Moving Day

Moving day.

Actually, more accurately described as ‘jump the gun day’ because we had convinced the ex-husband-of-the-deceased-vendor-to-persuade-the-executor’s-solicitor to let us have access to the property before payment was fully made.

Partially overwrought with excitement, partially in state of shock, but mostly, exhausted by the anxiety of the whole acquisition process, my wife and myself and the boys sat down in the evening amongst an ocean of unopened boxes and scattered cushions and heaved a collective sigh.

I’d like to say now how we had ear to ear grins and hugged each other and chatted excitedly about the big move.

I’d like to say that. But in truth the ‘will it happen/wont it happen’ nature of buying property in Wales meant we had burnt ourselves out and we sat, feeling a little flat, contemplating which beds we should build for the approaching night.
Cae Gwyn_moving in 29Aug
What would tomorrow bring? Luckily, we learnt that a good night’s sleep in the fresh dark silence of the countryside can work wonders…

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When is a decision not a decision?

Cae Gwyn_dressing salon vegetation


Some decisions are made after carefully weighing the pros and cons.

Some are made by the heart and validated by the mind using clever justifications.

And some, well they happen in an infinitesimal blink of an eye – and are simply inescapable.

Seeing Cae Gwyn was like that. It ticked all the boxes, except somehow in this case we didn’t even know what many of those boxes were – Go live in the countryside. Refurbish 19th century stone buildings. Harden up for demanding physical work.  Send the boys to a Welsh language immersion school. Adjust from terraced home to acres of pastureland between houses…

Those decisions, the ones you never see coming, well they always seem to indicate big changes afoot. And its not like the house purchase was easy and it was ‘meant to be’.

But purchase we did.

Next…my god what have we done!

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Cae Gwyn

Unloved home seeking rowdy family to house and feed…

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A third way…(cont’)

Can you really plan adventures(a contradiction in terms?).

I don’t know many people who could carefully plan new directions for their middle life decades….it’s more a case of being open to possibilities – no matter how unexpected – as they fall across your path. And inevitably being open minded means more possibilities will pop up.

Our possibility hit us between the eyes one day while we were out house hunting. Somewhat disillusioned by the whole home buying process, we had low expectations as we drove with an agent down a byway and through some unkempt gates to see…a proud Georgian country home. This looked promising.

Although unoccupied for 2 years, the home was in reasonable nick….ignoring the pervasive damp and the jungle masquerading as the orchard. More importantly it had wonderfully proportioned rooms – not a huge number mind you: some quite grand, some quite intimate, and most sharing the huge view into the Vale of Clwyd (which richly deserves its designation as an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’).
The previous owners had done a major refurb in the 90’s and made some wise additions, but the 90’s décor – complete with sponge finish wallpaper and acres of halogen downlights – was a bit of a worry.

But of more interest were the outbuildings: a large ex-farm building and garage; ridiculously cute bothy (traditional workers sleepout); old stone stable block with tack room; stallion stable and storage room with loft room above; adjoining new stables with open box.

Now, in our central London (N1) 2-up/2-down we couldn’t have swung a cat in most rooms, and an outbuilding was unheard of. But who cared, London was on our doorstep and offered so much. The possibility of moving to something of this scale was intimidating, well beyond anything we had contemplated. Was this home the ‘possibility’ we had to be open to?

Next….what to do?

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A third way OR how in god’s name did we ever end up in North Wales!

Wellies at front door bathed in soft sunset

Wellies at front door bathed in soft sunset

You may know them.

People who come into the world with every day of their coming lives carefully set out – planning their career while still in the womb, marrying their high school sweet heart, eating the same cut lunch every day, slouching in the same seat for every commute.

I can’t honestly say we are like this, or have many friends like this.

Other people get swept along by life, never planning anything and falling into life scenarios by chance and circumstance – and never staying put for very long.

We lie somewhere between these two, exactly where is hard to tell.

So what? Well, we have been inspired by marvellous friends who have made plans for middle life adventures. Who will shift to exotic places with fabulous food and culture – well, they will do once the kids leave home and the bungalow is sold up.

This got us thinking. What if life isn’t just: fraught teenage years…lively 20’s…the settling down decade of the 30’s with marriage and kids…the more mellow 40’s…the progressively ‘calmer’ decades of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

What if you had gone to university rather late and done a degree that set your mind racing? What if you had somehow ended up in London in your mid-30’s and been seduced by all it had to offer? What if you had married and had children in your 40’s (loving the experience and all it threw at you)….could you really resign yourself to a quiet decline into middle age?

How about deciding each decade could be an adventure, each decade could be a new experience.

What adventures would you choose…how would you go about it?

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