27 April 2017

On moving to the countryside

I've not really written much about our house move have I? I guess there's been so much else going on that the change of scenery sort of became just that, the background. But it's been such an important move for us so I thought it was probably time to write about it.

A little earlier than this time last year we decided that we wanted to move. A house move had been on our minds for a while and we even started looking when I was pregnant with Rohan, but then everything happened and our world got turned upside down for a while so those plans were shelved. We had enough to take in that thinking about moving just wasn't possible. So we remained where we were. Then Rohan arrived and for two months our lives were consumed with hospital and not much else, until we were finally able to return home, which we did but with a mountain of extra stuff. I know babies seem to come with a hell of a lot of extra things in the normal circumstances, but add a ton of extra medical equipment to that and any extra space we had soon got swallowed up. I think this just added to the stress of the situation and we felt like we were suffocating. That house also didn't hold too many good memories for me. Yes it was our first ever house we owned, so I will always remember it, and of course we did have good memories there, but on the whole it leaves a slight bitter taste in my mouth to look back. I reminds me of heartbreak and feeling awful. I went through two first trimesters in that house, full of sickness and not being able to get out of bed some days, to be followed by miscarriage where again my bed seemed the only place I wanted to be. Then of course we found out I fell pregnant for the second time and I endured the first trimester feeling much the same as last time, to get safely through. Then our world exploded and once again I spent time in bed where uncontrollable sobs took over. You know how the rest of that story goes.

Once we finally had Rohan home and settled into our new life with a baby, a baby with additional needs and equipment, it soon became apparent that our need for moving was still there. I think I quickly realised that along with coming to terms with how our lives had changed, the future I had imagined suddenly looked so different. I didn't want to be haunted constantly of memories of the way things should have been. We needed a change.

We didn't initially think about leaving Bristol, we looked at quote a few houses near us, but nothing was really right. We'd talked before about living outside of Bristol, getting a bit more for our money elsewhere. I grew up in a small town and lived in the countryside, and whilst I love Bristol, I always felt that actually I would be really happy living just outside of it. Rob on the other hand had grown up in Bristol, and returned there after University, so for him I think a complete change was appealing too. One day I think I just did a wider search of the whole of Bristol and surrounding areas to see what was available and a house came up, not too far away, still commutable to Bristol, but in a village, in the countryside. It would mean a whole change of school and services for Rohan, but we thought "why not" and booked to see it. In the meantime we had put our house on the market and managed to sell it within a week, thank you crazy Bristol housing market.

We went to see the house not long after in late March and fell in love. I've often heard that thing where houses just feel right and you know it's the place, but I've not really experienced it before. When we've been renting we just had to find the most suitable place and get in there quick, without much thought about if the house particularly speaks to you. Our first house was more of a 'good as we're going to get' situation, and whilst it was exciting and we felt very lucky to be able to buy our first place, I didn't love it. There was so much to do and as we went along and did it up we realised that there was still so much more to do on it to get it to where we would like, but what with Rohan coming along and everything that brought with it there was no way we could put the time and money into it like we needed to. So when we found this house, that didn't need any work, was the right size and feel, we just knew that we should go for it. We walked around the village after the viewing and just fell in love. I remember sitting in the park that is just a short walk from the house, in the peaceful early Spring sunshine and just thinking "I could live here".

It was a long old journey from there, we had to wait for the sellers to find somewhere to buy, which took all Summer, then we had to arrange changing schools, then we were delayed a further three months with hold ups further up the chain. I don't think we anticipated how stressful it would be. In that time we looked at other houses, just in case it all fell through, but however many we saw nothing compared to this one. It's like our hearts had made up their minds and were set. Which is a good sign I suppose. Thankfully it seemed as though everyone else in the chain were as set and determined to see it through to the end as we were, and miraculously after nine months wait nobody backed out and we finally exchanged and completed (four days before Christmas!)


We had to move Theo school of course and for me this was one of the biggest worries. How would he react to being moved and starting out all over again, leaving his friends he'd had since nursery, leaving the city where he'd grown up, but every time we spoke about it with him he seemed happy and understood and was excited to live in the countryside. It was a big move for me too, I was so worried about starting a fresh, making new friends and leaving my old ones. Even though we're not that far it's still a step into the unknown again, with a whole new school to navigate. To be honest I feel like I'm still only just getting there, but I know I'm so glad we're here.

There haven't been many moments where I've thought I wish we were still in Bristol, perhaps maybe for a potter down Gloucester road, or being further away from the many decent pizza places (even though our wallets and waistlines might be happier!). I perhaps think it would be nice to see my old friends a little more, but Rohan's diary keeps me pretty busy wherever we are. But there are so many reasons that I constantly feel thankful and happy about, being in the village. The views, the fresh air, how most things we need are just a short walk away, a great pub, friendly people, more space etc. I think we've managed to find replacements for everything we had and used in Bristol (I panicked suddenly when my MOT was due and we had to find somewhere, luckily we did and they even picked up and dropped my car off again for me!) I've been slowly finding more things to do for myself including running and a netball group. I've been taken along to the local baby and toddler group, which whilst was daunting at first has been really good to go to as it gets me out the house and meeting other local mums. Everything just feels a bit calmer and less overrun. I think it suits us.

Even though right now life is pretty stressful, I think being here and in this house makes it a little less so. I feel safe and comfortable here (figuratively and literally...we used to live across the road from drug dealers who had a few police raids...) being home and dealing with all we have to with Rohan feels better, and being able to return here after hard times in hospital makes it all the more worth it. We are happy just being here, going for walks and exploring the places near us. I feel like we made the right decision. We've only been here four months, but I feel we've settled in pretty well. Bristol will always have a special place in my heart, it's where we both my children were born, and the longest I have lived anywhere other than where I grew up. I have so many cherished memories of my days of becoming a mother and bringing up Theo there, and I'm happy for all we experienced there. But now it's a new chapter, a new place to call home and we couldn't be happier to be here.


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