We spent yesterday in Bristol, taking in the buzz of the Harbourside Festival and catching up with friends. It made me think about how things have changed for us in the time since we left our city centre flat, 2 years ago this summer.
The decision to move to countryside suburbia was not an easy one. We were 25 and 27 at the time – it seemed like ‘settling down’, which I felt we were too young to be doing!
I thought I’d reflect on how we came to the decision….
Turns out EVERYONE wants a quirky period terrace within walking distance of the city centre. No matter that most are poky, prone to damp, have tiny paved backyards and are squashed onto narrow streets with no parking – they are fashionable. After being outbid on several properties (at least once by cash buyers intending to renovate and sell on for even more crazy ££££), we had to admit defeat.
Out here, we can afford a proper grown-up house with a garden and a driveway. Call me old but having my own parking space (we have ONE EACH!!) is a DREAM COME TRUE. Never again will I arrive home at 10pm, spend 20 mins looking for a space, find a space, try to squeeze into it, realise it is way too small even for a KA, probably dent mine/neighbour’s car, almost cry with frustration, end up parking streets away and have to carry up a ridiculous amount of stuff up 4 flights of stairs.
As well as having a cute little garden to call our own, we are on the edge of the Cotswolds. We can head out on our bikes and be surrounded by beautiful quiet countryside within minutes.
We are now just a 25 min country road drive from work. No more selfish rush-hour drivers cutting us up on roundabouts or hours spent helplessly queuing behind a motorway pile up. Now we just get caught behind the odd tractor!
Also (and I realise I sound like an estate agent here) – we are so close to the M4/M5 that popping over to Wales for the day or zipping down to London by car has never been so easy.
We’ve become more reliant on our cars. If I want to visit friends by train, I’m dependent on Boy being available to ferry me to/from the station.
If we want to go out drinking in Bristol (as we did yesterday), it’s an hour-plus bus journey. Or crash at a friend’s house and persuade them to drive us home in the morning 😎
Fewer activities (for younger people)
When we lived in the centre I used to go to various dance classes. No pole dancing on offer in suburbia – it’s line dancing or Zumba, where I’m not exactly expecting to meet potential friends at the same stage of life as me! Classes in Bath or Bristol are only a 30-40min drive, but on a week night I’m not sure I want the hassle.
Generic 90s house
After 2 years spent in a drafty, leaky (but beautiful) period flat, I should have known better – but I had my heart set on a period terrace. Victorian fireplace, lovely sash windows, lots of character… but also needing LOTS of maintenance. With our sensible heads on, we had to admit that some of the houses we loved were potential money pits.
Out here, we don’t have the choice. I can only dream of the period cottages or converted barns nearby. So, soulless housing estate here we are! But, #first world problems. We’re not just fortunate to have a roof over our heads – as young people in the UK, I know we’re very lucky to be able to buy our own place at all.
It feels like we were a bit ahead of the game – more and more friends are buying houses and moving to areas which are closer to good schools than good bars! I love our house and the little town that we’ve moved into – it suits our lifestyle perfectly. I wouldn’t rule out a move back towards Bristol, but for now I’m glad we made the jump out here 🙂