As you may have expected there has been a few comments about the idea of us living in Australia. I didn't say that we had decided that, I said we were going to go and spend some quality time with friends there and see what happens. If I do really feel happier in Australia or if thats just a myth in my mind, and if we will miss family too much.
I do really like being closer to my family. It is great for BB to have them around too. I would love to love living here. So, in addition to going to Australia I have also decided that we should scour this country for suitable places to live too. When I first came back I decided to look at Devon and Derbyshire as places to live. I actually ruled Devon out completely after I went and spent a couple of months there and I didn't like it. The narrow lanes and high hedges felt claustrophobic after a lifetime in the desert and fens, and I felt like I wouldn't ever feel part of the community. Derbyshire could still be possible though.
On visits back to the UK when I was living in Australia I stayed with friends in Wilsthire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire etc and decided that the part of the UK west of London and south of Birmingham could be a nice place to live. I have a sister in Hereford too, and BB adores her. So we checked out a couple of places in that area of the weekend. The first was Leominster, which had some nice features, but reminded me a bit of Wisbech, which has some negative connotations for me so I think that might be a no. The second was Ludlow, which so far we both love. Even though it was a dull, cold, rainy day at the end of winter, the place had a nice feel. Beautiful buildings, nice landscape around the town, fabulous river running through, a railway station, some nice coffee shops and galleries, a busy market square, even on a Monday in the rain in the low season. BB's first word to describe it was "it's awesome", and he loved the castle. It's only half an hour or so from my sister too. The only negative is that it is not so accessible to other parts of the country, being an hour from any major roads, but actually that is probably what makes it affordable for us in terms of property prices. So we now have a place on the list for further exploration in this country too.
I also recently went to Dudley for a training course. I lived in Birmingham for 4 years when I was studying and I did note as I was driving home that day that it felt good, even as I passed spaghetti junction and the hideous power station - I have lots of positive associations with that area. Birmingham is a good city, though I wouldn't want to live in it as I am so far from being a city person, it would be nice to have that close by.
So we do have options worth exploring in the UK too and I am looking forward to a summer here really checking some places out.
Photos are of our weekend away. BB found a nice pace to sit under a tree in Queenswood, loved playing with Doris the cat, and enjoyed climbing to the top of the tallest turret at Ludlow Castle, where he announced that we were "higher than the world". He then wanted to go into the church we he lit a candle for Nana, and then when we saw some similar candles in another area of the church he decided we should light one for other Nanna too - "the one who died before I was in your tummy".