To be honest dear Reader, I hate to admit it but I have felt a little blue this week. With the sale on the cottage moving forward, leaving London has actually become a reality. One would have thought that I would be leaping from The Shard (well metaphorically speaking of course) and I am….but….the prospect of moving, both thrills and terrifies me all at the same time. I can honestly say that I will be sad to say goodbye to our little home. I am an awful creature of habit and lately have been wondering how on earth I might do without all the things that I have become so accustomed to and are readily available to me, living in the Big Smoke. Sitting in a rather fashionable tapas bar in South Ken. with my oldest chum, Perdy, I was instantly reminded of some of the things that I would be giving up moving to the sticks. For example, where else but in Kensington can one wear a fur without looking conspicuous?! Sans children (a rarity these days) and talking of the old haunts of our youth with Perdy over a glass of fizz, bottle of red and several cocktails, I felt a strong magnetic force attracting me to the pavements of town. Cheered by the memory of London times past, I skipped into the cottage at midnight just before the black cab turned into a pumpkin and my dress back into a housecoat.
Waking the next day, Jerry expressed concerns that perhaps I was not ready to change my townie habits and live a quieter life in the countryside. I pondered this for a moment with a pounding head. Not ready for the countryside – what?! I already own the ubiquitous Barbour, mud-blotched wellies, stylish country hat and was about to book a day’s shooting (and cake eating!) with the lovely club of Ladies Shooting (@LadiesShooting) for my birthday! I have made passable chutney and even learned how to bake a loaf of bread! Cranford could not hope for a better arrival in the village! What on earth did Jerry mean I wasn’t ready for the good life?! Outraged, I rang my dear Mamma and the same sentiment was echoed by my darling parents who both thought that my love of handbag boutiques, journeys in black cabs and late night suppers in swanky restaurants would not be compatible with a life in the countryside. I have no idea how this impression might have been formed….and anyway, one might apportion some of the blame to one’s parents for instilling such levels of luxury expectation!
Sadly, I have to confess that my love affair with town and all things luxury began some time ago. Jerry and I are spoilt in our little corner of suburbia with all kinds of treats available on our doorstep: wine, cheese, bread, a wonderful little bookshop, baby boutiques, a designer shoe emporium, delicatessens galore and even a French traiteur. Guaranteed, it also has the one and only Londis in the country to sell artisanal produce and truffle oil! I can remember that when Primrose arrived, I spent the first few months pushing her in a bouncy Silver Cross number, heading to local yummy mummy meccas and tea salons, developing a rather expensive taste for honey lattés and cashmere babygros. Only in SW London would children be offered ‘babyccinos’…….
The ease of life in the suburbs of London had enveloped me with the comforting embrace of a downy duvet and I had taken to it like a duck to water. Maybe Jerry was right? How would I manage? Dashing out for a pint of milk or a loaf of bread in the future, might well mean ten minutes wrestling the girls into the car before driving to the nearest village shop or supermarket a few miles away. Weekday impromptu suppers with dear friends shall become a thing of the past and no doubt, I will have to trade in all pairs of heels and French Sole pumps for gumboots in various colours. Gone too, will be trips to the local library and morning walks to nursery school. Child-friendly gastropubs will be exchanged for sitting in village pub beer gardens, watching the girls clambering over rusty climbing frames and diving into mudpies. Perhaps one of the most catastrophic losses in the move (the very mention of this one brings on hyperventilation) will be my beloved hairdresser. Dear Reader, I do not have to tell YOU the importance of the perfect hairdresser who cuts and styles one’s hair just so. It took me 4 years of bad haircuts and seriously dreadful layering before I found the holy grail of hairdressing. Even now, I am loathe to give the name and number of said hair cutting fairy godmother to friends, lest they steal precious appointments! Living with the loss of my coiffeuse, thank goodness Jerry saw fit to give me the gift of a coffee machine so that I can still indulge in my daily caffeine habit and swoosh my own skinny ‘cappu’ in the mornings once we live beyond the outer edges of café civilisation.
With all these trappings of the Big Smoke a thing of the past in 5 months’ time, one might be forgiven for thinking that the grass was most definitely not greener in the countryside. Somehow though….moving feels instinctively the right thing to do. Views of farmland, wildlife on the doorstep, game fairs and county shows, farmers’ markets and taking the dog out for a walk in the early morning mists…..I think that I could give up London for all of that. Dragging dear Mamma, Primrose and Poppy to a farmhouse surrounded by fields, only to find that it was damp from top to bottom and had 2ft of water in the cellar, I found that nothing could stifle my overwhelming desire for a country life. Primrose ran round the garden with careless abandon, whooping with delight at the vast expanse of grass and for a moment, I too, was lost in an idyllic rural reverie. I envisaged tending a kitchen garden, cooked imaginary kitchen suppers beside the Aga and basked in the light from the floor to ceiling windows hitting the parquet floor in the dining room. It was only when Mamma pointed out moist wallpaper and mouldy carpets (not to mention a bathroom reminiscent of a Victorian outhouse and farm lorries clattering down the track in front of the farmhouse drive) that I made my apologies to the estate manager. So is the countryside grass greener? Well I for one, am game enough to give it a go! This Margot is definitely ready for a taste of the good life. Now if you could just find me a new home, dear Reader, I would be most grateful! Preferably one that isn’t under water!
Oh Margot, what an adventure you have ahead of you! Having seen various friends do the ‘big move’ over the last few years, I’d say it is a blessing you are yet to find your new house. Rent first, buy when you know the picture postcard village you’ve moved to isn’t inhabited by people who make you want to jump from the Shard (in a bad way). Me, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of moving out, but having done a reconnaissance mission with OH this summer, we are staying put in our lovely village in London, the one with the fancy fishmongers, Ginger Pig butchers and assorted babyccino serving cafes!!
Definitely renting. Looked at 6 houses so far and none of them right so…fingers crossed something will come up! Oooh I know your village! Ginger Pig is a thing of wonder!!
I just found your blog via Britmums, and it sounds fascinating. I’m sure moving out will be scary and daunting, but also exciting and new and completely different. We’re based in London but will probably have to also move soon (due to house prices and general space issues) so the ‘big move’ is something that’s on my mind too. Who knows where next though?!
Really looking forward to it. Fingers crossed, we find a house to move in to! No luck as yet!
My children are quote au fait with the babyccino. To the point of ordering with or without marshmallow.