A-hunting we will go

Lacock bakeryRiver in LacockI’m just back from a long weekend in Wiltshire, once again looking at our dream house to try and force us into a decision about whether we’re really going to sell up in London and head for the countryside…

We seem to be almost chronically unable to finally make the decision – torn between the idea of raising the kids in a bucolic idyll (there really is land for that alpaca herd that I’ve been dreaming of all these years) and the convenience, culture and fabulous diversity that is life in London.

On the one hand, we’re already a bit cramped where we are now. Every day when I walk out of the front door with the pram, I crash into one or other child, or the walls, or a pair of shoes that’s been left lying around, and swear under my breath, desperate to go somewhere with more space for two active boys to run around.

My husband and I both grew up in the countryside and always had the tacit understanding that we wanted to raise our kids the same way. Fields, cows and grubby knees, not tower blocks, exhaust fumes and savvy five-year-old tube aficionados.

But every time we think “”That’s it! We’re definitely going to go now!” I remember all the really great stuff about London and get terrified about leaving it behind.

House in LacockPub in Lacock

Where we live now, we’re a two minute walk from an amazing park, five minutes on the bus from the fantastic Horniman museum (where we go every week) and within a mile from our house are three great primary schools, probably 50 good cafés, an arthouse cinema, endless excellent independent shops, another amazing London park and… … oh, you get the picture, the list goes on.

Our local school is a brief stroll from our house and I’m already friends with people I just happen to see when they’re doing the school run every morning. I worry about giving that up for a drive to school each day, wrangling the kids into their car seats, never getting any fresh air or bumping into people.

My sister and her family live ten minutes from us now, my other sister in the centre of London and my brother an hour or so south. Does the promise of a bigger house and garden make up for the lack of family close by?

And – far more importantly – would I change the name of this blog if I no longer live in London?!

These, my friends, are just some of the endless debates that keep me awake at night, my brain ticking over and over, treading the same paths and reaching no conclusion.

Ford in Lacock

But our visit this weekend was the third to our dream house, already strung out over a couple of months. It’s time to bite the bullet and make a decision.

I’ll let you know what we decide.

(All pics here are not from the actual place we’re planning on buying, nor of the house itself because, y’know, this is the internet, but of the nearby and very beautiful Lacock that we had a good mooch around on a drizzly Sunday…)

PS. I had another post written for posting later this week to introduce you to our chickens. But *gulps and tries not to sob* a fox came and snatched Nero yesterday and ran off with her before I could catch up with it. I am feeling rather ridiculously traumatised by the whole thing and want to cry every time I see the other two chickens wandering around calling for her. (The sproglet, however, has taken it very much in his stride and said to them, “she’s gone, girls, she’s not coming back. The fox took her and eated her all up…” so I guess that’s one good thing at least!) Anyway, I will have to re-write it to, sniff sniff, only introduce you to the two still living, but look out for a lot of chicken chat in the next week or so.

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13 thoughts on “A-hunting we will go

  1. I am the gal who moved to the country and then had the children. I thought that my soul would die without culture and food. It didn’t.That being said, my country scenario is a town in the middle of fields where the school bus picks my kid up in front of the house. If you rely on your family or there’s no one around for 20 miles, that’s going too native when you’re stuck at home with the kids. Until they’re maybe bigger. Community is so important when you need help. But may I say that I’d sell my left lung to live in a town as adorable as the one you showed. Surely there’s hip like-minded people like you and your husband who are there doing the same as you. Talk to them!
    And I’m terribly sorry about your Nero. And exactly why I could never do it.
    Love to You Sabrina,
    Shalagh

    1. Ah it’s lovely to hear of everyone having a great time in the country! The house we’re looking at is a 15 min walk outside a very sweet historic market town, and also a 20 min drive from Bath, so it’s not really in the middle of nowhere — it will just feel like such a big change after being in London for the entirety of my adult life. And I do still LOVE London, but I think for the kids, right now, the country would be better. Plus, we’ll actually be loads closer to my husband’s family, which will be great too.

      Thanks for thoughts on Nero. Oh dear, I was so sad it was ridiculous!

  2. Since I dream of living in the English countryside (but am stuck in urban America, because that’s where I was born and it’s hard to move to Europe without being a citizen), I’d say GO!

    We picked up and moved from a very busy city to a smaller city that feels like a small town so we could have more nature around for our kidlets. We’ve never been happier. We hadn’t realized how stressed we were and how just constantly BUSY our life felt until we left it all behind. We’re so much calmer and happier these days.

    And we don’t much miss the wider choice of museums, culture, restaurants, etc. (Life just transitions to school things and weekend sports as kids get older anyways.) I bet there are also lots of historic homes, estates, and gardens to visit in the countryside as well! I’ve been salivating over 1940’s style working farms on Instagram and blogs lately. (“Remembering the Old Ways” is a good one!)

    With family in London, you’d still have a perfect excuse for trips back to do fun things with the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sounds like best of both worlds to me!

    1. That’s really lovely to hear, thank you for taking the time to comment. Yes, I’d been thinking about how once school takes over, that’s pretty much it. Not really time for wandering around coffee shops and art galleries any more! The oldest is due to start in September, which is really making the decision to move now for us (and perhaps why I’m finding it so hard to decide as I’m not sure *I* am ready yet!)

      A 1940s style working farm sounds just about my idea of absolute heaven! I am going to go and check out that blog straight away…

      1. Should’ve clarified that the blog author doesn’t live on a farm – she lives in a pre-1741 thatched cottage with a lovely garden! – but she visits 1940’s working farms and 1940’s fairs and the like. Good teatime recipes too!

  3. Sorry to hear about your chickens 😦 We moved from a busy town to the countryside just over two years now. Although we live in a village, we are a short drive from a town. We love it here. Yes there are the occasional days where we miss just being able to walk into town but living where we do brings us a lot of happiness and that outweighs everything else. Some of the best bits for us are the peacefulness, fresh air, community and our local farm shop. I’m sure you’ll make the right decision, so go with your gut. Hopefully my comment will reassure you if you choose the country life!

    1. Ah, thank you, that is very reassuring to hear. I’m sure we would love it, it’s just always that niggling fear about house prices in London meaning that even if you *did* want to move back you could only ever afford the garage opposite the house you used to live in, ha ha.

  4. I used to be such a devout Londoner but since we’ve moved to the countryside I couldn’t imagine living there again. I did love where we last lived in London – your very neighbourhood. (In fact for a while we lived in The Elms on the corner of your favourite park 🙂 !! ) Foxes were a nightmare there and I was always having to clean off our sweetheart of a dog who’d roll in their ‘poo’ after they’d been in our garden. So sorry to hear about your chicken xx

    1. You lived in the actual house The Elms?! The one that’s now a nursery in basically the nicest building in the world?! I have fallen to the ground in disbelief (and envy!)

      It’s so good to hear from everyone who has moved out and is much happier. Fingers crossed we’re one of those ones too!

  5. Oh my, children never cease to make you laugh do they. Better that than utterly distraught though. I’m wishing you luck with your decision, I agree it’s a tricky one. It’s good that you’re thoroughly weighing it all up though. There’s plenty of good in each place. Lovely to see Lacock, it’s somewhere I really enjoy. CJ xx

  6. It seemed like your mind was made up on Escape to the Country! Did you end up buying the £950K house in the end? X

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