Here is our little story of how we moved from town, to the countryside in search of a rural idyll to call our own.
7 years ago this month, we moved from the wonderful hustle and bustle of Brighton, to here: A tiny ‘hamlet’ in the middle of …well… not much really. We don’t have a shop. We don’t have a pub. We don’t even have many pavements to speak of. And anything of any importance seems to be atleast a 30 minute drive away in any given direction. Round here, It’s all about the narrow lanes and the bushes; Some trees’ and some very big fields. But if you look very closely, behind its quiet façade, actually lies one of the most fabulous communities in which to raise a family in. Ever.
I totally loved Brighton – and still do – but both my husband and came to a point where living slap bang in the middle of a busy town, with all its noise, and traffic, and bins (and seagulls!) had started to make us feel really quite cooped up and hemmed in. We started to lust after greenery … and tranquillity (possibly to offset our own noisy household of children) … and parking spaces within a stone’s throw of our own house seemed like a joyous prospect to us then, too.
I guess we both just, sort of, grew up. And the clubs and pubs just didn’t hold the same allure to us anymore.
So we came to the countryside in search of the classics: better schools, a safer environment for our children, more space (both in and out of our home) and a more outdoorsy way of life too. Thinking back, I’m aware of just how bold a move it was for us to take. We were taking our family into completely unknown territory literally, and truthfully, we really had no idea if it would work out or not. Good job we’re a ballsy pair!
Although it was VERY HARD to leave our dear friends (and did I cry that day!) it made perfect sense.
Because back when we lived in sunny Brighton by the sea, we used to spend all of our weekends driving as far out of town as we could get, deep into the countryside for long walks ; to visit country pubs with roaring log fires. I remember I used to buy Country living Magazine. And I used to pour over the ‘Grow your own veg’ section, making notes and dreaming of one day gardening more than just a courtyard of slabs. I used to buy Practical Poultry magazine for god’s sake. Practical Poultry.
I wanted a dog too. You know, one of those countrified, scruffy ones that would typically go around with some kind of a pheasant slash game bird in its mouth or something, whilst scurrying about on a beautiful gravel driveway before loyally leaping into the back of the muddy car. My husband wanted a Land Rover so to pick up big “Logs” and stuff (Because I think an act such as that makes him feel just a tiny bit stronger and more manly. Grrrrr.) I think he did, and still does, like to pretend to be an actual farmer.
(we don’t have a farm)
I dreamed of having welcoming welly boots standing proudly by my front door. I wanted one of those fun boot scuffers outside too. For the mud. I reeeeeally wanted the mud. I remember thinking that the notion of keeping ‘stuff’ outside of ones house was such a novel and charming idea. We once kept my sons scooter outside the front door in Brighton for about 4 minutes. It got stolen. You cant keep stuff outside when you live in town. Not if you want to ever see it again anyway.
In my minds-eye, In our new countryside world of birdsong and dragonflies, I envisaged our children running through meadows of wild flowers, before returning home to a freshly baked Victoria sponge cake or something. Yep, I’d be wearing an apron. Probably sporting a poultry theme …
Yes, this was a full on, no holds barred countryside fairy tale dream that we were chasing.
And did we find it?
Actually, we have ticked all of those – frankly daft and silly – boxes of ours and so much more. SO much more!
I remember the first day that we woke up in our new, seemingly huge house (you definitely get more for your money out here) and on that very first morning, I watched as Mr posty arrived, he walked up our pathway with an interesting and cutsey looking publication in hand. Then I remember fondly as I picked up that first ever copy of the local ‘parish news mag’ from the doormat. As you can imagine, this was very exciting. A “parish mag” I shouted to my husband, hardly able to contain myself “Its just like Vicar of Dibley” I exclaimed as I browsed its, frankly awesome range of topics covered: from local stargazing to suggested hikes and cream-teas. This was all shockingly up my street. My new street. My new villagy street.
So, eager to learn more about this brand spanking new neighbourhood of ours, I did what most Mums would do and cut the crap and leafed straight to the crime section. ‘Gardeners Corner’ could wait …
And what did I read? What horrors awaited us?
“Man breaks into shed and steels garden secatuers” Ha! oh bless.
I mean, how sweet is that theft?
You see, the day we left Brighton, there had recently been yet another murder nearby. Which was of course very normal for a large metropolises. Murder shmurder. There was often ALL SORTS of nasty things going down, often within a block or two of our family home. We were just so used to it that crime just seemed completely normal.
So no, we weren’t too alarmed by such things and both agreed that yes – this was to be a great place! (so long as no-one is using a crack pipe before doing the school run, or after the school run for that matter, or taking part in sex slavery and trafficking then I really don’t mind the odd ‘shed’ break in. Its not going to stop me from leaving my mud scraper out, anyway.)
Well, horticultural crimes aside, since moving here, how has it turned out?
Yes, I’ve learnt to bake. Yes, I’ve got my chooks and my working dog (he never works though), I’ve got my lovely garden. My husband has his beaten up old LandRover (it’s horrible!) he picks up logs in it. In fact he doesn’t stop picking up logs. Guys: he’s obsessed with logs. I’ve got the gravel driveway that dreams were once made of (god, gravel needs a lot of weeding, doesn’t it?) and I’ve got my Vegetable patches
Ok. So I am absolutely shockingly bad at growing veg, but my cakes are to die for.
What can I say? I get the blight. EVERY YEAR!
And well, I used to keep my welly boots by the front door, standing all proud like the Queens Guard, but the spiders kept moving in, so I just bring them in now.
Otherwise, apart from my fairly shitty courgettes, it’s all turned out to be really quite dreamy here. It really has.
You see, when we picked our house, we did it solely based on the property itself, and the school nearby. We never dreamed in a million years that we would move into one of the most wonderful communities ever to be found.
There are lots of other young families living here too. And we’ve all made friends and have in turn had some truly amazing times together.
I know it sounds a bit mushy, but our friends in the village have become like family. And I love them all dearly, and their children. And their parties!
And my gosh have there been some parties!
Over the past 7 years there have been hen nights, weddings, babies, christenings, more parties, dinner parties, play dates, sleepovers, more parties, sledging, Trick or treating, school plays galore, fancy dress, carols, fetes, tears, Christmases, new pets, pub crawls, long walks, wedding dress shopping, lots of dancing in kitchens, building work and a fair few hangovers!
We are all very, VERY lucky to have landed in this wonderfully magical place. And I am super honoured to be a small part of it.
So to surmise, Do I recommend country living with a family?
How about you – Do you like living in the town or countryside? Maybe you’d like to move to quieter parts with your family too? or maybe you LOVE living in town? do share in the comments box, I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading.