I didn’t say anything about it to the family, but I was quite apprehensive about moving here. I loved my previous home and I loved living by the sea. I’d always lived in Edwardian houses with big windows and high ceilings and I was moving to a Tudor house with the opposite. I’d made my decision for good reasons and would brave it out if necessary – but it wasn’t. I loved it here from the start. In addition, having – really quite bravely for the shy person I was then – decided to make every effort to make all the new friends that I could, I found myself with a lovely social network that, with a few gaps when I couldn’t manage anything outside the home, continues still.
Mums and Tods met at the village hall and, I realised later, turned unintentionally into a closed shop. We were welcoming to others, but we were all aged about thirty, most of us of a similar ‘type’ and younger mums (dads would have been welcome too, but the situation didn’t arise) probably felt shy of us, which is a great pity. We had quite a lot of equipment and the children had fun while we chatted and played with them. In the summer, we saved the fee by meeting in each other’s houses and gardens. One time, we were at Adèle’s house when one of the children let a rabbit out and it darted into the bushes. I launched myself at the unfortunate creature, caught it – and it crapped on my teeshirt. I never did get the stain out, but my reputation for derring-do continues to this day*.
My mother and stepfather were due to move to our annexe, but then my lovely stepfather died of a heart attack, so my mum moved alone, nearly a year and a half after we arrived here. Of course, I introduced her to my friends and, as a result, Gill suggested we both join the WI. There was a village WI but it was rather in the doldrums, no one had joined for years and everyone was over 70. The Dnton WI, in contrast, had members from every age group from the 20s upwards. It was genuinely inclusive and met in the evenings, to accommodate those who were at work in the day.