Relocating to Cornwall - Part 3. Finding 'The One'
I have commented in previous posts about how some of my friends and family thought my husband and I had suddenly taken leave of our senses when we told them of our plans to say goodbye to the town we knew so well and had grown up in, in order to pursue our dream life in Cornwall.
For some, Cornwall is just a sleepy backwater that people go to on holiday or have a second home / holiday home in. Either way, for most; there is a general consensus that you don’t give up your successful careers in the city to move there permanently. Not at least until you’ve retired and certainly not when you're in the cusp of youth. Well, middle age adulthood.
For those who truly believe that, I’m very sorry to say this blog isn’t for you.
Of course I understand your point of view, and quite possibly your fears for believing such, but for me it really wasn’t that much of a big deal.
What I’m saying is, you need to reach a point in life when you’re tired of trudging along on life’s treadmill. Tired enough to want to… no, NEED to get off.
So here we were, having screamed we didn’t want to go any faster, in deepest, darkest Cornwall.
Part of our remit for relocating was to find a new home with some form of revenue generator attached. We weren’t fussy and looked at all manner of options… café’s, caravan parks, shops, holiday rentals… All possibilities were a contender.
We’d spent years recalling our fantasy about owning a little café overlooking the beach. Filling the bellies of hungry tourists with cream teas and generally spending life in a pair of well-lived-in flip flops. Pawing over such prospects in magazines or wishing our life away whilst watching ‘Escape to the Country’. That was the dream, or at least one version of it…
The reality; as always; is quite different and after several months of keeping an eye on properties in the local. Separating the wheat from the chaff. We finally narrowed down our search to around 40 properties that looked like they might make a good home and have some form of revenue earner attached.
We eagerly booked some time off from our busy jobs, jumped in the car and headed down the M5 with much anticipation.
It really was a very manic few days, crammed with viewing as many properties as we could in each precious day.
My excruciatingly stoic organisational skills came in very handy here and I was able to liaise with local estate agents with ease and co-ordinate viewings based on geographic location and price range. I really was in my element.
We were serious about moving to Cornwall and prepared to scour the whole of the county to find as near to the perfect place as was possible.
I still recall the sense of dread I could hear in the local agent’s voices when they knew it was me on the end of the phone, enquiring yet again about something on their books... ‘Hello, Tamar from Bradley and Bingle speaking…. Oh (groan), Mrs. Taylor… It’s you again… Didn’t we speak just a few days ago…’
It was an exhausting time for all concerned but we soon became super-efficient at making our mind up about a property and moving on if it didn’t tick our boxes. We would literally walk through the door and within minutes of being there, knew whether or not it was for us.
By day four we were storming through viewings and started to compile a very agreeable shortlist of ‘high-po’s’. For any of you in the business of HR reading this (no doubt day dreaming of your escape from the toils of human capital management), you will know this as ‘people, or as I used it in these circumstances, homes that exhibit high potential’.
We didn’t mind if the place needed a bit of work or a little investment. For us it was about identifying a reasonably good home with added business benefits.
By the end of our ten days, we had shortlisted three properties all with holiday cottages either attached, nearby or within the surrounding land.
All were barn conversions set within fabulous Cornish countryside. The first came with an annex and was available at a good price but suffered from extensive damp, a rather nasty case of rogue wood worm and needed a lot of money spending on it.
The second was over budget, had one holiday cottage, an annex ripe for conversion and 17 acres of sprawling Cornish farmland. My husband particularly liked this one and I could see he had grandeur designs of becoming Lord of the Lordy Lord Manor.
The third, offered a beautiful home and nearby holiday cottage, an acre of land, walking distance to the village pub and the beach, all at a fairly reasonable price. It just needed a little TLC.
It was a no brainer. I knew as we were driving down the narrow country lane that the third property was somehow going to be exactly what we were looking for.
Isn’t it strange how sometimes you automatically know that.
It was so quiet. So peaceful. Surrounded by farmland and undulating lush green countryside with views of the deep blue expanse of sea down the valley. I remember thinking as I peered over the hedgerows, how wonderful it must be to live here.
It was July, the hazy height of summer. The air was fresh and I could feel the cool salty breeze of the ocean on my face. I recall looking towards the horizon and watching the sunlight winking through the gaps in a copse of trees, like it was about to share a well-kept secret.
We arrived at the property, parked-up and I turned to survey the house and its surroundings. A warm fuzzy sensation rippled down by spine. Time seemed to standstill - just for a second. I knew immediately this was our new home.
My husband also recalls a similar feeling but blames it on the Vindaloo he'd feverishly tucked into the night before.
He often asks how I knew this was going to be our new home at that precise moment. My honest answer is; I don’t really know. I just did. Everything about that exact instant felt right. Felt perfect.
As we walked through the house, moving from room to room, I pictured us living there.
I could see our imaginary spaniel frolicking in the garden, bum in air whilst it snorted through the bushes looking for pheasant. I could see me cooking up a storm in the kitchen with cheeks flushed as red and as rosy as Cider apples from the heat of the old Aga. I could see the exact spot in the lounge where our beloved couch would live and where my husband would pick and declare his own after a busy day in the garden. I could see the perfect corner for our would-be chickens in that same garden, clucking and scratching at the dry earth, trying to source a tasty morsel or two. I could envisage our raised vegetable beds, bursting with produce, majestic in all their lush, ripe glory. I could visualise converting part of the old barn / shed into a workshop where I would lovingly restore furniture for my business.
It was a vision to behold and one I had stored at the back of my brain all these years.
A place I transported myself back to when on the jam-packed airless underground at rush hour or walking through the city on a dreary, commuter filled day, dodging puddles and umbrella prongs.
A place that I packed my imaginary self-off to on the days when my illness got the better of me.
I recall the feeling of the hairs tingling on the back of my neck. That magic moment of such clear lucidity where you can see the next ten or twenty years happily mapped out like a veritable ordnance survey in front of you.
I turned to my husband and whispered very quietly in his ear, so the estate agent wouldn’t hear, ‘we’ve found her’, ‘we don’t need to look any more’, ‘this is the one’.
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