Thursday, April 09, 2009

How was the trip to the UK? 99% Unicorns and Rainbows!

Where is that cornify button?? Because that is what this trip to Winchester has been.... Cornify

This is a picture of the River Itchen than runs through Winchester, to Twyford, then Eastleigh, and right down to Southampton where it flows into the ocean. Apparently you can walk along a path that runs alongside it all the way down to the sea (or until you hit the industrial complex in Southampton, anyway;).... The section in Winchester that we walked down on Sunday, from the city center to Wolvesey Castle, was gorgeous and the day was perfection.

Our first day of looking at houses was .... um .... disheartening, but not unexpected. I knew that all of the places we looked at under a certain amount of £'s were going to be either run down (or "tired" as the letting agents liked to say) or poorly situated (as in right next to a major thoroughfare) and, in some instance, BOTH! That night Daddy-007 and I had a heart to heart about money that turned into a fight and then went from a fight to a legitimate airing of grievances which then progressed to an understanding of each other that had not been present before.

For him this experience of moving to England is about the life experience for all of us and the education and training he will get at the university. I support him on that, but I know my limitations and knew that for me the most important thing was finding a house that I could be happy in with the children. I love being home. I like traveling fine, I adore going out for dinner, drinks or dancing,.... but I love being home, where I feel in my element, the most. And wrongly or rightly, I have a lot of my identity wrapped up in my house. I'm not talking about how big it is or how fancy or how much crap I can stuff it with. I am talking about a home with character. A house that has something different. One that you would never mistake for another if you had been there once before. I need to know that if I don't make friends easily over here or am feeling isolated and lonely when 007 is off at school for hours every day, that I can retreat to my house, to my kitchen, and feel better by just being there.

Without getting into too much compromising detail, this was my motivation for instigating the talk with my husband about the possibility of raising our house budget by, ahem, a lot. He thought I was coming from somewhere else completely. It was the one low spot of our time there but it ended with us being in a better place, so it was totally worth it. :) And our seeing eye to eye meant that I could feel easier about adding those two extra houses that were considerably out of our price range into the already busy Tuesday schedule.

So Tuesday was filled with just about every four bedroom house in the market of Winchester and its surrounding countryside. Here are some of the ones that we opted NOT to get (bearing in mind that I am only showing you the best of the best- I immediately erased the dumps off my camera after seeing the first country place:










I am TOTALLY kidding about that last one with the daffodils ;-): that is the Bishop's Palace next to Wolvesey Castle! But those other one's.... Well, the first one was too modern and didn't seem to be in a family friendly location. The second lovely country cottage one was fabulous (you would truly die if I showed you all the pictures from the inside, I know I did), character and charm in every nook and cranny, all exposed beams and AGA stove and just spectacular) but seriously in the middle of nowhere and 20 minutes from the nearest train station which my husband is hoping to take into Southampton every day for school. The white, thatched roof one was only 10 minutes away from the Winchester train station, but seemed like a lot of yard work (acres! and no included lawn mower! eek!) and WAY too expensive, especially for how crummy the kitchen was.

And then we headed to the LAST place on all our lists. The very last one, but the one I had been most anxious to see since I found it two weeks ago. It was only £50 over our original budget and I had talked to the rural primary school near it and the teacher there was so kind and really talked me into thinking that maybe a little school (less than 100 kids age 4-11) was the best place for C.C. to get a new perspective on school and for Destructo to get the extra help he needs for his ADHD. Smaller classes, more runaround time, and a tighter-knit community because the parents have to be involved to make it the school work. All good things.

And then we saw the house:









Check out the yard that goes on and on. The property backs up to a dense public woodlands, as well, so the kids can walk out a little gate in the back and be deep in the forest in less than a minute.

And then we went IN the house, a mud room with a washer and dryer (that dryer is a BIG deal over here), lovely living room, great size rooms and a gorgeous master bedroom with exposed beams:














And here, my lovelies, is where after seeing the kitchen, I burst into tears, turned to my husband, and said, "THIS is it. This is the one.":

This kitchen will be my headquarters for the time that we are there. I will cook, blog, bake, and mother my little darlings from every corner of this unbelievable dream kitchen. I will watch my boys turn into little men and explorers from my vantage point here, with windows looking out over every part of the yard. I will be in my element, even while out of my country. I will be thankful and embrace this experience for everything it can be for us.

Thanks for being with me on this incredibly emotional roller-coaster that I have been riding and thank you so much to everyone who pointed out that the most important thing for our kids is that we all stay together, no matter where that is. :) It seems so simple... now that all the pieces have finally started to come together.

34 comments:

  1. That house is amazing! And the kitchen is to die for. Congrats on finding a place!

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  2. I am so so happy for you. The place is gorgeous. Congratulations and here's to a whole new beginning!!

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  3. Yea for you!! Oh, I'm so glad that your trip went well and you found this lovely space for your family. I COMPLETELY get what you are saying about home and how connected you are to it and how it needs to be a place of comfort and security. I'm exactly the same way. My home is like my security blanket. No matter what -- I can always go there and be okay.

    After all, you'll be there a LOT. And hubby will be off having a new adventure and meeting new people. You need what you need to make it work. It's great that you were able to connect with him about that.

    I'm thrilled for you Amy! I can just seeing you sitting at the island blogging away! And the stories you will have to tell will be AMAZING! Congrats! Now when's the big move? (and will there be guest quarters?!)

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  4. It's gorgeous!!
    Too die for!!!
    What a great experience you and the fam will have.

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  5. I have goose bumps. Honest to goodness!

    I'm so thrilled you found "the one." And I'm with you on the "character" thing. I want the house to speak to me - it will be your nest - it has to be just right.

    Congratulations!! Good luck with all the contract fun. Em

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  6. I seriously cannot handle this excitement! The house is PERFECT!!!!! (I believe that's the most exclamation points I've ever used). I am so happy that you and your husband came to an understanding and that you have found a place where your soul and your family can be happy.

    Is there enough room for a tent in the yard? Because you know I'm coming to visit!

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  7. Officially jealous! A wonderful home for you and your family.

    Since I'm a late arrival, will your husband be teaching or is he a student? What field?

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  8. Awesome. That is all I can say. That kitchen would be heaven. This will be such and enchanting and exciting journey for you all. I have to say I loved the approach by the school teacher about the smaller school being the place the boys really find themselves. I am very happy for you and 007. God Bless

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  9. When you're embarking on a journey like that, it makes "home" all that much more important. This place is absolutely amazing. I'm so excited for you!

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  10. That's wonderful!! Good for you! Awesome amazing kitchen!! I love all the houses.

    I swear to god, I've got to go to England before I die. I LOVE the photos. Just love them.

    I'm so envious. But in a good way. :o)

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  11. Think I will leave my mortgaged house and rent in another county! I love that house!

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  12. You have a fucking BROOK babbling through your yard!

    I can't talk. I'm too verklempt.

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  13. Wow, great digs. Can't wait to find out about the move— it'll make great blog fodder for sure.

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  14. It's gorgeous, and seriously, that kitchen is magnificant! There must be many cups of tea and plates of crumpets consumed there!

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  15. Seriously? How can you get any better than that!!! I love it, I'm jealous, and I hope to hell you said YES!!!! I'm so glad your trip went well.

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  16. The house sounds like something out of a fairy tale. I hope you and your family have many, many happy memories there.

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  17. Can I live in a small cabinet in that kitchen with you?! I won't make too much noise!

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  18. Dammit, girl, so excited for you, and i loved this post...so hilarious when i saw the daffodil photo, as i recognized it as a rather sort of off limits place for the regular blogger :))) Love your kitchen and am still intending to be in it with you real soon, my lovely :))
    xxx

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  19. yay! you found a place. It looks just perfect :-)

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  20. Bitch, you've GOT to be kidding me.....oh, woe is me, I have a husband who puts up with my bitch ass and helps me have a BEAUTIFUL life and all you do is sit and fucking complain. I just lost years of my life reading this droll.

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  21. Wow - that is a dream house! And dream kitchen and dream everything! Brilliant news - and it isn't even breaking the budget!

    You see - miracles do exist!

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  22. Haha, that's a fabulous troll.

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  23. England is so beautiful. Your photos make me miss it! Just don't adopt one of those faux English accents like Madonna did and please eat plenty of Thorton's chocolate truffles for me while you are there!

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  24. Wow! Now that place looks beautiful! And kitchen? Love it! What an experience you all will have! Yay!

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  25. I am so glad that you found somewhere that suits you. I definitely think that going to a smaller school will definitely help Distructo. I have found with LaLa that her small school was the ticket to actively engaging her and focusing her into a information sponge. She is just soaking it all up, very, very quickly.

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  26. Congrats on finding a perfect place for your family! I agree with you on the home being so very important to your own peace of mind. Especially when out of your home country! Yay for you!

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  27. I don't know how I missed this post. That house is simply gorgeous!!! You're unbearably lucky!!!

    brightest blessings!

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  28. Love the new house! It will be an exciting new experience!

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  29. Whoa..... SO cool. Can't wait to follow you on this next adventure!

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  30. Wow, great kitchen! Looking forward to reading about your upcoming move and experiences.

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Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.