Saturday, 6 February 2010

Upping Sticks and Moving On

After the last post, in which I aired some of our dirty linen in public, I thought that I might be asked to pack my bags and go, but I am still here at Muddy Lane Cottage. This post is about different aspect of a long distance move.

When my husband was offered a job in Chester in April 2003, the fact that a house moved was involved was not really a problem. We had been trying to move house for three years. The problem was the 200 mile distance. My husband commuted weekly to Chester, staying in a B&B,while I stayed behind in Surrey. I had plenty to occupy myself. I worked and I had, hopefully, an impending house move to organise.

Shortly before husband started work in Chester the Iraq war began and the estate agent made mutterings about lowering the price of the house to help it sell. We resisted his mutterings. Seven years later the Iraq war and its' consequences are still rumbling on. We were lucky, within a few weeks we accepted a good offer for the house.

One weekend in June I visited Chester for the first time to see where my new home would be and to start looking for a house for us to buy. On the Saturday morning we did the rounds of all the estate agents. Over lunch we sorted out the details and in the afternoon we started to drive around some of the possible areas. It was all very new to us and we did not get very far we things. A few weeks later we looked again and decided that we would be better to rent initially, which would give us a good chance to look around the area.

The move form Surrey to Chester went fairly smoothly. Nothing got lost or broken. We had had three years to organise it, but it was at he end of the incredibly hot Summer of 2003 that we eventually moved house. I had just had to ignore the heat and get on with sorting things out in preparation for the move, otherwise we would have been far from ready when the removal men arrived. It took the removal men three days to move us. A day and a half to pack us up. Half a day to travel to Chester, then a day to unload and unpack. Finding the space for everything in the rented house was a challenge. We had estimated that we would be able to fit into it, but that it would be cosier than we were used to. Then there was the double garage that we could use for storage. When we had viewed the house, the previous tenants had had a sea of boxes in the garage. After a few days we were straight-ish.

The next challenge was to start integrating ourselves into life in Chester. Husband had taken to socialising with his work colleagues which has its limitations, especially as most of them were about half his age. I had decided that I would be a lady of leisure until we had moved into our own house. Hopefully this strategy would give me the time to find my way around the area and maybe to get to know some people. We decided to give evening classes a try. Husband went to woodwork and I went to flower arranging. We had both previously been to classes in these subject whilst living in Surrey. Woodwork was useful for getting things made but doesn't really have social side to it, whereas flower arranging has a flourishing social side and I came home, each week, with a different flower arrangement. This interest has now become a hobby, with my interest in gardening being an extension of it or maybe flower arranging is an extension of gardening. Now I regularly go to the local flower club and horticultural society in a nearby village. Slightly by accident husband has ended up on the committee of our village hall, as treasurer, for his sins. This was something that he had wanted to do along with living in a wisteria clad Victorian cottage. So he is in seventh heaven - well some of the time. Now he has a circle of committee friends plus the crowd that he plays squash with at the local health club. And one of his committee friends has now asked me to take her to flower club with me. At last we feel, as if, we are part of the community.

Now read the prequel.

28 comments:

Gilly said...

I'm so pleased you are finding interests and friends in your volage. It isn't always easy. You've done well.

Tell your husband it was by evil design on the part of other committee members to get him on, and become treasurer!! No one ever actually wants to do that job!

LindyLouMac said...

So you will be staying where you are then?

Maggie May said...

I think you sound as though you fit into the community very well.
Hoping that you do feel settled enough to stay. Moving is not easy as you get older. I don't think I could face it!

Nuts in May

Akelamalu said...

Sounds as though you fit in perfectly. It's a lovely part of the country where you live, I envy you. :)

原來 said...
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CG said...

I am glad you are becoming part of the community. I thought i'd posted on your previous post - saying that i think i would feel just as you do if I had to move "down south" lovely as it is, because "up north" is "home" - funny really. I think you're very brave and I hope everything works out for the best! x

cheshire wife said...

Gilly - he dug the hole himself by offering!

LLM - we have been here nearly six years now.

MM - you are right. Moving becomes more difficult the older you get.

Akelamalu - we have tried very hard.

CG - there are some advantages to the vilage hall committee.

Valerie said...

Your husband is a brave man taking on the treasurer's job! It sounds as if you both found your feet and getting involved in local activities was the perfect way to do it. I hope you feel more at peace now.

Rob-bear said...

My goodness; you're fitting in. This is WONDERFUL news. It's only take seven years, but it's happening.

Maybe you've finally broken out of the Liverpool-Manchester-Birmingham Triangle (first cousin to the Bermuda Triangle).

French Fancy said...

Goodness, I remember the heat of that year because it was our first summer out here and I was ready to pack my bags and move back to the UK it was so hot. Plus my elderly dad was here with us and not coping at all well with the temperature. How rotten you had to cope with that as well as the move.

It's funny how things pan out, isn't it. You there where you never thought you would be - and me here. I wonder where we will both be in ten years' time.

Alex said...

We men and our committees. Phew!

Linda said...

Crikey, I had my comment already to post then I saw Alex!!!! Where did he come from??? Now I have lost my train of thought.

cheshire wife said...

Valerie - I am not sure about husband being brave.

Rob - it's the seven year itch, I think.

FF - yes, where will we be in ten years time? Ten years ago I did not expect to be living in Cheshire.

Alex - there are ladies on the committee too.

Linda - it looks like out of a swimming pool.

Hilary said...

It sounds like things are looking up after all.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Fascinating! I have been moved eighteen months. The neighbour has spoken six times, three to moan! I would worry if I had no friends, but neighbours, like relations, you do not choose!

lakeviewer said...

It takes a bit of luck, a lot of tries,and a great attitude to make friends in a new community.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Moving is incredibly stressful but when the house you move into is where you want to be, it can also be very exciting.

CJ xx

Sandi McBride said...

I enjoyed this post so much...I think its a wonderful thing, taking classes, and flower arranging..I'd love that! I hope all is going smoothly for you and hubby!
xo
Sandi

Carol said...

Integrating yourself in a new community is one of the hardest things I've ever come across. In Bangkok it was easy as everyone was in friend making mode (all in the same boat) but it's been really difficult since we got back to the UK. I'm being persistant!

C x

cheshire wife said...

Hilary - they had to.

GOK - we have a neighbour who does not speak. We would not have chosen him!

lakeviewer - we are still trying.

CJ - you are right.

Sandi - thank you.

Carol - so am I.

Jenny said...

You sound like the kind of people who make a big effort to integrate into the community, good for you. I agree the older you get the harder it is to move or make new friends, though I have no idea why should be. Big decisions to be made I don't envy you.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

It does take time to get integrated into a completely new community and possibly is harder the older you are. But it is happening for you and it appears you are quite "at home" there now CW. I remember my daughter telling me, when she and partner first moved to Stratford on Avon, that she was in a supermarket a couple of days after they arrived there and thought to herself "what am I doing here" (meaning Stratford). Now, even though partner is with someone else, it is definitely home to her.

Alex said...

Okay time for another little post now.

cheshire wife said...

Jenny & SJA - it is integrate or become a recluse.

Alex - next post scheduled for Sunday.

Susie Vereker said...

That's good, CW. Hope you can stay after all.

cheshire wife said...

Susie - yes, we are staying.

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