Monday, 11 May 2009

Unsettled, unsure and undecided


I'm agonising. I've lived in this house for 27 years next month, after 4+ years in a flat nearby. And I had only moved to Newcastle for 2 years, small son in tow, never intending to stay here, but career, marriage and a mortgage intervened to pin me down. And then I began to think I would move away once I retired. Two years ago....

But I have to tackle this moving thing, and soon. I rattle around in this tall thin house, now empty of family, and a magnet for clutter and hoarded possessions, and I take no advantage at all of living in a city that I have never liked - I shop in local supermarkets or online, I walk in what is the nearest thing to countryside or woodland, Jesmond Dene, and as most of my friends remain at work, I see no more of them than I did when I too held down a job. I could transfer my life to pretty much anywhere, really, if the house and setting were right.

For the past year I've been sorting out the house, with building and renovation work, and am now on the last stretch of painting and decorating. If I could get my clutter cleared once and for all, I could consider myself ready to move, but so far had thought it not a clever thing to do while the housing market continues to stagnate.

The dilemma for me is that for years I have had no idea where I should move to next. I belong nowhere, thanks to a typical Army family upbringing and boarding school, and my very small family is scattered - Glasgow, London, New Jersey. Where I would really like to live, Australia, won't have me, because I'm too old and not wealthy enough. (I know, so unfair!) I considered the Scottish Borders instead - not at all like Australia, but with its own charms.

To add to the dilemma was the sustained opposition from friends and the Lovely Son; no one would visit me, they said, I would be isolated, it was bleak in winter, there was nothing to do, I would DIE there! Why didn't I move nearer to them instead? Harrumph..... moving house was going to be super-stressful.

Then I happened to click on the house picture on exmoor jane's blog, and lo! there was my ideal house, Georgian, with garden, in a lovely little town close to beautiful countryside - just in a part of the country that I don't know at all and can't judge at this distance. The house may already be sold, but it set me thinking, and a lot of questions have come up, such as whose life is it anyway? I might be around for another 40 years, and need to live somewhere that I choose for myself, not for other people, although they, of course, would always have a warm welcome and encouragement to visit often. But if I don't make a start soon, another year will have gone by, and the dawdling, prevaricating, dithering uncertainty will not be resolved.

So now I must knuckle down. First step: get the last Room of Shame tackled. This is the small attic room, with a mountain of glass and paraphenalia from the stained glass enthusiasm of a couple of years ago (yes, I'll pick it up again some day!), bookshelves, a large mahogany tallboy of the type known in Scotland as a Scotch press, that I can't bear to part with, despite one of its twirly turned pillar things being badly chewed by a wicked dog, and a collection of handbags that I never use now that I don't wear smart clothes. I'm not sure I ever wore smart clothes really, just clothes that were slightly smarter than the Worzel Gummidge look that I favour these days.

Second step: finish the decorating. The decorator is already booked to start next week - the kitchen, and thankfully only one freestanding dresser to empty and shift - and knows that there will be another couple of rooms after that. Step three: research areas I hadn't thought of or visited before, and decide on a place to start property hunting when the time comes. Step four: market and sell this house, that I have so loved for so many years. And somewhere in there is the telling of friends and Lovely Son, the fielding of responses, the staying resolute.

Easy. I wish I didn't feel so scared about it. I should have moved after two years as intended; it would have been so much simpler.

11 comments:

Exmoorjane said...

Turn your back on Scotland and come down to the West Country - it's warm and friendly and just lovely. Bampton is a great little town but there are others equally charming, including my own hometown Dulverton..... Go on, you know you want to really....you saw that post on my blog for a reason...
Anyhow, would be lovely to have you for a neighbour!
Courage! Life is for living....
Janexx

PG said...

You should definitely, absolutely treat this part of your life as your own. And who knows, if you do go down there, maybe we will bump into each other, as we are aiming to move to North Devon, where most of our friends seem to be. I have another lovely friend who is a stained glasscraftswoman and she is moving soon to a cottage in next-door North Somerset...I can feel my networking tentacles moving!
(I have to confess, I hated Newcastle...I have never felt the urge to return there at all).
I come from Devon and it is the best place in the world. I am even abandoning the Cotswolds for it. I am so excited for you - feel the fear and do it anyway, as they say!

Rachel said...

Life is for living. That's exactly what Lesley said when I told her I just had to move, as another of her friends succumbed suddenly to cancer. There's no time to waste in fruitless vacillation. The West Country shall be researched; I shall be thoughtful but decisive, how's that? Stand by for questions!

liZZie said...

Hallooooo! I am the person PG alludes to. There's going to be a whole clutch of us in the south west at this rate. I am in fact moving to West Somerset in the northern part to be precise, on the very edge of Exmoor, but I tell everyone I'm moving to Exmoor 'cos that sounds so wonderful but I'm too scaredy cat and middle-aged to live in a remote place. I can relate to a great deal of what you say. Following head and heart is possible.

Susan said...

I think it sounds very exciting, well deserved and it actually sounds to me like you're totally ready for it. Much love from the Gang across the seas.

mountainear said...

Hang on, hang on. Everybody knows that Shropshire is God's own county...

We moved here nearly 6 years ago after 30 years in Manchester. Wish we'd done it decades ago. We now see more of of our friends and family - i guess we are a destination and potential weekend break.

Hope you find the place of your dreams - don't chicken out. The cats will love it!

Rachel said...

Somerset (West, northern part of)? Devon? Exmoor? Shropshire? Aaaaaarrrggghhhh!!!! My geography is so poor, I shall have to look at a map to understand any of this. But it's nice to be so encouraged onwards and upwards, thank you.

BumbleVee said...

oooh.... an adventure! Absolutely.. get going!!! have a look 'round and choose your own favourite place. Don't move somewhere for anybody but you though... because, really, in the end, the only person we can rely on is ourselves. I always say I daren't put my eggs in anybody else's basket... just can't chance it....

Pherenike said...

How exciting though... you have so many possibilities!

Worzel Gummidge? LOL I had long forgotten about Worzel. Claim to Fame: a friend of mine was in an episode of that show... somewhere in the background...

Ive come to realise there will never be a perfect time to do most things, you just have to do them anyway.

Charlotte said...

I think maybe Seaton Burn, we have a nature reserve! x

KittyB said...

I do love the North, but I would move to the Cotswolds or Devosetshire at the drop of a hat...

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