by Verity Payne
After happily whiling away time in the big smoke with my partner, our daughter came along, and with that the realisation that our finances would not align with the lifestyle we'd envisaged.
We loved the vibrant variety that London offered but we yearned for space at home, a garden and some green around us. Reducing the financial pressure was another goal; our rent was comparable with a mortgage repayment. We'd also had enough of uprooting at the whim of a landlord and craved some sort of security.
We had two options. To remain in London, we'd need to find a new place to rent as our landlord wanted to move back in and we didn't stand a chance of being able to buy. However, rents had become astronomical and we'd be better off contributing that cash towards an actual mortgage.
Our other option was to move to a more affordable area. But where?
We started the search based loosely upon proximity to the grandparents – no more than two hours away from either set. Then we thought about what we wanted to do when we got there. Presumably we'd want to be gadding about in all of that space. Paces near large expanses of water or forests were top of the list.
This is when we discovered the wonders of Google's yellow man - Street View! He obediently marched around hundreds of streets, tootled up rugged roads and meandered past countless prospective houses. If only there'd been a site like findahood.com back then, that Yellow Man would have had a much easier time.
After a few house viewings, our minds had become a little more focused.
Steps leading up to the front door are a bad idea with a buggy, having no shop in the village is a no-no, checking out the broadband speeds and mobile phone reception was a must-do, checking whether grocery deliveries are possible to your address was also key. We also learned that the form of heating, whether oil or gas was a consideration.
We eventually happened upon Beccles, a small sleepy town along the river Waveney in Suffolk. We've now been here for two years and have graduated to country bumpkin status.
I miss the sense of being connected, literally. The broadband and phone reception in some areas of the countryside is like the pace of life… slow! I also miss the convenience of being able to pop to the shop for essentials like Maltesers! Also the speed of service in London is something to behold – standing in line becomes a familiar pastime, especially at Costa Coffee.
But I've gained a sense of community and belonging that I never had in London. We have a wide range of friends, one of my BFFs is a 78 year old Texan! I know my postman and people you don't know say hello as they walk down the street. My favourite thing though is being less than 30 mins from the beach and probably why we're lucky enough to get frequent visits from friends and family, so like a visit to the park, it's all swings and roundabouts but we're enjoying the ride. Oh, and we now have a coffee machine!
Verity is a marketing pro, keen baker and good friend. She moved to Beccles, Waveney, East of England two years ago from Dalston Junction, Hackney, London with her partner and their cute little daughter.