Helllooo – ooo – ooo, is anyone there, there , there? *Taps on screen* So, it’s, ahem, been a while. 2 months shy of 2 years in fact since I posted here, I’ve written a few posts over on my running blog but fair to say I’ve lost the urge to write.
But an awful lot has changed since that last post (still making awesome sourdough though which was the subject of that last post), we’ve moved countries for one. Which is the main subject for this post, I thought it was about time I shared a little update about this Welsh adventure we’ve embarked on and some of the plans we’re making for the future.
I’ve written in the past about the dream of finding a job that isn’t in an office, or a job that is more closely linked to my passion for running, cycling and the outdoors. The Lady of the Manor and I have also always dreamed of owning a smallholding and trying to live a simpler life. So at the end of 2017 as I found myself in a job that I really wasn’t enjoying and was becoming quite stressful we decided to stop talking about the dream and just get on and do it. After all, if it doesn’t work out we could always move back again.
So that’s the reason why we decided to make a change but where does Wales fit in? Quite simply Wales ticks a lot of boxes for us; the countryside is stunning and perfect for running and cycling, house prices are lower if you’re willing to be away from the major south coast cities (perfect for us) but there are still reasonable employment opportunities for us both. What we hadn’t expected to find was such great small towns full of life and independent shops or such a welcoming and fun community, particularly at school.
I started applying for jobs in areas that could work for us and 2 months later found myself driving down to Swansea for an interview. I was successful and with a start date of 1st June 2018 we not only needed to sell our house but also find one to buy. The Lady of the Manor and I aren’t ones to draw out a house search, we bought our first house in Trowbridge having only visited the town for 3 hours. This search wasn’t too different, we booked a weeks holiday in Wales at Easter and after much internet searching came to visit 2 houses, falling immediately in love with the first one we visited which is a 1800’s farm house near Llandovery.
I spent the first 2 months of my job staying in different AirBnB’s from Monday to Friday and coming home for the weekends only before we finally got a moving in date in the middle of September. Moving house is never without stress is it? Thankfully my new employer paid some of my relocation costs which certainly helped and meant we could pay the moving company to pack for us. It’s an expensive service but so worth it, definitely not in a hurry to move again though!
We’ve now been in our new house for 9 months and I’m amazed at how settled we feel. There were a few wobbles at the start from the children going to a new school and missing their friends but we’ve really lucked out with the group of children and parents we’ve made friends with there. Often meeting after school or at the weekend for walks or just to hang out, we did ice skating and a party together at Christmas and next weekend we’re off camping to celebrate the end of term with them.
We have 5 acres of land in total across 3 fields, definitely a huge learning experience understanding how to manage the land but we have big plans for the farm in the future the first step of which is getting some sheep in the next few weeks. We also had our first hay baled last week which was awesome, even if I didn’t get to drive a tractor this time! We have some chickens already and I’m doing my best to get some vegetables growing. It’s busy, tiring and there is always a long to do list but while I continue needing to do an office job it’s a great antidote to the hours spent indoors during the day.
The big goal is some level of self sufficiency and the plan currently features; sheep, goats, bees, cider, fruit trees, an AirBnB room, a tractor, hay bales, trail running weekends, photography and a whole lot more! I’ll share some more about the house and land in a future post, but for now here’s some photos from the past 9 months that I think capture perfectly this Welsh adventure we’re embarking on.