City-dweller Amanda looks forward to moving to Exmoor – post 1
Well, it’s official. The moving date has been confirmed and on 1 August 2012 myself, the husband and the cat will be leaving the bright lights of the big city behind for the dark skies of Exmoor. Now that everything is in motion we are wondering if we might be a bit mad. We know that our nearest and dearest think we are, they have done for years, but we’ve never bought into that. Although we have long been christened ‘the urban gypsies’, somehow it seems a bit different this time.
For a start, urban is no longer applicable – we have gone the whole rural hog and are moving to a big old house in Exmoor National Park that is half an hour’s walk from the village shop and pub, and a 20-minute drive from a small town. I will never have lived in such a rural location before and although I am excited I am also wondering how my well-ingrained urban ways of a two minute stroll to a huge selection of pubs, shops and restaurants, and a short tube ride to all the entertainment that central London offers, will cope.
The smallest town I’ve ever lived in before is Dalton-in-Furness in Cumbria, which has a population of eight and a half thousand and that felt very small. Challacombe, my home to be, is home to about one hundred souls, give or take a few. But besides all of this, what will the cat do when she’s confronted by a sheep for the first time. My guess is she’ll freak out and hurtle back inside as if the devil is on her tail, something she’s been known to do when the wind blows a bit hard. We will all have a lot of adjusting to do.
But the reasons why I’m looking forward to the move far outweigh any trepidation I feel. Space is the biggest one. Not just physical space but mental too. In the city my mind constantly races as the pace is so fast but whenever I’m in Exmoor it slows right down and I can think properly. As I’ve just finished writing the first draft of my novel, a chapter of which takes place in the beautiful Heddon Valley, just twenty minutes away from Challacombe, I’m thinking, and hoping, that the newly created space in my mind will develop into many more words on the page.