We met with Sarah on a cloudy May day to chat about her move to the country. Sarah and her husband moved to the countryside 11 years ago from London and now have two lovely daughters and a son, a dog, cat and four chickens.
Why did you decide to move?
We wanted to start a family and knew that we wanted to do that out of London. As soon as we moved in I became pregnant so the plan worked!
How did you come to choose this area?
We both knew Rutland because we were both at school here and it was a good half way house between our parents. It also seemed a good central location, easy to get anywhere in the country. The prime concern was the commute for my husband who works in London every day. We knew the train line from Peterborough to Kings Cross was good and fast (50mins) and that made this area viable so we spread our search west of Peterborough. We did spend quite a few weekends on trips to various areas to get a feel for them. On one of these weekends we did fall for Stamford and all the beautiful stone villages west of there. We eventually found a sweet little cottage in this lovely village and moved in. The same month I became pregnant with our first daughter.
Was it what you expected?
We definitely moved up with a “city” mentality in that it was an escape from London. We both initially commuted. We didn’t have much interest in mixing with the village and kept ourselves to ourselves. We treated it more like a holiday house and we weren’t ready to put down roots properly and embed ourselves in the village. We did have a classic first weekend when we realized quite late we didn’t have any food in the house and used to the 24hour culture in London were shocked to find no shops open in our local town. For some reason, we weren’t very well orientated at this stage; we ended up in Peterborough at a service station buying pasta at 9 o’clock on a Saturday night. I then decided a freezer and plenty of supplies were a must!
What impact did the move have on your family?
The positives of moving were the joy of walking out of our front door into beautiful countryside and pub lunches in country pubs with roaring fires. The happy surprise of no traffic jams, relaxed shopping in a market town rather than a bun fight at Waitrose on the King’s Road and the peace and quiet at night with only the sound of sheep, cows and the combine harvesters during harvest. It definitely makes you so much more aware of the seasons and we spent so much time outdoors.
What have you discovered to be the joys and challenges of country living?
Life is very different now with three children and we moved 6 years ago to another village which is an amazing community. There are loads of young families and like minded people, everyone helps each other out and the children are known and know most people. There is a school bus to school and a pub, church and pre-school. We love it here and feel so lucky our children are growing up in such a great community with other people looking out for them, friends to play with, village activities and a sense of belonging. We feel all these things are priceless. We have a dog which is now a great opportunity to get the children out and walking and great family time either on bikes or foot. We love going to Norfolk which is close and last weekend popped up to Bolsover Castle and next our son has football in Birmingham, all achievable in under 2hours.
If you were to do it again what would you do differently & why?
I may have moved up slightly later. I did find it tough having a new baby and being so isolated from my friends in London and initially it is hard to meet people although I luckily made a great friend through NCT classes and my husband met an old university friend who had moved up to the area who we became great friends with. Funnily enough when your baby is very little there are not many opportunities to meet new friends and you are too tired to try!