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Saturday, 4 February 2012

When Your House Stops Feeling Like Home

When I moved to Shropshire from our home down south eleven years ago, I thought I'd be settled for life.  I loved the idea of living in the country and raising my family in a rural environment.  I had visions of country walks,  coffee in quaint cafes and fresh country air to breathe.

The reality has never really matched up to this fantasy.  Don't get me wrong, it was the best decision I ever made to leave my flat and my drug dealing neighbours, but I've always felt like a city girl in a country setting, and that feeling has been growing.  When I first moved here, it was quite a thriving little market town, but slowly the shops have closed making the high street a depressing collection of charity shops, bargain shops, kebab take aways and not much more.  I had a favourite canalside shop and cafe which was a lovely place to spend a few hours.  It closed down a few years ago like most of the other places I liked around here.  Even the local branch of my bank shut down meaning my nearest one is miles away.  There is a weekly market which is very well attended but I can't stand it!  Stalls selling clothes, books and fruit and veg that are all open to the elements and have seen better days, really don't do it for me.  I like nice, big shiny shops with fabulous displays that sell beautiful things.  I like a wide choice of eateries and coffee shops.  I like art galleries, museums and parks.

The nearest shopping centre is 20 miles away, and it isn't that great. Many shops stand empty and a lot of the stores I love at the Bullring or the Trafford Centre are not found in Telford.  We have to travel 50+ miles for any serious shopping!

My dream of having lovely, long walks in the countryside have also not come to fruition. Any land around here is used for farming, and although there are some pedestrian routes across fields, that isn't the kind of walking I want to do with the children.  I like woodland walks with safe pathways for the kids to cycle, a field to kick around a ball and a cafe by the car park!

The fresh country air turns out to be a disappointment too.  The smell of the fertilizer that the farmer spreads on the fields smells like a combination of fish and vomit.  It's acrid!  If the winds in a certain direction, all you can smell is cow manure.  It's like a thick, green cloud of stench descends over the town.  I'm not cut out for this agricultural living!!

There is also the fact that my children can't just pop to the cinema or to a concert.  The nearest cinema is about 15 miles away and  there is no bus to get them there.  In fact the bus service from here is abysmal, with more routes being cut all the time.  The nearest train station is 40 minutes away so they can't even get to the major towns without our parental taxi service.  The opportunities are limited to hanging around parks or going to sleepovers with bottles of WKD to add to the entertainment.  I want my children to be able to see the latest films, see top bands, go to the theatre and have access to ice skating, bowling and bustling shopping centres.  We're not even in a Domino's Pizza delivery zone here!

So, we've made the decision.  It's time to go.  Megan is graduating this year and intends to head down south to do an internship or graduate scheme in London (fingers crossed).  Ian already commutes 50 miles into Birmingham everyday for work, so it wouldn't make any difference to his job if we moved a similar distance South of Birmingham.  Joe already lives in Northampton, so that seems like a good starting point for us to look at relocating.  There are some places around there for us to look at.

I'd love to be closer to a big town or city.  I'd love easy access to public transport meaning I could whisk myself into London when I'm invited to events!   My children would have every opportunity to live the life they deserve with a degree of independence.

I'm under no illusion that it will be easy to sell my house, although it is a lovely four bedroomed detached house with an amazing ensuite bathroom in a nice quiet, cul-de-sac.  It's not that I don't like my house, it's just I don't want to be here anymore.  A fresh start sounds really attractive.  I've never really made many friends here and I spend every day sat at home with Freddy waiting for the afternoon school run. Not that I'm complaining too much...it is a great opportunity to do my blogging!  I'd love to be a lady that lunches with a circle of  friends when Fred starts nursery, and it isn't ever going to happen here.

So, we're throwing our future into the hands of the Gods.  If we sell, we move.  If not, we'll carry on making the best of what we've got....and putting plenty of miles on the car to give the kids the life I want them to have.

24 comments:

  1. I hope that things happen the best way they can for you Wendy,and I'm sure that whichever way the wind blows things will turn out for the best.

    I have always lived in the countryside, always away from normal civilisation so i dont really know much different, we moved a year ago to a slightly less isolated location but certainly no where near any real towns. I think the life you describe with activites and shops and lots of friends on your doorstep sounds wonderful, but I am a country girl at heart and do enjoy the quiet side of life it brings.

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  2. I could have written a similar post and have been nodding my head all the way through in agreement. This week, me and the OH have been talking seriously about relocating. I'm from Manchester originally and now only live about 20 miles away but it is in the arse end of nowhere. Hardly any shops, no cinema. Just lots of boarded up places. There are a few nature reserves for walks but I really want a bit of culture. I would not move back closer to Manchester though as I want a fresh start. We are really drawn to Bristol. Everytime I go there my heart flutters. In the summer there was a big park in the centre that was bustling with families, having picnics etc. - that is what I want. I think somewhere within 30 mins drive of Bristol would suit us and also getting to the coast. A lifetime of Blackpool makes me want to escape the North West.

    I have not one proper friend (just a few acquaintances) here after nearly 10 years of living here, it seems very closed off. I made some friends from book group etc. but they're quite a bit older than me in their 60's - not the mum's doing lunch I was hoping for. Lovely people but I need some around my own age of 33.

    I hope you find what you are looking for. If you can do it, go for it!! We will I hope in the next 5 years. Money and OH's job are the hurdles first.

    Sam xx

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  3. The countryside is beautiful in so many respects, but the teenagers want so much more from their lives. Where we live has a real small town mentality and even after 11 years we still feel like outsiders. Kids still laugh at my children for how they say 'bath' and 'laugh'! xxx

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  4. Good luck with following your dreams! Let's hope that we both end up somewhere we can be really happy. I love the sound of the picnic in the park...that is exactly the sort of life I want for my family. Fingers crossed for us both!! xxx

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  5. NoDiscernibleTalent4 February 2012 at 20:56

    Wow, brave decision Wendy but sounds like it's the right one. We too were debating a massive move last year (to Australia!) which hasn't happened for a variety of reasons. I've got itchy feet though and would like to move to somewhere like Brighton. I don't think it's going to happen in the near future though, boo! Good luck with everything xx

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  6. Brighton would be a fabulous place to live, as would Australia! I have a friend emigrating to Australia in July...I'm more than a little bit jealous! I hope you get to be where you want to be soon. Fingers crossed eh! xxx

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  7. So where are we moving to this time? xx

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  8. I trust you will be following me...I wouldn't want to leave you behind! xxx

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  9. I have all these whimsical dreams about living in the counrtyside, but the truth of the matter is, I know I would be bored! I grew up in Clapham and now live in London suburbia. It takes me 20 mins to get into the Surrey Hills and about 40 mins to get into central London. I thrive on the buzz but often wonder what country living would be like......HAW on the other hand is an ex pat but was at boarding school in the far north of Scotland....he would never, ever entertain the idea of moving to a village because of this!

    Newport Pagnall is lovely...easy commute as well!!

    Good luck in the move xx

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  10. I have a friend who is emigrating to Australia in a weeks time! would be a fantastic move for the children, but not sure if i would have the courage to make such a huge step x

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  11. I've always envied you your Northern lifestyle I did not know any of this. Thanks for sharing and opening up and I wish you well with the viewings and the (fingers crossed) sale that results.
    Liska xxx

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  12. I hope you find what you are looking for x

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  13. I hope you manage to sell quickly & find somewhere that will make you all happy....Northamptonshire would be great for you to nip into London now that you're a celebrity....and still not too far away from us!
    Good luck Wendy xx

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  14. If my Megan does move down South, I couldn't bare to be that far away from both of my big kids. And just think of all those London events!! x

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  15. If Joe and Meg are both down that way, it's time for me to follow suit. x

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  16. you will have to get a swanky pad in London too!! ;-) x

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  17. Thanks Liska. This lifestyle worked for a while, but as the kids are getting older, we want more for them. It's an hour round trip to drop Ella off at the cinema to meet her friends who live in the nearest town! She doesn't want to go to sixth form at the local school which means an hour's bus ride every morning. It's all getting a bit much! Fingers crossed it all works out!! x

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  18. Country living is OK when the kids are little, but it gets more trying as they get older. Also, our village is plagued by the disaffected youth who have no prospects here. The girls get pregnant when they leave school, many of Meg's peers are on baby no.2 already! I want my kids to want more than this. I don't want to be left living here when my children have all moved away in pursuit of opportunities, culture and a better standard of life. xxx

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  19. It's a shame the ideal country dream didnt work out for you but all those things you love and wanted to experience in the country - you can in a bigger town with a little bit of forward planning so you won't miss out!
    We live in London but there are amazing marshes, woodland (Epping Forest) and fab cafes to while away hours in. I hope you manage to sell the house sharpish and get the lifestyle you want for the kids and adults too! xx

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  20. I married a farmer and live on the farm in between 3 villages. All very picturesque and a great life for the kids. However we're within 10mins drive of an ok town and close enough to Oxford/Birmingham/MK to be ok for cultural things too. However, what I miss being in at least a village, is the walking - I find walking along a rural road with a buggy boring, the fields are all the same (although a nice view at the top of the hill), I'd like to be able to walk and see things, and walk to buy stamps or a pint of milk. And it'd be nice not to be stranded when it snows.

    Good luck with selling your house. Hope you find the perfect place for you and your family.

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  21. Good luck! We're trying to move ourselves, though nowhere near as big a relocation, just a bigger house on the edge of town, rather than a little old terrace in a village that gets rougher by the week. Fingers well & truly crossed for you.

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  22. From a selfish point of view, I wouldn't want you to recolate. From a realistic point of view I think the time is probably right, after reading your blog. There would obviously be lots of advantages to you moving regarding availability to your children which, as you commented, can be a bit of a problem. Whatever you do and whenever you do it - as your Mum I can only wish you all the luck in the world.

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  23. This blog post really resonated with me. I am also a city girl having grown up in London and living the past 10 years of my life in Amsterdam. We now live in the tinie tiniest village in the UK which is so beautiful but there are days I long for the excitement, the inspiration, the culture and the buzz of a city. In fact I also recently blogged about this :) My teenage sisters also are stuck out in a little village with no bus service and all amenities about 20 minutes away and they hate it! Something for us to think about for the future too! Good luck with the move :)

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  24. In this situation relocation of house is very much necessary as living in the house which is not like the hole is waste less. To make your house best for living relocation is very much necessary. So, to lead a happy and beautiful life think for relocation.

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