24 September 2018

Escape to the country – one year on

Remarkably, a year has flown by since we uprooted the family and moved from London to Hampshire.

Thankfully, the children have settled well into their new school and we have all enjoyed living in our new village. Of course, finding the perfect home is what I do for a day job. But I have learnt three key things during the past year, which are worth passing on to anyone considering a shift from town to country.

Firstly, the location of your village is paramount. Everyone wants a happy husband and his commute into town is very important. It takes mine just under an hour on the train, on a really good line with few delays. But the key for him is the five-minute drive from front door to parking at the station. He’s exceptionally lucky as that’s hardly any time at all in the car but we generally say to clients that any longer than a 20-minute drive, on top of the train journey, can make life pretty grim.

Secondly, the village itself is all-important. Our neighbours are welcoming and kind, and we have made some really lovely friends. This summer has been special: watching the World Cup, enjoying the sunny weather and glorious bank holiday weekend. So many villages look pretty when you drive through them but there needs to be plenty going on for people at the same life stage as you, or life will be pretty lonely.

Thirdly, a dog is essential. We are now a family of five with the arrival of Minnie, a miniature Dachshund. If you have a dog in the country, people will talk to you. A dog walk is such a social event, gifting me inside info, such as who’s on the move and what’s going on. From a practical point of view, I can check out various houses from footpaths and Mini can join me on a tour of the garden of a prospective property, assuming a friendly agent, of course. 

The Aga has had to be switched on early to accommodate the dog (she sleeps next to it) and I have to be more organised than ever (no nipping to the corner shop for a pint of milk). But I am heaving a big sigh of relief that the move to the country has been an unqualified success.