We can drink the fountain which is falled down from the Lushan mountain.the fountain taste good with the light and natural sweet.if use the boiled fountain to make the tea.wa... the taste is very good...and welcome the friends all of the world to come to Lushan.

  • Comment number 22.

    What a wonderful place! How lucky you are, Rob!!

    The views are really mind blowing. The last photograph with ice around reminds me of a footage of the film 'White' from ‘Three Colors’ by ‘Krzysztof Kieslowski’.

    I envy you having opportunity to live in such a place. I always love to live in countryside though now I’m staying in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of the most crowded cities in the world. The city is full of traffic, people and dust and where gas, electricity are name of common problems. However, we’re bound to live here for employment, education and so on. And, that’s why; whenever I can arrange time, I head for my home at countryside, 270 kms away from the capital city. Surprisingly, it takes 8 hrs to travel which, on the other hand, discourages me from moving.

    I appreciate the writings from the nitpickers (!). It really contributes in enriching our learning. Thanks to all.



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