Friday, June 17, 2011

The defining dilemma of my life.

Image courtesy of Mshades on Flickr, who also has a photostream of a very cute Pug named Milo!

I know I've been quiet lately, but it's because I'm struggling with the defining dilemma of my life: city vs. country. But before I begin, I'd like to just point out how interesting it is that themes sort of roll through the interwebs; last week BetsyTransatlantically wrote about her country getaway and I have several other friends who have been emailing me about their city/country balance problems. Maybe it's because of the eclipses?

Anyways, last weekend The Irishman and I went to the Wiltshire countryside for our friends' baby's first birthday party. It was my first time as an adult at a child's birthday, and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite my blatantly absent desire for children. This little guy is pretty much the coolest baby around and it was great to celebrate his first year with him and his parents and all of our friends. But I did leave the party with a yearning – a yearning for more outdoor space, better access to nature, more room.

After spending the weekend looking out at rolling vistas from a patio full of flowers, The Irishman and I returned to our small, cramped flat and made a big decision. We are ready to move. Not out of town, but to a further ring of the onion that is London. We want at least two bedrooms and some outdoor space. I dream of a little studio space for making things, and I dream of sitting on a lounger in the sun surrounded by potted geraniums. The Irishman wants a full herb garden, even if it's in pots or hanging, and possibly some little tomato plants. Oh, and we also want to keep saving for a house. So realistically, we need to move farther out, probably to the furthest edges of Zone 2.

It's a big step for me. I've only ever lived in N1, and frankly, I love it. But my desire for more than a room with a bedroom attached and enough money to eat in restaurants and buy shoes is outweighing Angel's many charms and conveniences. I'm looking at this as an adventure, and planning a few Sunday excursions to new areas of town. We're concentrating on small village-y areas that feel like small towns within the larger metropolis. This Sunday is Highgate, and Crouch End, Dulwich, Stoke Newington and possibly Walthamstow aren't far behind. We have the luxury of one month's notice, and no deadline for finding a place, so we can be as picky as we want (which won't be hard).

Any readers out there live in a village in London that they love? Any tips? I'd love to hear your neighborhood suggestions!


  1. I live in East Finchley but a short walk away from Highgate. Highgate is fab. It's very sweet, small and definitely has that cozy feel. There's an award-winning (I think...) pub, a tea room, book stores galore and sweet parks.

    Hope you have a successful find! Looking forward to hearing all about your search for the perfect village.

  2. Clapham! :) But actually I work in NW and have found West Hampstead to have pockets of loveliness too. So many options, such an adventure!

  3. Oh, there's A Fair in the Square today in Highgate. Get to meet a bunch of locals and business owners if you don't mind popping up a day early.

  4. I love Dulwich, Nunhead and the outer areas of Peckham by the Rye. That's probably where I'd live if I wasn't so wedded to Brixton. It's villagey without being ridiculously twee...

  5. Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions! I'll keep you updated with how the search goes!