If You’re Dreaming of England …

If you’re living in some far-flung corner of the world and dreaming of England, I know how you feel. I spent about a year feeling homesick before I told my husband how I felt, and then two more before we finally made it home. So I know about the nights spent lying awake picturing the English countryside, and the hours spent searching online or in stores for decent imported chocolate and tea, and most of all, the time spent looking at properties on Rightmove.com.

I think Rightmove.com is the crack cocaine of the homesick ex-Pat. Here we can indulge all our fantasies of beamed ceilings and wood-burning stoves and agas to our heart’s content. And every now and then, we find the perfect property and our heart lifts until we remember that we’re actually living thousands of miles away, and for whatever reason, we can’t – as yet although hope springs eternal and maybe one day – go home.

But if that’s you, I want to show you these photos. Because I am living proof that things can change. (And I hate posting my photo, but in this case it had to be done). On Tuesday of this week, we went to pick up the keys of our new house. The house I thought we’d never have. Because we had to sell a house in New York, and then get back, and find a place to rent, and get the cats back, and somehow navigate a mortgage, and then find a house we loved that we could afford … honestly there just seemed to be so many hurdles that it all seemed like a pipe dream.

And yet here I am, outside the estate agents in Skipton holding en envelope that contains the keys to my new home. A home I love more than I can tell you, a home I can’t really believe is mine.

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And here I am – a little blurry – in the kitchen reading the card the previous owners left for us.

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And here in the garden, a place I’m sure will give me enormous pleasure over the coming years.

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The house is lovely and the garden is great – but it’s the location that makes me pinch myself to see if I’m really dreaming.

Here are some pictures, all taken within a few hundred feet of the house, to try and explain why I feel that way.

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I totally get why this might not be your idea of heaven. I know it’s a little bit mad to live out in the wilds with sheep for neighbours. I have a close friend who would struggle to breathe if she wasn’t ten feet from a supermarket and a railway station. But we’re only ten minutes from a decent-sized town and 40 minutes from a big city and yet when we step outside our front door, all we can hear are the birds tweeting and the stream running by.

I feel so lucky that I don’t even have the words.

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24 thoughts on “If You’re Dreaming of England …

  1. We really couldn’t be more happy for you both. Can’t wait to look around your new village and house. Love Dave & Deb

    • Thanks Dave. First order of business after we move in is to get the guest room over the garage sorted. Then we can have you to stay and show you round 🙂

  2. A Huge Congrats! Let’s hope lots of HAPPY memories are to be made whilst you live in your own little piece of “English Heaven”

  3. Enjoy! Your happiness is so well deserved 🙂

    You won’t know, but your posts to the expat forum over the years helped keep me firmly focused on my own goal to return home. Like you I am home at last, even though sometimes the whole move seemed deeply rooted in the “too hard” category. Your regular posts showed me that no obstacle was insurmountable…even the initially reluctant DH!

    Don’t you just love that joy, that starts at the tip of your toes and comes bursting out all over before you know it? To be home is a truly wondrous thing. And we come home with an appreciation for it that perhaps only the expat can know. We’re richer for that I think.

    …and I also think that sheep make very fine neighbours indeed. My neighbours are similarly woolly 🙂

    • Maggi, how nice to hear from you and amazing to hear from someone who shares my appreciation for being back. We are definitely richer than when we left, and if that’s all we gained from leaving, it’s no small thing 🙂 What part of the country did you return to?

  4. You write so perfectly of the heartache us Britons living abroad sometimes feel still. We plan to move home, as you did, in April 2014 or thereabouts. Setting a deadline is crucial, I think, to get us up off our arses. Fingers firmly crossed.

  5. Well, I’m an American but I’ve wanted to live in England for so long now, that I *do* know how you feel. I don’t blame you for wanting to be home again. Then, there’s that beautiful house of yours! Wow. That’s always been a dream of mine, too, but I’ll never own a house. 😦 Louise, I’m so happy that you’ve gotten what you wanted. Please just keep posting pics so I can live through you. I think it’s wonderful now, but when everything is green, it will truly be a wonderland. Enjoy your nest!

  6. I know what you mean about Rightmove.co! It’s the first thing I check every morning, looking for my dream house in the Peak District of Derbyshire where my parents are from, and where my uncle and cousins still farm. I love a couple of places in the US–New York City, and Boston–but my heart is in England. Last year I got there, if only for a year. But it was one of the best years of my life, and I’m going back when Rightmove gives me what I need! Take a look: http://theyearoflivingenglishly.wordpress.com/about/
    Virginia Smith

  7. Congratulations on getting into your lovely house 🙂
    I’ll probably never make it back, I’m in NZ with 3 grown up kids, don’t think I could leave them but I would soooo like to return home.
    Looking at your pics makes me very homesick.

  8. Congratulations on your new home! Hope you will be very happy…and I am sure you will. After 19 years in mid-west USA we will be moving back later this year…haven’t sold our house yet but the flights are booked! It will be wonderful to be home in time for Christmas…we cannot wait! Meanwhile we are enjoying your photos…you are giving us loads of inspiration for things to do when we return…thank you!

    • Oh congrats on the big move! You have the best time ahead of you – those first few months when everything is both new and totally familiar and when you just feel joy every time you wake up and realize where you are. Can’t beat it!

  9. Thank you for sharing pictures of your lovely new home. Hope for those of us still dreaming of making the move, all the best with you move. I wish you much happiness.

  10. Hi Louise, I found your blog on the Expats website and have followed your journey with interest and envy.
    I have lived in Australia for 44 years and have been homesick for most of that time, your blog enables me to continue to at least dream of what could one day be my life, thank you.

    • Peggy, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re homesick. I know how hard that is. I hope your dream comes true one day too.

  11. I like stories with happy endings! Thanks for sharing yours. It is a source of encouragement for many people in many countries.

    Thanks,

    Pete
    Calgary

  12. Your house is lovely – and so is the view! I am just in love with that high ceiling an stone wall in the kitchen, too! You chose a beautiful and tranquil setting to live in – ever so peaceful 🙂 I can’t wait to see more of your new house 😀

  13. Congratulations to you both. I have followed your posts avidly here and on BE. You look so happy and relaxed. The house location looks absolutely fantastic. I’m beginning my own journey soon and after a period of initial renting hope to be doing the very same thing. Enjoy….

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