I have been off the A&G radar recently as I have been been in a dilemma. It is over where Other Half (OH) and I should live now. I love writing comment pieces for A&G about other people but when it comes to me I have a problem. Should I share my dilemmas with you readers? In all honesty they are hardly unsolvable or difficult problems. However this latest one regarding downsizing and leaving the countryside could be life-changing.
As I meandered along during one of my dog walks recently, I started listening to the latest Annabel & Grace podcast. Have you discovered podcasts? They are rather like audible books, they take a bit of getting used to. Plus you need to find your favourites which means lots of listening and culling. I am late to the game as so many of my friends have been podcast listeners for an age now. I kept trying and failing to be engaged; suddenly a podcast I had been listening to came to an end and I had no idea what it was about.
Then along came Annabel & Grace with their podcast and I was fully engaged. In actual fact I wanted to join in the conversation as that is what it is – two self-deprecating women over 60 chatting about everyday stuff.
The latest one – Moving To The Country – was a real tonic for me as I continued my dog walk. In this podcast they are joined by their friend and journalist, Jane Gordon (mother to Bryony Gordon). The three of them chat about what prompted them all to move from the town to the country.
As I said I and my OH have recently been having a lot of chats about downsizing and maybe moving back to the city. This is not about empty-nesting and following our children, as I think they would wonder if we were stalking them. No, it is about reaching that time in your life where you have now lived in the country for some time, in our case 30 years. We have built up a good circle of friends and are very happy with our lifestyle. Then one day some very good friends decide to move to be closer to their children. Then some others decide to base themselves in London and shed their country house. Plus of course there is the inevitable end of life, sometimes way before time in my opinion, and I lose another friend.
I looked around my book club and realised that it was starting to look a little depleted. We discussed whether we should recruit some new members. However we are so happy and comfortable with each other that we wondered if we really wanted to add some new blood to this mix.
This was when OH and I started to think maybe life in a city with theatre, good restaurants, museums and exhibitions could fill the void left by our departing friends. We were really on that path and had started to register with agents to see what our wallet could afford.
As I listened to the aforementioned Annabel & Grace podcast, they pointed out to me the obvious reasons why I love the country. They sort of gave my life a sprinkling of wake-up dust. Jane Gordon vividly explained why she enjoys her new country life so much, apart from the shops closing at 5.30pm!
London lost its shine for her and so she embraced country life. However what came across so strongly was that all three ladies love being surrounded by nature. Grace told me once that when she has had enough of working on A&G website, she steps outside her back door and goes for a walk in the beautiful Sussex countryside. It is her best de-stresser and she is so right.
Do I really want to swap this for the smoke? Do I want to go through the stress of moving, packing up a house and re-settling in a new place? Or should I just open my arms and embrace new friends? I have to accept that life changes, friends come and go. I need to enjoy what I have when I have it but realise it is never going to remain the same forever.
In the case of our book club, if we invited new members, we would have to be more refined. We wouldn’t be able to talk about the horrors of unexpected and uninvited flatulence as we did in our last meet up. However I am sure any new members would soon mould to our ways!
The best news is that I understand there is soon to be a part 2 to this latest podcast with Jane Gordon where they will discuss ‘How to make new friends when you are over 50 years old’. I had better tune in to that one as I may learn a few tips.
In the meantime, why not listen to Part 1 of their Moving To The Country podcast below:
Lots more from Poppy Patmore here