WHEN we upped sticks from the very centre of Glasgow and moved to rural Argyll, we attracted a stream of curious visitors - and folk just looking for a non-city break.

All were bemused at a couple of urban cowboys deciding to embrace the countryside. Though in truth, first in a caravan and then in a cottage, we had spent years of downtime in this area.

The cottage, it has to be said, did not resemble those bijou thatched numbers you see in magazine supplements for the London glitterati. It had one loo in a space which you pretty well had to back into. Our later addition of a shower adjoining the kitchen area probably broke every planning regulation in the book. Fortunately we didn’t have the book.

The rest of downstairs was what we might charitably call open plan - one room for every other activity.

Upstairs was a “bedroom” and a boxroom. When guests came they got the master bedroom, i.e. use of the bed recess and access to a front facing view. We decamped to a futon in the box room. After I discovered this wee space was suspended rather than propped up I did not sleep well.

Anyway, fast forward to the very big decision to quit Glasgow and move here permanently. The friends who joined us at weekends continued to give us long sideways looks.

Oh sure, they got that waking up to a view of Loch Long was a mite more aesthetically pleasing than overlooking the backside of M&S. But what did we DO, they would chorus? What about theatre? What about concerts? What about shops? Wasn’t it all just TOO quiet?

Gently we would explain that the new postcode was not the dark side of the moon. We could drive to Glasgow in an hour. We could get a train from Helensburgh, and a ferry to Gourock for an alternative train. But the thing is, increasingly we didn’t bother so much. I was still in town for work every weekday anyway so getting back to country stillness in the evenings was, frankly, a bonus.

When my husband died very suddenly, I was forced to re-appraise. And again friends urged re-locating. Come on home to the big city, they all said. I thought about it. But I also thought about what actually constituted real life. And almost all of it revolved around what was now my own doorstep.

Increasingly it revolved around the community hub of our village hall. In one 48-hour period last weekend I was there for a fabulous Tim Kliphuis concert on the Friday; back on Saturday for the bi-annual quiz night (very competitive); back on Sunday for the table tennis club. And in between, the dog and I took in some sporting highlights in the village pub.

Later this month we have our annual book festival. Helensburgh is just half an hour away with plenty of opportunities for retail therapy, some seriously good restaurants, and its own cinema. As the kids say, what’s not to like? Country life? It’s pretty hectic, but great stuff if you don’t weaken.