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.
And here I am – a little blurry – in the kitchen reading the card the previous owners left for us.
And here in the garden, a place I’m sure will give me enormous pleasure over the coming years.
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.
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.