Island living

I’m writing this already feeling scared of losing our dream property.

It’s not a case of weighing up the pros and cons of a move to the Island or a move to the Wye. We’re going to go after this house, and if we don’t get it, there’ll be no point looking elsewhere on the Island. That’s how it feels right now anyway. We couldn’t look for what we’ve been searching for in the Wye, on the Island. It is a different dream lifestyle again, so different. We’d perhaps consider North Devon. That would be our consolation. That having to think seriously about moving to the Island opens up anywhere in the UK. We love the options being wide open.

Living in the Wye would have resembled island living, and that’s what appealed to us about it. It’s tucked into that pocket of land separated by the Severn estuary, accessible from England on two sides only, from Gloucester or the toll bridge. Far enough away from London and close enough to Wales to put alot of (misguided :p) people off. You’re cut off, in a nice way. That’s what makes the Forest so quaint, unpretentious, old-fashioned in places, charming. Just like the island. It’s like an old character property that hasn’t been harshly modernised. It could do with a bit of money spending on it, a bit of TLC, but thank goodness it hasn’t been gutted, spoiled.

But how does the Isle of Wight stack up against the Wye Valley? Why does it feel more exciting yet more of a leap? Which option is riskier? We know the Isle better than the Wye, and our gut instinct tells we’ll ALL (7 of us) be happy on the Isle. We’re not so sure about the Wye. The negatives:

  1. The distance. The IoW is further away and takes WAY longer to get to for family visiting. However, even living in the Cotswolds, we have wanted to limit our previously monthly visits to the Midlands to once a year, so we can really enjoy family time here, and limit travel because of all the travel we do for work and what that asks of the kids, plus our cosleeping arrangements don’t easily transfer anywhere else. It’s only going to get more awkward as we have more kids. Being on the Island really would make us stick to the driving home for Christmas ambition. Also when family do visit, we will have room for them! Nice, comfortable room. And it’s a holiday destination! They can stay for longer.
  2. The Solent. Being separated from the mainland not just by an estuary but all together makes the island more affordable for us. Fewer people want to live there and fewer commuters will consider living in Ventnor which is as far from the mainland as you can get on the island. If Ben is to keep his job in Gloucester he could not commute from the island. This means living apart as a family for as long as it takes to get a job on the island or in Southampton or Portsmouth. The commute is long even though he could spend half of it writing on the ferry. Ben is not keen.
  3. My career. Being cut off from the mainland seriously limits the number of ceremonies I will be able to do. Again, Ben is not keen on the driving time involved, there and back. Even a 30min radius from Southampton or Portsmouth is asking alot. All of my first meetings would be over Facetime. I’d probably have to find another job on the island. But what?
  4. Friends. I have recently built up a close circle of friends I had planned to meet up with twice a month from the Wye Valley. That wouldn’t be possible from the IoW. I would really miss that connection. I might see them once a year if I am lucky.
  5. Garden. Not a sacrifice for Ben or I, as long as we can find a spot for the roses and help them thrive in coastal conditions. Not really a sacrifice for the kids as they will adore having a pool, and the beaches on their doorstep. It’s going to affect Mom who will lose her chickens, and the rural lifestyle that is her dream. Although I can see her loving the lifestyle the IoW house affords. She could feel like she had retired. She could truly relax and feel like she was on holiday every day. When we were on honeymoon there, we felt like we could have been in the South of France. But she thinks she’ll be bored. But if we got her an allotment?
  6. Separation. On the IoW we’d live under one roof. In the Wye, we’d have the separation of two dwellings. Ben had already mentioned he’d prefer Mom to be in the main house so she didn’t get lonely. She would have her own entrance to the house. But she doesn’t like the idea of sharing the entrance with B&B customers.

~J

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