Many of our blogs are about real life experiences of those who are or who have moved out of London. It's not that I want to convince you to stay but I do think you should hear both sides...so I'm delighted to be able to share this real life experience - with huge thanks to the lovely lady who has shared her story.
How We Left
In 2003 I was 9 months pregnant and fainted a couple of times when out walking the dog. My husband goes away often for work and sometimes for a week at a time. We went to Scotland for New Year and it was so liberating just opening the door and letting the dog out into the garden. I had always loved the city and never really thought about leaving London but what with my best friend leaving for Wiltshire and having a baby, Jamie being able to be based anywhere within reach of an airport I thought that maybe I could do this country move.
Jamie did all the searching for houses and narrowed it down to 3. I went to look and really wanted to buy not rent for bringing up my newborn. I fell for a chocolate box house, chocolate box village and not far from Marlborough.
So off we went at the end of June 2004 to Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire. Harry was 3 months old.
The Settling in Phase
The sun was shining and we had a sweet thatched cottage in a village with .75acres of a garden. On day one Jamie had to leave for the 5 days and I was left with a 3 month old and boxes to unpack. Reality hit.
The smell of cows came through the damp, dusty house. There was only one bathroom downstairs and the owners had taken the cooker, no dishwasher and an old fridge. The nights were very quiet with no traffic noise and even though it was summer it felt very dark.
Day 2 I had an invite to a dinner party in London. I jumped in the car and off I went at the crack of dawn. I didn't return until the last minute on the Sunday night.
Jamie and I decided we wouldn't comment on how we felt until we had given it 6 months. After 3 months I couldn't help but voice my dislike of life so far. It was lonely, boring and most of the people weren't my sort. They either were really against London or had never been to London, something I couldn't understand. It was also very near a large army base and so many of the families were from the army community and they don't really need more friends or to join in another community. The children were mostly older and therefore I was living different hours. There was a playgroup but I almost avoided going to it as they were the people dead against London.
I drove daily to Marlborough to get a normal coffee, clearly missing Starbucks, and joined the local gym which has a baby group. I met a few nice girls there but knew early on they were never going to be my best friends. I tried joining an NCT group but they had all bonded prior to having babies and loved living there so I never felt part of it.
I was introduced to one couple who I got on well with and spent as much time as possible with the wife and her son. Unlike me she loved living there and loved nothing more than not going to a shop for the day. How I missed spending £10 in the newsagents.
By November I was pregnant with number 2 and quite enjoyed closing the curtains early and nesting at home. Even though everyone says that the winter is hard in the country I didn't really mind it.
We spent most of the time doing building work and finally got it finished just before number 2 arrived. I had my second child in August and went on holiday 2 weeks later with my whole family. On the flight home from the holiday I burst into tears saying I didn't want to go back to Wootton Rivers and that I would rather go and stay with my parents.
A few days later Jamie went off for 10 days to the States and while he was away I never felt so lonely with 2 young children and knew I had to get out of Wiltshire. When Jamie arrived back I announced that we should move to Salcombe where Jamie wanted to go to in the first place and buy a flat in London.
Jamie realised that really all we could and should do was return to London. So we looked in the same patch we had left. What we didn't consider was the bubble. In London had been rising fast and the country had plateaued. We found a wreck 2 roads away from where we had left and for 6 months renovated whilst living between parents.
On return we loved catching up with everyone. The only problems we didn't think about was when we left we had one newborn and a dog that often was walked by Jamie. Now I had to walk a dog who had got used to grass and 2 young kids and a stone patio. How was I going to get the dog to the park whilst the kids were having their sleep?
Trying to find a parking space outside house with the weekly shopping and small kids asleep in car was a nightmare and as they began to grow so did the toys. Where was I going to put them all? Potty training with no downstairs loo.
So we moved again a year later to a house with a bigger garden (with grass for the dog) a downstairs loo and a playroom. We are still loving being back in London nearly 8 years on and I love being able to walk to school, nip to the Kings Road by car, train or bike etc.
Many of our friends are moving out and we have thought about it but would be doing it for the children and not us, therefore we have decided to settle in London.