We are pondering how much longer we should enjoy our rural idyll-or to be more precise, how much longer it is
wise for us to stay where we are. Even nearly nine years ago when we moved to the Borders, abandoning London with scarcely a backward glance we did question the wisdom of purchasing a very big house with a large garden-old manses are generally very big-and living in a fairly isolated area with the minimum of facilities and infrastructure. Having the village post office on the kitchen table was a facility few others enjoy but did it compensate for a poor public transport, no walkable to shops or pub, the expensive maintenance of an 1870 structure which lacked even one square mm of roof insulation, large airy rooms almost impossible to heat, large drafty windows, big dusty attic and a garden which takes a lot of time to maintain to the barest minimum standard of acceptable decency and where the growing of fruit and vegetables, the pruning and clearing of non productive vegetation, minimal weeding of a large gravel frontage and drive takes up time and energy-both of which commodities are likely to decline fairly rapidly in advancing years. Of course we have support systems with a near neighbour who comes in to clean and iron twice a week and will help in emergencies ( Family arriving unexpectedly tomorrow!) Even the garden has its workforce, but irregular and unreliable in one case and we can't expect a neighbours daughter to help out with the heavy and relentless lawn mowing as her own adult life takes up more of her time and energies. But there are also pluses-the milkman, the Green Shop delivery cooking fat powered van, Britain's only registered Woman Sweep
But we like it here.: love the house and get great pleasure and produce from the garden-well some aspects of it. So if we do move (when we do move) it will need not to be too far but it will also need to be more urban with those facilities so missing here. A reliable source of fuel-our tanker driver has on occasion refused to come up our narrow lane for fear of damaging his paintwork on the profuse overhanging tundra rain forest-lots of good shops to walk to, A GP reachable on two crutches, golf course, church, crumbly coffee place, a brace of pubs and with in manageable distance of a rail head; Duns is the front runner but no reasonable offer refused: 4 bedrooms (visiting broods for use of) a kitchen with a view, lots of book shelves, low maintenance garden with a few veg beds and soft fruit-flowers optional, lawn pocket hankerchief size. And those looking for a magnificent manse in the pink of condition with prizewinning Organic garden-your search is over.
Oh yes it must be in the Merse. Although after 'Huttonian', 'Dunse' will be hard to get used to.