When I started this blog, my reference to living in Sticksville was rather tongue in cheek.

‘Out in the Sticks’ was something an estate agent said when I mentioned I intended to move from Swindon to somewhere more rural but to be fair, the town I have been in for the last 24 years is hardly a one horse one.

But it is significantly smaller than Swindon, and just as Londoners might find Swindon too confining for their liking, it’s true my current home town is short of the superstores, dual carriageways and traffic lights that many Swindonians seem to appreciate.

And it’s the absence of these things that make me like it.

But I’m about to undergo a seismic shift.

After almost a quarter of a century I am about to move to somewhere that surely fits the description of, not just Sticksville, but Sticklet.

Swindon’s population is currently listed as over 200,000, and where I have lived for over two decades is around 8% of that. But the head count of Sticklet is so small it has to be added to four other parishes to even merit a mention on Wikipedia.

But it has a fantastic thatched pub, a school, and my new house has views that stretch the miles to the horizon into double figures.

It’s on the edge of an area of outstanding natural beauty, a site of archaeological importance and a site of national historical significance where the views of Wiltshire are the best in the county.

All accessible within a short stroll from my front door.

So, all told somewhat of a change for an ex-Rodbourne boy.

But as I prepare for life in the country, where the horses in the village possibly contribute the greatest traffic problem that I will encounter, I’m reminded of something that happened back at the start of the seventies when I was a school boy at Jennings Street.

My mum got a call at work to tell her I had been taken to Princess Margaret Hospital. Probably envisaging some sort of accident in the chemistry class, she wasn’t prepared to be told I’d been bitten by a horse.

At school. In Rodbourne.

In those days, Mannington rec was the most westerly flung extreme of the town. Beyond that were the villages of Shaw, Lydiard Millicent and Lydiard Tregoze… and when I say they were villages, I don’t mean in the way that Toothill is supposed to have a village centre.

These were separate enclaves in the way that Liddington and Chiseldon still are, and remained a pleasant bike ride into the country.

And a cross country run during the games lesson meant just that. Out across the rec, over the old M&SWJ railway line (please, SOMEONE know what I’m going on about!) and into the wilds of Wiltshire.

Back in the days before Great Western Way, there was a field next to Mannington, round about where the… well, roundabout is, that now leads to the massive B&Q.

And in that field lived a horse which wasn’t too pleased about a load of schoolboys stomping through its patch on their way back to school.

Some of my school friends refused to front it out with the equine, but I knew where the route went I wasn’t about to be deviated from it.

Deciding I needed teaching a lesson, the horse trotted up behind me and sank its teeth into my back, actually lifting me off the ground by the skin.

That would have been a lot easier than today, when I probably weighed about a third of my current mass, but not a very nice experience anyway.

When I related the story back at school and asked for a teacher to take a look at my back, I was promptly despatched up Kingshill for an anti-tetanus jab, prompting the call to my mother.

It took years before the story died down in my family.

My brother in particular, who had and still has the misfortune to live far too close to London to be healthy, found it hilarious that I should suffer being bitten by a horse during a regular school day in Swindon.

Swindon WAS considered a lot more rural 40 years ago, but he couldn’t get his head around how a horse could be within quarter of a mile of my house and school.

And while I’m not looking forward to being bitten again, it’s that country experience that I’m looking so forward to recapturing.

View from the Sticks is about to get much more sticky.