Tag Archives: petting zoo

From Shoreditch to Sussex

And so we’ve moved. Hence the radio silence. Well, that and a rotten cold. But I won’t bore you with that, the only thing more boring than other people’s illnesses being other people’s dreams.

So moving, yes. It was two weeks from making the decision to move to being in the new place, which I think is some sort of record. Is that a record? I dunno, it’s been so long since I last moved maybe these days that’s average, but it feels pretty bloody quick to me.

The new place is a five-bed, 18th-century lodge nestled in a South Downs village, which, hilariously, is about £400 a month cheaper than our 700sq ft, one-bed flat in Shoreditch. It’s a big change, obviously (no streetlights, nothing open on Sundays, and the silence is deafening), but I’m throwing myself into country life, to the point of making apple crumble with fruit picked from the garden (I know, I know). That said, I’ve a horrible feeling I’m simply playing out a role, like Madonna in her lady-of-the-manor phase. I told Misha that I was looking forward to my inappropriate-toyboy phase, but he didn’t find it very funny.

On Sunday I took Emilio to the Apple Festival (more apples – I think this is what they mean by embracing the seasons.) This was better than it sounds, with a fairground and petting zoo alongside the morris dancers and cider/hog-roast stands, and an impressive turnout thanks to the nice weather. It was all a bit Birkenstock, as these things are wont to be, but I particularly liked Mouse Town, an olde-worlde shopping street populated by mice:

The place was chock-full of Boden children, barefoot and facepainted. I know this was when I was supposed to feel all smug for taking my son from the polluted urban jungle and bringing him to this green, wholesome place, but instead I kept worrying that he won’t grow up to be an urban sophisticate, but some earnest, fleece-wearing type, who thinks Brighton’s a big city and juggling an acceptable career choice.

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Filed under General rants and moans, Kids, parenting... Non-mums may want to move along, The bits I can't think of a category for

Moving to the country?

So we made a lowball offer on the Sussex place, which has been accepted. You’d think this would be cause for celebration, but I’m now fretting about whether or not this is a terrible idea and I’m going to spend my life weeping into the laundry with only a two-year-old and the Archers for company.

The advantages are: it’s a proper, grown-up house, double-fronted and everything, with a massive garden and enough bedrooms that Misha and I can have an office, and we can invite friends (plural!) to come and stay for the weekend. Having spent about six months studying Rightmove, I know we’d never get anything like that in London for the price.

Emilio would have masses of room to play and do all the baking/art-type activities I currently pretend don’t exist because they’re too messy. And if we did stay down there, I could send him to the local school and know he’d get an education. No 13-grand-a-year fees, no renting an overpriced shoebox next door to the school, no pretending to find Jesus. Just sending him to the nearest school, like normal people.

BUT with the exception of my Mum, who is admittedly a draw, I don’t really know anyone in Sussex. And I don’t know if I can face hauling my arse around playgroups trying to latch onto other mothers. It all sounds a bit bleak, like the rural landscape in winter. And although the countryside boasts lots to do with kids on sunny days (petting zoos, steam railways, that kind of thing), I’m not sure what you do with them when it rains, when you don’t know anybody.

I don’t know *sigh*. I should probably mention that we’d be renting this place, not buying, and only for six months at that (the short lease is the reason it’s so cheap). Which makes it not so much moving to the country as taking a sabbatical there. An extended holiday, really. But just thinking about it makes me miss the Tube and Topshop and Ottolenghi and other people and…

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View from the Broads

We’re in Norfolk – in theory cycling across the Broads, in practice going to lots of those twee little rural shopping complexes. You know, the ones with boutiques selling handmade fudge, bad jewellery and the kind of art people only ever buy on holiday.

As you can probably tell, I used to be quite snooty about these sorts of places. Then I had a kid. Oh my God, I don’t know what I was talking about. They are amazing. This one, Wroxham Barns, has a petting zoo where you can feed the animals (therefore shitting on Hackney City Farm), a funfair and a brilliant soft-play area for wee ones with a ball pit (like at Ikea!) Most of it’s free (the petting zoo’s £5.50 – six quid really, because as if you’re going to say no to the animal food), but no matter how immune you are to the charms of carved-wood barometers and pastel images of windmills, you’ll still end up spending a ton of money. I came away with armfuls of Norfolk apple juice, apple chutney, apple-and-date cake… the whole gamut of Norfolk apple-related products, in fact. Still cost less than they would’ve in Waitrose though (I think).

One toddler meeting the sheep:

And enjoying the soft-play area…

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