Friday 24 February 2012

A rolling stone gathers no moss

I can't promise I'm back in the blogosphere for long but I felt an update was long overdue. If you have followed my blog for some time, you will know that in Home Office Mum world, things seldom stay settled for long.

This time last year we were making a major decision about whether to move to Seattle. We decided against. We decided to bloom where we were planted and make the most of where we lived. So we did. We got stuck into all manner of local initiatives and events and good causes, from being cricket club treasurer to PTA fundraiser to allotment sub-committee member. Then I decided that I needed a new career. So I sold my PR business and went on a (brief) journey to decide what I wanted to do next.

And I chose a new career - buying a franchise covering the area in which we live. If anything was going to keep us rooted, that was. Right?

Then on Boxing Day, my husband and I went for a walk across the fields. We looked at the beautiful countryside and I commented that I absolutely loved it but it would never be home to me, as home is in South Africa. I asked my husband where home was for him. He's from Barnsley. Hardly the most appealing town in Britain. He was quick to reply that it wasn't Barnsley. But after a few more quiet strides over the bumpy tracks, he said: 'But Yorkshire is.'

We continued walking along mulling our own thoughts quietly in our heads.

A few days later we went for another walk. This time my husband announced that he'd been thinking about the idea of Yorkshire again and felt he'd actually really quite like to return there.

Seriously? Further North? Even colder? Not even by the sea? But when my husband gets a bee in his bonnet, he doesn't rest until the problem is sorted. By the second week of January we were visiting schools, strolling around suburbs and walking the city walls of York.

After one flying visit, we agreed, we shall follow in the footsteps of that Grand Old Duke and move to York. Within a month, our eldest son had written entrance exams for his selected school (and been accepted), our house put on the market and moving plans put in place. What I shall do workwise is still a bit of a quandary.

Come summer, we will be swapping the rural countryside of West Berkshire for bustling city living in York. At the time of making the decision it seemed like a good idea. It still does in theory.

But when you have a perfectly lovely life, walking away from it for something which is completely different is terrifying. I have to start from scratch making friends. I won't be able to walk out my door and be in beautiful countryside. My children won't be one of 40 kids in a school, they'll be one of 400. I'll have to start building business contacts from scratch. We'll live in a far smaller house, probably with no garden vs our lovely house we have now. I'll be living in the North where people say ey up and ta luv!

Yet we had a our reasons. We'd be closer to my husband's elderly mum. We get to live in a beautiful city, renowned for its friendly people, a trait many southerners seem to have lost. We can afford private schooling there and the school is great. It's two hours to London, two hours to Edinburgh, 45 minutes to the North Yorkshire Moors, 45 minutes to the sea.

Most importantly, we just couldn't see ourselves growing old where we live. I don't know why, but we've been restless since we got here. Maybe we will always be restless. Maybe we'll never put down roots - which flies in the face of my wanting a sense of belonging. But part of me loves that we have a new adventure, with new places to explore and new people to meet.

I imagine as this year rolls on and the decision becomes more real and we have to say farewell to friends and our home, rich with memories of our children turning from babies to boys, it's going to get tough. Possibly involving tears.

But life for us is not about sitting comfortably in a spectator seat watching as the view very gradually changes over time. It's about taking risks, making our own motion picture, so that by the time the end credits roll up, it's been some fascinating viewing.