Relationships are all about compromise, right? After several months of commuting 180 miles between the Westcountry and the Midlands, Steve and I have decided to find a place together. No better way to put compromise to the test than negotiating where to live.
Steve has been living in Birmingham (population 1,000,000) for the past 30 years and is used to being able to walk outside and find The Guardian, a cup of Joe and pretty much whatever the heck he wants on his doorstep. After 11 years of living in farm cottages and converted barns (population 1-2 adults, some spiders, the occasional bat or wren, mice 2-3, cat 1, mice 0), where my next door neighbours lived a ½-mile away and the nearest shop was 15 minutes away, I’ve gotten used to peace and quiet and wide open spaces.
So, we decided to look for somewhere in between a secluded abode and a city centre. We thought long and hard for about 5 minutes about me moving up to the Midlands, then we started to have a look around Devon. We’ve settled on the ‘fairly small’ market town of Moretonhampstead (population 1700). It lies on the edge of Dartmoor and is notable for having the longest one-word name of any place in England. It also has all of the earmarks of civilisation: two tearooms, butcher/baker/delicatessen, four pubs, library, hospital, gym, newsagent, Co-op market, cafe, craft shop and an antiquarian bookseller.
Moretonhampstead: the Big Smoke
We’re in a penthouse apartment on the top floor of an Edwardian house with views overlooking the higgledy-piggledy rooftops of Moreton and out to the the hills and fields of Dartmoor and up to the endless, ever-changing sky. Last weekend was moving weekend. Boxes are all unpacked and we have a trip to IKEA planned soon. The phone/broadband won’t be connected for another fortnight at least, so I am snatching computer time at the library when I can.
We can see the new next door neighbours from our living room, a pair of jackdaws who are also just moving into a terraced chimney.
Building a nest