Monday, 3 July 2017

On a mission.

More accurately, we are part way through a mission - which is to find somewhere else to live. Over the past decade or so we arrived at a tacit understanding that having spent more time than we ever imagined living 1000 feet up on a cold wet Pennine, when we finally retired we would move. However, life does not always go to plan and both of us were retired prematurely thanks to George Osborne's public sector cuts. With Gill's dad living in the Northeast and our children settled in the South, then living in the middle, a four hour drive from each, made sense. So we stayed put for half the time and wandered the byways of Southern Europe for the remainder. All the while we hatched half baked moving plans that we had no actual intention of implementing. Here's a few: 
  1. Stay in the North Midlands, but buy a new house in a development in Ashbourne, Stone or Uttoxeter (dismissed as insufficiently different). 
  2. Wales is nice, (true, but we are English and if we wanted to move to another country, might not Spain have slightly better weather?) 
  3. What about Shropshire/Worcestershire​/Herefordshire/Gloucestershire....(We visited them all, hmmm, a bit Middle Englandish and a tad Tory) 
  4. Lincoln is lovely...and inexpensive. (too much of a Ukip heartland.) 
  5. We like Bristol (can't afford it and too old to adjust to urban living). 
  6. So what about nearby - North Somerset, Frome, Wells...(could be a contender). 
  7. Kent! handy for the ferry! (really busy and prices rocketing). 
  8. Milton Keynes is an unappreciated 20th century gem..(kids vowed never to visit us if we even mentioned it again). And so it went on. 
In the first three months of this year we spent most of the time in the Northeast​ caring for Gill's Dad. In between hospital visiting hours we managed some time to ourselves, often walking along the protected coastline between South Shields and Sunderland. At some point we arrived at a more definite conclusion as regards 'where next'. Wherever​ we finally settled upon had to be near the sea.

The mouth of the Tyne

South Shields Pier Head

Sarah and Rob - at South Shields

The cliffs near Souter lighthouse
This is hardly surprising; look at the map of our recent travels, it shows a definite preference for coasts. Furthermore, we both grew up a few miles from the sea, our favourite places are mainly ports or islands. Why did it take us so long to chance upon this plan?

Since then we have searched specific areas on Rightmove to try to work out some locations to explore in earnest - the Suffolk coast and North Devon around Barnstaple are both possibilities we have decided, which explains why we are parked in a field near Felixstowe with plans next week to park in a different field near Barnstaple. In between we will be visiting a forest near Marlborough, not because we want to live there, simply as a stopover in-between. Expect field reports on each place - tomorrow, the delights of Folkestone.

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