I hadn’t imagined that we would be the people who moved across the road. It had always struck me growing up how odd it was that we lived just two streets away from the house my parents bought before my sister was born – I peered suspiciously into the drive as we passed wondering whether a little more distance would be more comfortable.
Now with children just a little older that we were for that first move, it feels easy to understand.
The place we live – half publess village, half offshoot of the nearby town – is warm and comfortable, full of familiar faces, walkable to preschool, infants, juniors & high school, just about near enough to the train to London. I’m not sure suburbia can be paradise but for what we have in the way of money, and what we need in terms of practicalities even the estate agents we discussed moving with couldn’t find a better suggestion. Paradise or not, there is a place in my heart for our leafy half village, and the people we and our children know and will know for the next 10-15-20 years. And so we stay.
The house across the street was on a list at one time, a once lost list – found again a few weeks after our offer was accepted. Along with six others it was picked out in a moment of optimistic imagination, under the heading of ‘houses to move to in the village’. Arguably, the criteria to make the list – the existence or possibility of a fourth bedroom, a decent sized garden & being in the heart of the village – could usefully have been applied 3 years ago when we bought our first house here … but it seems unwise to dwell on that for too long!
Nick’s love of where we live does not burn as brightly as mine. I’ve had the benefit of a maternity leave here, and a chance to meet the interesting, funny and kind women whose children play and learn with ours. For a country boy, the thought of moving within the village, from one suburban 1920s semi to another did not fill him with excitement. We’d always promised ourselves a big project, and have very nearly bought two wrecks over the years, staying where we we were felt like a compromise – albeit a practical one he was willing to make. Then we found the house across the street.
A probate sale, last lived in by an 100 year old man, original almost everything, a garden backing on to the park, with potential for all the space we need. So after a friendly tip off from another mum, a handwritten note through the door, and a little back and forth this house which was never even advertised for sale is soon to be ours.
And so it begins.