Long long ago, in a city far away, two stressed, pale-faced 20-something souls racked up their ninety-billionth hour of commuting. Heads down into that endless trudge and march of workers streaming in and out of town. Hours of tube and escalator journeys, all carefully orchestrated for optimal timing and minimum interaction. There had to be more to life than this.
Our escape at the weekend was Cornwall. Waking up at 5 in the morning on Saturday to head down the M4, M5 and then, with a sigh of relief and a 2 hour gasp of anticipation, the A30. We would happily drive 5 hours in our tiny, rattly Nova, just to get a big lung full of bracing sea air standing on the cliffs at Gwithian. A short stay over in St Ives and then back again. A30, M5, M4. It was worth it every damn time.
Noses back to the grindstone on Monday. Screensavers of Porthmeor Beach and Godrevy Lighthouse. Work colleagues asking where on earth did you get a tan from in 2 days? Well actually it is wind burn and we only saw Cornish liquid sunshine, but yes we do look so much better for it!
Back in the pub. The one in Hampstead that serves Proper Job and Cornish Rattler. And one very drunk conversation. “So do you want kids?” ” Umm, not if it means bringing them up here. I don’t want to bring kids up in London. The schools are frankly quite terrifying”.
” Okay…so where would you have kids?”
Our visits to Cornwall changed from that point. They started to become crazy, frenetic reccies. We visited places where we would like to live, places where we could afford to live, places where we really really wouldn’t ever want to live. Tiny hamlets where the sea fog rolled in. Big towns that felt terribly run down. Rural farm houses that quite frankly scared the city willies out of us! And we of course had the ultimate dream: would we ever afford a room with a view of the sea?
We started to plan. I gave up my “big wig city job” (which involved wearing power suits, heels and expensive makeup and being a bit shouty). I knew that in order for us to live where we ideally would like, we would have to make our own work. So, in 2005 I went about setting up an online business. I will admit, I got very lucky. It worked and grew into a business just about successful enough to support the both of us. Without this, I’m not sure we would have ever had the courage to take the plunge and move to Cornwall.
In 2010, a year after we got married, I fell pregnant. I suddenly panicked, I couldn’t run the business AND look after a new born baby. This was the big push we needed. My other half gave in his notice, we put our house up for sale and began house hunting in Cornwall with grim determination.
In hindsight, we should probably have saved ourselves a lot of heart ache and petrol money and just rented for a while. But we were determined to find a house for our baby. Most of the houses we liked, we could not afford. All of the houses we could afford we just didn’t like.
We wanted a couple of things. It must be walkable to the beach. It must have a garden. It must have parking. And it must have a teeny tiny view of the sea.
After viewing our eleventy-billion crazily priced house in St Ives, we were walking away when my other half said, why don’t houses like that ever come up for sale, nodding at a beautiful, white square house with a red front door. He must have had some sort of sixth sense, as the next week it was there on Right Move. Yes, behind the facade it was a wreck. Yes it needed sooo much work doing to it. But…it was walkable to the beach, it had a lovely garden, it had lots of parking and…it has a sea view from upstairs. AND WE COULD JUST ABOUT AFFORD IT.
To put our dream house into perspective. On moving day, our movers felt sorry for us. They could not believe we had moved from such a lovely, neat and tidy house in London into a complete and utter wreck. The wallpaper was peeling from the walls, the carpets were sticky, and worst of all it was riddled with fleas and stank of cat wee. However, we loved it and saw it as work in progress. And so our new life in Cornwall began…
Are you planning on making the move to Cornwall? Tell us all about it!
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