You’ve got a friend in Read


We turned the key on an empty cottage in a village called Read last Saturday afternoon and began a new life in England. Our neighbour to one side, Joyce, is 87 years old and has lived in the house since she was born. The neighbours to the other side have lent us some chairs, their grown son’s Lego and even their internet connection. Straight to the front of our house are fields. Verdant, summery fields that we can spy from our bed. I am looking forward to the seasons passing on that view already.


And a walk up our lane reveals delightfully wobbly stone walls, a church, gorgeous cottages, a red letterbox. It is altogether delicious and a pretty great place to land our family.




The days are endlessly long at the moment – it is still light at 10:30pm and then starts getting light here again around 4am. I don’t want to think what this means for the winter here! But for the moment, the sun is shining and weekend summer adventures are already a-calling. Being awake with jet lag at 5am is made so much more acceptable by sunshine and a bowl of summer fruit!


We haven’t really settled into the house too well yet. We planned to buy most all of our big pieces of furniture here at the second-hand stores, expecting the rummage for retro finds would be fun. And it is. You should see the wardrobe and drawers we scored for Albie! But it is also taking longer than I ever want – patience is not my virtue. For now rooms are mostly empty, the walls are blank and we eat off the coffee table. It is a bit of an adventure for Albie, well for all of us really. And, it is a good lesson for me in how little the trappings that surround us really matter. I will be a pig in mud when our boxes arrive from New Zealand though, no doubt about it.

Till then, hanging with Marcus’ family, reading The Guardian in flesh instead of online, revelling in the sunshine and attending church fetes will just have to suffice. Oh, and toads. Albie and I planted some herbs this morning and a toad jumped out of an old planter box. A toad. A great big slimy green toad. Honestly, it’s Wind in the Willows over here. Keeping my eyes firmly peeled for Mole.