Wow! It was two years ago that we made the decision that the time had come to escape the madness of London and move to a life less hectic, with more space and a better lifestyle. It only took roughly 3 months from start to finish but in that time the key question needed answering – where to?
It was a chicken and an egg situation (only there were several eggs in the equation). Three components were competing for top priority – the house, the school and the husband’s commute. All equally important and needing serious consideration.
Highlighter Pens and Post It Notes
This seemingly impossible conundrum however, all fell into place over time through using large scale maps, colourful post-it notes and highlighters (so much fun in WHsmiths) to colour code the various key parts of our move, i.e.trains stations with regularity and length of travel, motorways, schools to be looked at etc. We narrowed the area down by looking at feasible commute distances and potential schools for our 2 boys, then ages 3 and 5. The boys and I spent most of June and July on the M3 – cruise controlling on the 50 mph speed limit.
We must have viewed 50 plus houses, each of which had their facilities tested by one or both of my boys – got a bit embarrassing – but a great way to find out about dodgy pipes.
Finding the dream home
It is true that you don’t know what you are looking for until you find it. Prior to stumbling across the house we are in now, I fell in love with a lovely village house bursting with character – we lost to another bidder and I was momentarily gutted – however, hindsight is a valuable thing – the wonderful character would have given my tall husband a splitting headache each day as he stooped to get downstairs under beams without scalping himself. Also the space just wasn’t there. Call me fickle, but it didn’t take long to move on and it just so happened that we managed to view a property before it hit the market – well if I thought I was smitten with the previous place – this was something else altogether. On first viewing, I was literally hyperventilating. Me to husband ‘If we get this house, I will be such a happy wife – forever!’ On the second viewing, we put in an offer. A bit like finding a husband – when you know you know and despite a few hiccups, which did their best to give me a cardiac arrest and made us sorely tempted to slip a couple of stinky kippers down the back of our London house radiators due to naughty buyers … But by the end of the summer, we had finally exchanged.
Living in a pub
Following the exchange it all became rather a blur and suddenly we had rather a lot to do. In addition, we weren’t able to complete on our new house until after the boys new school term started. So we decided that the boys and I would say our good byes to our home of 8 years ahead of the Hubby and move to Hampshire and into a pub! For 3 nights our address was The Wellington Arms, the boys had cooked breakfasts each morning before I smartened them up ready for the start of their new school, new life, new everything. I was so proud of both of them.
My husband’s commute takes him 1 hour from Hook station – he is always able to get a seat. Although it was a massive change for him from his 15 mins Earlsfield – Vauxhall commute – there is no way that he would go back to the way things were. Of course there are things and lots of people we miss, but we really have embraced the country life.
We harvest our apples and are going to try juicing them this year, we have chickens and quails and I can honestly say that it was the best thing we ever did. The idea of a quieter slower paced life has not materialised, we are crazy and hectic and the diary is bursting with new friends and activities just as it should be. Newnham Village is by far and away my favourite place to be – it still makes my heart flutter and I would highly recommend a change of scene to anyone.