In November 2009 I made the decision to move. This wasn’t going to be a down the road move, this was going to be away from an area I had known all my life, all 40+ years of it.
I was living in a town that my grandparents had lived in, where my father had grown up which was all of 5 miles from where I grew up and my parents had lived. The house I had bought as a 25 year old I had then owned for 19 years.
My daughter had been born whilst living there, we had had and lost pets whilst living there, I had suffered severe and at times suicidal depression whilst living there. I had home educated my daughter there, been well off financially briefly and almost broke during those years.
When my daughter was 2, we had moved out of the house for a few months, back in with my parents, whilst the house was ripped to bits. That was a trying time and I don’t recommend moving back in with parents when you left home many years previously and then have a family of your own.
There were a lot of memories in that house. So the decision to move wasn’t taken lightly. But both my parents had died, my relationship had come to an end and my daughter was reaching the end of her home education, ready to start college.
Initially I wanted to move north, to Yorkshire, but the stroppy teenager I now had wasn’t having any of that. So we moved south west, as a compromise. The plan was to go to Devon but for various reasons we ended up in Somerset where she went to college and we settled down to make a life for ourselves. Us, the dog, the cat and 2 horses.
Leaving the house wasn’t the heartache I thought it was going to be but then again, life hadn’t been going well for a while before so I was glad to be heading to pastures new. Leaving the nieghbours I had known for just shy of 20 years turned out to be much harder. Tears flowed in some cases and most were very very sad to see us leave.
Since moving down here 7.5years go, I have lived in 8 different homes with a period of almost 6 months abroad in amongst that. One might say that I’ve not settled. And I really haven’t. I haven’t found anywhere that truly feels like home.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Somerset, it is a beautiful county, as is Devon and Dorset around us. Whilst I love that Somerset is made up of so many little towns and large villages with small populations there are some downsides.
I grew up in a city then moved to a large town between two cities, surrounded by excellent road and rail links. Derbyshire is the most landlocked county in the country but is also pretty much equidistant to N, S, E & W.
If I couldn’t get what I needed in our town, within 20 mins I could be in an out of town retail park which had exactly what I wanted. Here isn’t the same and I have come to rely more and more heavily on internet shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I loathe shopping but there are times when you want what you want NOW and by that I mean you want to nip to the shops to pick it up. The internet is fabulous but there is something to be said for brick and mortar retail.
I also miss the great road infrastructure and public transport which is appalling here. Where I live in particular it’s terrible but save for living in Taunton, public transport in the county isn’t brilliant and it’s quite expensive.
I have been back to my home town since moving down here; it was 2 years after we moved that I had to return to the general area so of course I detoured to my old street and town. My first reaction was “oh dear lord how did I live here so long!” and on my return to Somerset later that day, I was thrilled to be surrounded by so much countryside and not the noise of the city.
Since then though I have spent time in cities and even 3 days in Paris, during which my daughter said I seemed my most relaxed since moving, made me stop and think. Yes Paris is noisy, as is any big city, but I loved there being a metro station on every corner or a bus stop with regular cheap buses which go everywhere you might even think about going. I loved having the shops on hand too. Same with London.
I often think about our house and miss it more than I probably should though I suspect this is very much a view through rose tinted glasses. I know for sure that I wouldn’t want to move back there. But it does make me think.
Did I move too hastily, did I think it through sufficiently? Did I believe that moving would delete the past and give us the fresh new start away from the sadness and everything else we were supposedly leaving behind?
We really didn’t know Somerset at all when we chose to move here; it was a place we drove through on the motorway towards Cornwall to visit friends. Hand on heart I can honestly say that if we’d spent time here, we probably wouldn’t have moved here. I think we would have moved to another city within the midlands and not down to the rural south west.
Which is all food for thought. I’ve known for a while, quite a long while if I’m honest, that it is time to move on from here and back to a city. Where that will be who knows. As much as I love being in the countryside, it’s a joy to visit but perhaps not for me to live in. And maybe, as I get older, being in a city with good public transport, shops, facilities, healthcare etc is a better option.