I've moved ... physically AND my blog
Yes ... it's been over a year since I have posted 😳
And it has been quite a year.
My last post was April 9, 2020—I had launched masks in the shop with the intent of raising money for my local food bank. My goal was to raise $500 and donate 50 masks for food-bank clients. I am thrilled to say that by the end of April, I had donated $3,000 to the tiny food bank in my small town.
While masks consumed my days last spring, our evenings were consumed with consideration of what we wanted to do next. No doubt, as this foreign phrase, "social distancing" was starting to enter the lexicon, our 10-acre, 40-miles-from-a-grocery-store accommodation was idyllic
But a wooden house, in the midst of 10-acres of woods is a lot to maintain and we had always known it would not be our forever home, but rather a fabulous place to enjoy early retirement and then escape from during the rainy months, in our tear-drop trailer, and head south. We did that for 4 years, completing our epic coast-to-coast-to-coast trip in the early fall of 2019.
We spent the spring of 2020 wondering what our next step would be and where we wanted to go. Spoiler ...
|UK Border at Heathrow Airport, London, England|
My husband carries UK, Canadian and US (since we married 25-years ago) citizenship. From an option standpoint ... we had many. But fundamentally, we had a few requirements:
1) We are both cancer survivors, so for us, affordable access to quality healthcare was a must.
- —Living in our small town, we knew that access to quality healthcare was closely aligned with larger metropolitan areas.
- —Further, the annual attacks on the ACA were wearing thin for someone with no other options.
2) It needed to be affordable.
- —As retirees with a fixed income, we knew what our financial limitations were, and we needed to be able to purchase our new home for what we could net from our existing home.
- —We had sold houses in Oakland, CA and Seattle, WA over the previous 20 years and knew that we were priced out of those, and many other, markets.
- —Also recognizing that housing costs are aligned with proximity to metropolitan areas, which are aligned with health-care quality we struggled with this one.
3) We were seeking a community that was aligned with our values and aspirations.
- —It wasn't a judgement call on others, it was us, seeking an environment that worked for us.
- —Ultimately, concluding that the UK and Canada were more closely aligned with those values.
So we applied for my spouse visa and when it was approved in October 2020, we sold the house, T@b trailer and cars. Spent nearly 2 months trying to figure out how to fly a 7-month-old English Setter to the UK during a pandemic and all arrived in the UK in December 2020.
We knew we wanted to be in the southern part of the UK (weather) and likely the west (affordable). I wanted to be a 2 hour train ride to London (city girl at heart) and future proofing ourselves, in a community big enough to have a good hospital system and strong public transportation. We spent the month of January 2021, in the midst of England's 3rd lock down, looking for which city/town met our needs. We were fortunate, being in the midst of the move, we were exempt from some of the lockdown restrictions pertaining to travel. Ultimately, we decided on Worcester. A beautiful town in the west Midlands, 40 miles south of Birmingham (2nd largest city in Englad), 40 miles east of Wales and 40 miles north of the bucolic Cotswold hills. The population is just over 100,000 and with 3 train stations, we have easy access to much of England, with central London (Paddington station) a mere 2 hours and 2 minutes by train.
|Worcester Bridge with Glover Tower & Worcester Cathedral in background|
We arrived in March and are settling in. Although it has clearly taken longer than I had anticipated to get the quilting going again. I am currently in the midst of doing an abstract version of my Brushstrokes quilt pattern for foot of the bed in the guest room. But what's really taking my time is the decorating of the guest room! Fortunately, John is a big help on the labor side of things ;-).
|Improv version of Brushstrokes Quilt|
So stay tuned and I'll share what I am learning about England. As always, my IG account is Shinersview, but I also have a personal IG account where I share my experiences in England, you can find me at lara9209 for that one.
Oh ... and the Brushstrokes quilt pattern is free and you can sign up for my newsletter and get your free copy here.
It's good to be back ... stay tuned!