Tag Archives: move

Journey to a New Life – Part One

It has been a long time since the last blog post, as access to the server was patchy at best, non-existent at worst.? Thank Orange France – another story for another day.

There have been many changes to family life in the last five months.? We have found, negotiated, bought and moved into a house in France.? This wasn’t the original intention but looking for the right house, at the right price, in the right area had been nine months of fruitless searching.? First, the market just seemed flat.? We had looked in ever increasing circle until we were even considering the West Country.? This would, however, have been at least a five hour drive – six, if you add an hour’s break which, at our age would be required – from any family and this was not an attractive prospect.? Even so, anywhere we could afford was in an isolated position or so small that we would have been uncomfortable.? And we had sold our house, so the clock was ticking.

Map of the Pas de Calais

So we ended up in France.? Not a big city like Paris or Rheims.? Not a wine region (although that would have been cool) but a small village of less than seven hundred people, nestling in the Pas de Calais.? It is still, very much, a farming/rural community but that doesn’t mean we will be keeping cows.? Chickens, perhaps, and the odd duck, but nothing large and potentially dangerous.? Or that needs milking.

So when we decided that we would make this move, we started looking at one storey ex-farmhouses (fermettes) – thinking ahead to the years of our dotage.? We looked at lots online and then actually viewed some, but they were all in worse condition than they appeared in the photos.? On top of that, because they were constructed using a certain type and length of tree trunk for the roof beams, they were only ever ‘so’ wide, with one room running into another or a corridor running the length of the building.? The first option made the rooms less private and the second made them smaller.

Front of the house

Then we saw Our House.? To begin with, it is three storeys, the top one being a loft conversion up to a possible thirteen years old. It was offered with six bedrooms, two bathrooms and a downstairs cloakroom, kitchen, salon (posh lounge) and salle (day to day lounge)/dining room.? It also has cellar and a range of outbuildings, as well as a half acre (about 2200 sq.m.) of garden. When we first saw the details it was way out of our range but, within a month, it had come down to a reasonable (for us) price and we agreed a deal with the owners.? So, here we are.

The house was actually built as the mayor’s house, by the mayor, in 1908.? His granddaughter lives next door in the house he built for his mother.? The house has quite a history and there are tantalisingly interesting stories abut the property that will be uncovered, I hope in due course.? We shall all have to wait for that.


I think we have wheels!

When you are young and enthusiastic, it is an adventure to move into your first home.? The one you have bought and will furnish to your own taste.? The one that you will stay in, bring your children and grandchildren home to.? The garden you will tend, change and adapt, according to the age of your children and your ability to look after it.? The neighbours you will come to be close to and rely on, in both your years as young parents and later, when you may need more support.

In your dreams!? It used to be like that, in the days of our grandparents, but the tendency today – and for some time past – is to go where the work is or to move to ‘a better area’ for the sake of your growing family.? We are the best examples of this that I know.? When we married, we moved to the Potteries – the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, to be precise.? We bought a large, Victorian house in a village and set down roots.? We worked, played, made new friends and lived life to the full.? We had hoped that this would be our home for some years but fate was to intervene – for only the first time of many.

Disillusioned with work, Hubby decided to look for a better job and this took us a long way south to Maidenhead, in Berkshire.? As I was teaching, it was relatively easy for me to find another job, which I did.? Move number 1.? So, two years after we had moved in, we sold and moved out of our house, and into rented accommodation.? We needed a base to look for a house to buy and this seemed the best idea.? All our furniture went into storage and we went into a ground floor maisonette.

One year later, we found a house to buy.? We both had good salaries, so were very lucky with a mortgage.? We filled in all the form, dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the ‘t’s and prepared to move.? Then I found that I was pregnant.? Luckily, this didn’t really impact on our moving.? We had to be more careful but all went ahead and I was lucky enough not to have to return to work whilst having a baby at home.? We were in that house for five years.? Move number 2.? After our son had been born, Hubby moved jobs again to Hampshire and we moved house again.? Move number 3.

All went well until one year – 1986 – we had the worst summer EVER.? We made a decision to go to warmer climes and ended up in Italy, where we stayed on a campsite, in a huge RV, for eight months, whilst finding somewhere to live.? Move number 4.? We found an apartment whilst Hubby continued to work in Milan and stayed there for a year.? Move number 5.

Then Hubby moved jobs – he was contracting – to Turin.? We moved there and stayed on another campsite in the RV whilst we found a house to buy.? Move number 6.? We found a house and moved in – Move number 7.? After some happy years here, employment dried up for Hubby and we moved back to England – Move number 8.? Eventually, we moved from Stratford-upon-Avon to Tolworth, South London – Move number 9.? After that, to two short-term addresses near Epsom (Moves number 10 & 11), Carshalton Beeches (Move number 12), Carshalton – a few miles up the road from the previous address (Move number 13) and finally to another address in Carshalton, where we bought once again. ?Move number 14.? After nearly forty years of marriage, we are now about to move for what I hope will be the last time.

At this point, I think it should be stated that I hate moving house.? I hate the build up, where you have to sort your things out and throw stuff away, just so that you can fit into the new square metreage? (Oooo – new word?).? I hate the thought of having to find another suitable home in a suitable area.? I hate the idea that you both have to agree on a property in the first place, making the process longer.? (The upside to that is that you should get a balanced view on anything you see.)? I hate that people come in to your home and probably criticise the very things that you’ve gone to great lengths to do in order to make the place look attractive – no proof of this, of course; maybe I’m a bit insecure!

So here we are again on the merry-go-round.? I’m sure it will all work out just fine.? It usually does.? With any luck I will have lost weight and not raised my blood pressure too much by the end of this process.? We shall see and – as they say – watch this space.