Thursday, 10 March 2011

Big decisions; Shall I live in Oxford or go back to London?

Yesterday was quite a big day for me. But not in a good way.

Let me give you a bit of a background to explain. Just over two years ago, I moved from London (after being there for 7 years) to live in the deepest, darkest Oxfordshire countryside. Talk about contrasts; it was the metaphorical equivalent of Sarah Palin opening a bear sanctuary. But even though I had physically moved to Oxford, I must admit that I had never properly committed to the place because the whole time, I still kept my much-loved house in London (just in case the stench of sheep, cow and chicken shit got too much you see).

Last week, everything changed. I finally decided that it was ridiculous to have two houses (it's just showing off), and that I needed to get rid of one.

So I 'ummmmmed' and I 'aaahhhhhed' .......... I thought about London, and its bright lights, busy streets, bars and restaurants and its vibrancy. Remembering life in the fast-lane properly tugged at my heartstrings. When I was in London, I used to have a demanding yet thrilling job in aerospace, but managed to balance it with relaxed weekends walking Naughty George beside the river (Thames) and leisurely lunches with chums.

And then I thought about Oxfordshire ...... waking up each morning to the sound of a rooster, and instead of bustling streets, I am surrounded by fields. The plethora of restaurants that I had to choose from in London, have been replaced by a single local pub. My lovely London Victorian town-house has been replaced by a wibbly wobbly cottage built in 1560 AD. And although my job is getting more demanding by the day, it is nowhere near as intense as it once was.

It was a tough decision by any stretch of the imagination.

So I pondered ......................................

And pondered ......................................

And then pondered some more ..............

But that wasn't enough, so I put some more time aside to ponder ..................

And then I finally decided ............................... (but man alive, was it tough?)

............................... that I was going to say 'goodbye' to my London house and continue forging a life in the Oxfordshire countryside. 

But it made me really, really sad. I had lovingly renovated the London house from top to bottom. Izzy was born there (before me and her dad, Steve, split-up), and I had loved living there. Crikey, I was still carrying lots of happy memories of the place in my head.

Yesterday the Estate Agent came to take the photographs that he would use to try and sell my house. Which was exactly why it was a BIG day; it all became real.

And today, my London house officially appeared on the market. Click here to see my house for sale.

Because I am kinder than Mother Theresa (but with less wrinkles) I have included some photographs of my London house that the Estate Agent took:

Pic.No 1 Aww. My lovely Victorian town-house. I lived there for seven years and I loved it

Pic.No.2 This is my kitchen with its flagstone floor and 'Range' cooker

Pic.No.3 This is my living room and at one time those shelves were filled with my books. It has the original Victorian shutters, floor and coving. And it is really sunny

Pic.No.4 This is the dining room. It looks bigger in real life, but the yellow wallpaint doesn't look better in real life

Pic.No. 5 This is the hallway and the front door. I designed the glass in the door even though I am not arty. So if you think that it looks shit, that's why

Pic.No.6 This was my bedroom (it looks way bigger in real-life). It has a real-life fire (very cosy and romantic when it was lit at night-time) and plantation shutters

Pic.No.7 My bathroom. I loved it because I literally chose everything myself. It had under-floor heating, a real-life fireplace and a two-person jacuzzi and spa bath

Pic.No.8 My bathroom and its 'Piece de Resistance' - a TV built into the wall and 'Nicam Surround Sound' built into the ceiling. If you were ever questioning my 'Gadget Queen' title, I am sure you aren't now!

And just in case you found yourself more interested in my house than you anticipated, here is a link where you can view 'virtual tours' of each room in my house (it will open in a separate window).

Vid.No.1. Here are some 'Virtual Tours'of my house (click on the picture above and it will open in a seperate window). You can select which room you want to see by using the drop-down menu on the right hand side. How cool is that?

So all in all, it has been a bit of a roller-coaster of emotions. In fact, even now I feel really sad seeing my London house for sale. In fact I had tears in my eyes the whole time I wrote this post (even though I am not high-maintenance).

Tell me, please; what do you think? Have I made the right decision? I am wobbling at the moment (which is not like me at all).


  1. Oh WOW Anne...Part of me roots for you to go back to London...I love your home there and personally crave a place that has things to do. I live in what might be an american Oxford...but Will be hoping you do what is best for you love! <3 Sending lots of hugs your way little lady! <3

  2. You can't move back, you'd have to change your blog banner!

  3. ya daft !git Jane... it wasn't about the blog banner

  4. London gives you black bogies, and Izzy would say 'innit' a lot if you went back.

    The sticks is where it's at.

    Good call.

  5. Aww thanks Widow Lady, it has been a horrible choice to make. But yeh. Oxford has got things to do. But still part of me roots to go back to London DOH!

  6. You can never go back Anne, even after a short time.

    I know people who have left somewhere and then gone back and without exception they then moved somewhere else.

    But in the end only you can decide. But if it was me then I would stay in Oxfordshire.

  7. Eh up Gumph and Robert..... Even though you both put a different arguement forward very adroitly, you were both ultimately saying the same thing. Thanks me chaps! I appreciate your opinion xx

  8. "I'm so sorry. Well done, that's wonderful. You can always pop back to London for fun, it's difficult to pop to peace."

  9. Aw thanks andy me matey... is it that obvious that I am upset?! I tried to hide it. x

  10. What an incredibly difficult decision. I have no advice to offer because others have said things wiser than I could come up with.
    Good luck with your journey and I hope you find peace as you make your way.

  11. Awwwww.....sweetie! It may not seem it, I think you are more entrenched in Oxford than you believe. You've made a life there that I think you are more fond of than you are willing to admit. Plus there's Izzy and her being able to see Steve, which she gets to do so easily right now.

    When Izzy gets older, if there is still a yen to go back to London, more than you do now, you can always go back. Maybe, should you ever settle your butt enough to retire, go there and do so. The memories that you made in the London house won't ever leave you just because you are selling the house, and you and Iz are making new wonderful memories in this house. London isn't going anywhere. Unless aliens come down and kill everyone and take over the Queen's house - in which case you are still golden because you didn't go back. =) lol

    I can relate to the wobbling though, love. I've done that with every dwelling I've lived in and left thus far - even when I hated the stupid place. So wobble no more honey...Oxford is your new security blanket. I think you did good! <3 xoxoxoxox *hands you a tissue and a glass of wine*

  12. Look forward, not back.

    Yeah, that was really helpful, wasn't it?

  13. Totally the RIGHT decision !

    Izzy's dad is down the road & you two seem to have a great relationship.

    My kids have grown up in the country. My brother's kids have grown up in London. To me there is no comparison.
    I hope you can feel happy about your decision. We left Spain for England & I've never regretted it.

  14. Wow, love your bathroom Annie, mostly cos of the AN fireplace & the telly - so posh, can imagine you there with a glass of champers! ;-)
    Methinks you're making the right decision for where you're at now, in your personal life - besides, can't you live life in reverse of all the current city dwellers, and just escape to the city for weekends instead of how they do it? Sounds like a plan anyway.
    Good luck with the house sale, hope everything works out just as it should. xx

  15. Anne, we went through exactly the same when we sold our house - we too had rented it out for a while. So I'm right there with you - Andy's right - you never lose it and we found that out when we went back to visit recently. x

  16. Oxford, you're a country lass now!

  17. It is, but somehow it's nice that you are. Cheer up x

  18. Glad it was you and not me making that decision Annie! I think you will not regret for a second the decision you have made.....especially after you sell the London place (which by the way is a beaut and should sell really quickly, no that I know a thing about the realty business in London).
    Be strong.....and just think, you can now plan to get some 'country critters' and start gettin' your hands dirty and London will be but a mere memory of the past......


  19. have you considered just renting the place out?

    you could supplement your monthly income while keeping your beautiful home.

  20. It goes to show that I'm an ugly American. The beautiful place you have is 855 square feet, our house is 2200 sf and considered small by comparison

    It's good to be where your at now, sometimes its just hard breaking up with your old house.

  21. Jeez Jewell, you are absolutely spot on. I HAVE made a life in Oxford and until you said it, I hadn't really appeciated it enough. Izzy is happy in her school, Naughty George loves the open fields and I love the peace and quiet. And you are so right about Izzy's Dad, Steve living just down the road.

    You are a star me dear. And it really helped to hear that you have suffered the same thing. You are MEGALOVELY! xx

  22. Oh my giddy aunt. I used to live just round the corner from you, in Linden Road! We just moved to Warwickshire 2 years ago, and lived in Linden Road for 25 years before that. I must have walked past your house millions of times. How cool is that?

  23. Naughty George would be mortified if you'd gone back to London.. no cows!

  24. Your house in London is fabulous. I can see why you're so torn. I won't presume to comment on your decision because only you know what's in your heart. Having moved to a rural area several years ago from a lifetime as a city girl, I can't imagine giving up the slower pace, beautiful surroundings and clean air, not to mention the sense of community. Different things are right for us at different times of our lives. And you've got a long life ahead of you to change paths once again when your heart tells you to.

  25. Bloody hell Fran! How weird is that? Linden road is literally a 20 second walk from my front door in Hampton. And likewise, I must have driven past your house thousands of times over the years.

    That has freaked me out a bit!

  26. Stick with the country. Cities are great for awhile but after a certain period it's like fitting into a suit that's just a bit too small... you can do it's but it's never as comfortable as it once was.


  27. Hello John, are you new round these parts? It is very nice to hear from you. And thank you for your advice ..... you hit the nail on the head!

  28. Blimey everyone, thanks ever so much for your opinions and advice. You have made me feel so much better about my decision. I mean loads better! Mwahhh x

  29. Hello Juliet,

    Nice to hear from you. It’s a tough decision for you I know, and I still miss London.

    However, I think you will love the countryside. Living in a village is a totally different beast – everyone knows everyone, the schools are small and friendly, and like you say, there is plenty of space for Otis.

    I have to say I love it – People waving at you when you go out, and leaving presents in my garden – like apples, tomatoes and cherries. And I buy my eggs from my next door neighbour!

    I know it is a nerve-racking decision, but the worst case scenario is that you give it a go, decide it’s not for you and move back to London.

    The best case is that you find you love it.

    Best of luck – please do keep in touch and let me know what you decide :)



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