Saturday, October 20, 2012

Goodbye to the Backyard

As some of you will know, I have sold my house in London and I am moving to Gloucestershire. I've been a bit superstitious about telling everyone until I exchanged contracts (I don't know why - as Lucy Corrander remarked to me: "If only we people had the power...")
But to quote an old proverb, "there's mony a slip twixt cup and lip", and I didn't want to tell everyone about this great upheaval if, a few weeks later, I had to tell them it wasn't actually taking place.
Everyone asks me the same questions when I tell them I'm moving, so to save your poor little fingers typing them out, here is my attempt at a helpful FAQ:

Does that mean I'm giving up my job?
Yes! I've resigned from my current job which is editor of the Saturday edition of the i newspaper. I will still carry on writing about gardening, mainly for The Independent and the i, but I'll be able to work from home rather than have to go into the office.

Will I miss London?

Yes, of course! I think London is the greatest city in the world. (Well, I'm biased.) But it is a tiring city in which to work, and sometimes it feels almost as if people go out of their way to make one's life far more stressful than it needs to be. Just the simple act of getting up and going to work, or coming home from the office, can sometimes seem like an obstacle race.

Will I miss my friends?
Yes, of course! But I hope they'll come and stay with me in Gloucestershire. It's less than two hours' drive from London, and the train to Chippenham or Kemble takes less than an hour and a half. And you have to remember that, because of the hours I work, I hardly ever see my friends in London. There are many friends - not to mention family - I will see more of when I move.
I'll miss my colleagues too - I've worked at The Independent for nearly 13 years. There are many things about office life I love - the banter, the silly running jokes, the excitement of a breaking story. However, I've tried to imagine myself missing work as I sit by my fireside looking out over the meadows on my Gloucestershire hilltop, and somehow I can't see it. I certainly won't miss the canteen...

Will I miss the Backyard?
I don't think so. In a way I feel as if I've got to the end of the road with my current garden.
I'm very excited about having a new garden, which will be totally different. In London, you can create your own landscape, but in Gloucestershire, the surrounding countryside demands a much more appropriate garden. I already have plans, and I'm looking forward to telling you how it all goes.
I will keep the Victoria's Backyard blog, however, and I think I will use that for discussing gardening issues and news and so on. 
I also now have a new blog, Tales from Awkward Hill, which will specifically be about life in Gloucestershire.
I've written a piece for next Saturday's Independent Magazine about leaving my garden, and I have to say they've done a fabulous job on it, so do get a copy if you can.

Will I be taking lots of plants with me?
I don't think so. Many of them wouldn't survive outside the London microclimate. Bibury is about 2ºC colder than London most of the time, and the garden is not nearly as sheltered. Having said that, I will still need an extra removal truck just for the garden...