We made the move from the suburbs of Surrey, just a 20 minute train journey away from the wonderful (if slightly stinky) London to live amongst sheep, tractors, bunnies and birdsong in the middle of the country. We are now an hour and a half train journey away from London but a £100 return ticket instead of £16. I think I can safely say the honeymoon period is over. Not in a bad way but in a ‘we do actually really live here now and there’s no going back’ kinda way.
Initially it felt like we were on holiday; a converted barn, log fires, country walks, climbing peaks, bunnies in the garden, hares in the fields, owls twit terwoo-ing in the tree outside the house, country pubs and gin & tonics, friends visiting all the time. The visitors have certainly tailed off. That trip around the M25 and those M1 road works when you have a car full of children screaming/puking but you’re not even at Watford Gap can take the shine off things a little bit as the two-hour journey seeps into a four-hour road trip from hell.
The weather lulled me into a false sense of security last summer. This year, so far, I have worn short sleeves and sandals once. ONCE! That might not bother me so much if it wasn’t for the modern day net curtains that is Facebook. Oh, how I sometimes curse Facebook, and not just because of the constant barrage of lost dogs or animals without skin pictures. As much as it’s great seeing friends and family from far away, I feel I have become Hyacinth Bucket. Hiding behind the polyester nets that could do with a wash, twitching them, then saying to the husband, “Oh, such and such are in Hyde Park London having a picnic eating strawberry ice cream with sprinkles wearing (gasps) SHORTS! So and so are at The Shard taking photos of the BLUE sky drinking Champagne, oh and you know blah de blah, well they’re …” Not that I’m trying to keep up with the Joneses. How can I when they are currently on vacation in Seattle? The lucky blighters.
Only for me it really isn’t about social climbing, like it was for Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet). Honest. It’s just in ye olden days when you moved house, you moved to a new area and never looked back, unless you went for a return visit. You found out what people were up to via a yearly circular that came at Christmas. Now I can see my kids old school friends are at the circus, my friends are happily out eating curries without me 200 miles away (I mean, can you believe their life didn’t come to a complete standstill when I moved? Nah, me neither), and on a day when the River Thames is looking particularly spectacular with the sun going down on it and there are friends enjoying a Pimms outside a pub on the riverbank, I’m sat shivering in front of my much adored log fire…that is starting to lose its appeal because we’re in JUNE!
When you’re trying to settle in a new place, Facebook flings pictures at you that could make even the hardiest person crumble. And they just keep coming like a carrot on a stick dangling menacingly with an eerie voice saying, ‘Ooh look what you could be doing, but instead you’re warming your back on that fire again aren’t you?’ Yes I am. It’s bloody cold. I know, I know, it’s all about looking forward and not back, and in the wise words of my fave little pocket rocket Dolly Parton, if you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain and we’re certainly not short of that up here…
Facebook in the olden days