With thanks to Judit who runs the website Monster Yarns for her input on moving house. Judit moved to Bedford and learnt from her experience - she has been kind enough to share her tips here.
As city dwellers, born and bred, my husband and I considered moving to the country a number of times during our married life. You know, vaguely dipping in-and-out of estate agents’ windows whilst gently salivating over pretty rural property. In reality we were very comfortable with our short commutes to work, friends and family dotted around the city and of course, an address book filled with the essentials of life – a reliable plumber, builder, decorator, carpenter, paediatrician etc. We agreed, if we needed to move for our sons’ schooling, we would. So when the time came, the decision was fast. We were moving to Bedford. The reality of irretrievably uprooting four people’s lives was not simple. This is what I learnt from the experience.
- Be clear in your own mind what it is you want – rural idyll, town life or a mixture. As we were moving for school and I was going to have to commute, that decision was very easy for us. In case you’re wavering, ask yourself the question – do you want to get in your car each time you’ve run out of milk/bread/baby formula? If the answer is an overwhelming NO, then stick to a town location or at least a nice village with a local shop.
- Talk to absolutely everyone about different areas/streets to live in. After all, the three things you should consider when you’re buying property is Location, Location and Location. We were very fortunate as the school secretary was a mine of useful local knowledge that she generously shared with us. Perhaps also take the precaution of taking a late night drive around the street/house you are considering.
- Leave your city persona behind. Without exception, I have found people kinder, more welcoming and polite and yes, more laid back. Since you’ve made the decision to move, assimilate.
- It is difficult to live in a community which you are not part of during the day. I’m not a huge sports/fitness fan and I also want to limit my sons prescribing my social life - mixing with just parents can be a bit boring. So initially I floundered on how to meet people. However a few months in, I set up a local knitting group as there just wasn’t one near by. I’ve been running that now for two years and I have met a lovely group of women of all age groups. I’m loving it and it’s a totally different thing from my day job. This isn’t everyone cup of tea, but the point is, be creative in how you meet people, it will pay off.
- Embrace your commute. I spent the first year fighting it and what a waste of energy that was. My journey is long, expensive and a notable minority of my fellow commuters are rude/smelly/loud or in some instance all three. This year, in secret, I have come to relish some of the journey. It is a bit of thinking time. Me time. I have seen stunning sights of Nature waking, of powdery snow rolling over gently undulating farmland, curling fog over lakes, silver frost on trees, rabbits, deer, sunrise and sunset in orange, pink and violet and red. I have no photos to prove it but glimpses of such scenes gives me peace. Given, I may be sitting next to the lady who insist on brushing her long her, whilst giggling into her phone, applying make up and eating smelly food all at the same time, but if she spreads into my space, she is likely to get a sharp jab from a knitting needle.
Enjoy your new life. You’ve earned it.