I have a confession to make. I have village envy. When I first moved to Surrey I was 20 years younger and so wanted to be as close to the lights of London as I could afford. Kingston-upon-Thames was about right. It had cool bars, nightclubs, the river and crucially a late train home. As I got older however and started taking trips into ‘the country’ at weekends I discovered what I was missing. The hills, the views, the country pubs; I took one look and thought...this is what I want.
I was ready to give up the busy north of Surrey and settle down in the gorgeous village of Shere. I could keep pigs, wear wellies, have a shed, smoke cigars, write best-selling novels and who knows maybe bump into Kate Winslet filming ‘The Holiday 2’. Apparently in Shere, it always snows on Christmas day and in the summer it only rains when everyone is asleep. Just one small problem, I wasn’t the first to notice all this which made it a bit pricey. Ok...I’ll just phone my elderly millionaire uncle. Oh I forgot...I don’t have one.
Since then I’m afraid living in Shere has remained a dream and all the while the hands of time seem to turn faster and faster. As the great bard Rod Stewart once wrote, time is a thief when you’re undecided.
I even toyed with the idea of moving away to the Cotswolds, where you get more for your money; so I really could keep pigs, wear wellies and, from what I understand, there is a much greater chance of actually bumping into Kate Winslet. I drove up there one weekend with my family to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. And yes it’s beautiful. But it was only when I started entertaining the idea of moving away that I realised just what I would miss right here on my doorstep.
At the moment we can walk to the school that my son loves and which both Ofsted and I; think is outstanding. I’ve got the nation’s most visited attraction, Hampton Court Palace just around the corner. I’ve got the beautiful Richmond Park and Bushy Park a short car ride away, I’ve got The Rose theatre in Kingston, I’ve got the river and the boats and in the future my children will have the bright lights of London right on their door-step. Not sure if they’d thank me for moving too far away from that in years to come.
So in fact I have more than I realise and ok I’d like a bigger garden or an extra bedroom but maybe there’s a valuable lesson to be learned here. Too much of life can be missed while you’re chasing the next thing. And wasn’t it precisely that constant chasing that got us all into the financial predicament we currently find ourselves in?
So maybe I’ll just enjoy what I have for the time being and...Miss Winslet if you’re reading this I’m afraid we aren’t going to be neighbours after all...sorry about that.