Why we moved to Cornwall
I was recently given some questions to think about and as a result, I have written this blog post as I pondered over how to answer them.
In the summer of 2015 GD and I were still living in a 3 bedroomed terraced house on the outskirts of London, just north of the busy town of Edgware. For over two decades we had kept backyard chickens and had much to the bewilderment of our parents turned our small back and front gardens of our house over to growing vegetables and fruit. We would scour the area around us foraging from the woods, big parks and hedgerows, goodies such as damsons, elderberries, blackberries, crab apples, nettles and mints. We cooked mostly from scratch and were wanna be homesteaders, reading self-sufficient guru books such as John Seymour and Carla Emery. We cooked as much to the seasons as possible and were inspired by permaculture principles and respect for the Earth. We were both working at that time after raising five children and welcoming five grandchildren into the world. Our youngest boy was just off to start at University of Kent and at this time GD was finding his job becoming physically more and more demanding, our third son had just moved to Cornwall to take up a teaching assistant post, a part of the country we had not visited before and so we began to visit our son and his fiancee, later to become our daughter law, whenever we could.
At first GD and I found the wildness of Cornwall, the hills and the weather a little hard on our bodies and we had thought we might move to Walton on the Naze, an area we had known since our childhood, where the land and weather is a little more London like, but gradually the land of Cornwall and its people began to pull us in and one day after a group family holiday in Devon, GD and I turned to join the A30 heading back north to London and we knew we were going in the wrong direction. Not long after that GD knew that his time as a building manager had to come to end as it was taking a toll on his body. When one day we asked for a valuation on our house we were delighted to find it had markedly risen in value and would afford us the opportunity to downsize and start a new chapter of our life in Cornwall, a place we had come to love.
Our house sold immediately and within weeks we were packing our house down ready for a move. We had been in Borehamwood for thirty years, we still had our eldest two children and their families there, plus our fourth son and girlfriend, our friends and relatives, our work colleagues, all these we would be leaving behind, it was momentous for us. But we believed we could offer a different way of life for our family and so set about making our new home as inviting as we could for everyone. Well, we had not been here much over a year before our eldest boy and family with our daughter in law and grandchildren also upped sticks and moved to a house a short walk from our house. They have good jobs here, the boys are happy in local schools, the change in pace and lifestyle, the same as for us affords them the opportunity to experience life in a less frantic way.
For GD and myself we were so fortunate to be able to acquire an allotment at the eco-park near Porthtowan, (something I wasn’t sure to share as I really want to keep this little haven of paradise just as it is, perfect!). We love it at the eco-park, it is kind of the foundation to everything we do, it is organic planting and we have worked hard this last year to nourish the earth as much as we could. Recycling is important to us and nothing goes to waste, we have our chickens and a wormery and deep beds in our garden as well composting at the eco-park, we have a polytunnel ready to erect in the spring and this spring we will also source a shed for the allotment, so we really will be able to go fork to plate in seconds. The allotment has provided abundantly for us this year, more than we could have ever expected, we have canned, pickled, preserved and frozen so much produce, our alley (cold store) is full of leeks, beetroot, carrot, parsnips, jars and sauces and all sorts, that we have harvested this year.
Cornwall is amazing, whether we walk the cliff tops at Godrevy, the beaches by the Towans, our local beach at Portreath or the woods of Tehidy, we are blown away by the ever-changing landscape, wildlife, and diversity of this very special area in which we live. The people here have shown us that community still thrives, we have been welcomed in our little cul-de-sac and made to feel we are part of the essence of Cornwall.
Our cottage was built in the 1850’s a stark contrast to our post-war home that we left and the flats both GD and I were brought up in, we have had to learn how to cook on the Rayburn and heat our home with wood and coal, it has been a steep learning curve, we do have gas and electric but much prefer the time-honored feel and depth to traditional heating and cooking.
Recently another of our sons, his girlfriend and their two labradors Ella and Daisy literally turned up on the doorstep to begin a new life here, more converts to Cornwall life and we are just getting our youngest’s room ready as he returns home for the Christmas holidays. We lost our own labrador Molly of sixteen years last spring so Ella and Daisy have fitted right in here.
People do wonder and ask us what GD and I do now we have left the rat race and many people thought we would be isolating ourselves moving so far away, however nothing could be further from the truth, we have a steady stream of family and friends staying with us and I just love to cook and feed everyone so I am in my element. I blog my recipes to keep them in one accessible place, originally to share with my lovely daughter, as I kept losing my home written notes and found it was a good way to share with wider family and friends when I was always getting asked for my recipes, so now they are on the blog. New crafts and skills that GD and I are learning I also put on the blog, like our adventures with the allotment and chicken keeping, our candle making and preserving.
For me the blog began as a diary to share with the family as our children married and flew the nest, I have always loved to write and this is one way of keeping close bonds within our family by the sharing and recording of events. I think life today is easily lost by the fast pace it is lived at and a lack of living in the present moment. Writing, recording allows me to savour the richness of now and fills me with gratitude as I look back over what I have written. Never a great one for speaking I love the language and freedom of the written word.
What I have found though is what started as a simple means to keep a family diary and a recipe book has turned into something much bigger, as well being those things, it also allows connection to other bloggers out there, blogging allows me to see the world through others eyes. I have found I love to share my research and experiences with others, triumphs as well as mistakes, as it is in the mistakes we learn the most. Plus my daughter and her family who still live near London get to share in our Cornwall adventures along with us.
Above left is the Cornwall clan in our kitchen minus me ( I’m taking the photo) top right making bread, bottom right clifftop walks with the dogs Ella, Daisy, Marley and Willow
Well, I think I have covered most of the questions I needed to and I have really enjoyed doing this ‘why’ post, so I will leave it at that then for now
Love and light to all, from CornwallNan xxx