A Year On

A year ago we packed our life into boxes, said goodbyes and left behind a life in another city.

We left a community behind, the comfort of familiarity at the school gates, children we knew at the park, friendly faces in the local cafe. Close friends on call.  In a new place it’s easy to feel invisible, a bit lost. Literally, no one knows your name. That was expected, I’d moved before from London to the North. It takes a good two years to feel at home in a new places.

On moving day, we woke to a poorly child and our first weeks were hampered by illness.  It wasn’t the perfect start. Then just before Christmas the sky turned blue and we ventured out to begin exploring our new city.
A year on, where are we? Very much at home.  Bristol is vibrant, across the summer there is always something going on and it’s been brilliant to be part of that. It’s not all been plain sailing but we are getting there, things slotting into neatly fitting places.  For a while, it was a surprise if someone I knew spoke to me in the street. It was unexpected, for months it felt as if I was silently moving around unnoticed but that changes, more quickly than expected.  Parents from school have been allies and friends. Those kind of friends brew slowly.

Day to-day friendship are the best kind. Social Media has it’s objectors but there is always someone there, out in the ether of the internet, on the days when a busy street seems empty of a friendly face.

Molly and Jane became my neighbours. Like my mother lived with our neighbours through my childhood, sometimes a daily exchange, days goes past and I might only glimpse them passing by. When I need stoking up with a cup of tea, to borrow some sugar, or someone needs reminding to take in the washing because it’s raining.  They are there. Our garden fences are virtual, smart phones connect us. We are often sat on the back step late at night conversing. We shout messages to each other through the chaos of early mornings. Our lives bustle side by side.

Bristol is full of bloggers. Without them this year would have felt much more hollow. I am a communicator, I need to talk actual people sometimes.  Knitty Mummy welcomed me into her home, without actually having met me, she is more lovely than you might imagine. Purple Ella has become a star in a my local crown.  Being geographically closer to Chris has been warming and lunches in Bath, good for the soul.  They are stand outs but there are many more, whose paths I’ve crossed in parks and bars and events, people who have become familiar and good to know.

It’s easy to think, what if? What if we’d stayed, what if we’d made different choices and for a while that niggled, just a bit. When we do go North it’s no longer home. It’s definitely not where we want to be and that’s a good touchstone. It underlines this decision.  There is no going back, our future is here.


  1. Kate Takes 5 (@KateTakes5)

    Oh this rings very true for me right now. I’m at that invisible bit and it is pretty isolating. I wish I had some bloggers living around me! I love Bristol too, having holidayed there every year in my youth and lived there briefly in my 20’s, it will always hold special memories for me. So glad it was the right move for you. x

  2. Midlife Singlemum

    I love it when it all comes together and there is a happy ending. Or should that be a happy beginning? You don’t mention being closer to family which was one of your reasons for moving. How has that worked out?

  3. Mammasaurus

    Ahhh so lovely when you move to a place and it clicks for you. This is my 9th year of living in the New Forest and I’ve only just started to enjoy it in the past year. Some mighty fine blogging folk Brizzle way too, your good self included of course x

  4. Ruth

    Ahhh, you are such a lovely writer, and this is a fab post which resonates a lot. I’m really pleased you’re happy and getting settled, although I know that invisible feeling too… I like the thought that it takes 2 years for somewhere to feel like home. Most people would say it only takes one, and I think you probably know after one whether it’s going to work out or not, but I think two is more realistic to properly bed in somewhere. Hope 2014 is a fab one for you xx

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  6. Circus Queen

    It’s amazing when that happens. I’m glad you and your family feel so settled and it’s been lovely seeing you when I have. My own move to Bristol took place 3.5 years ago and it’s taken a bit longer to feel the way you describe. Now, though, Bristol is definitely home. When we go back to Brighton we really do feel like we’re visiting a memory, not home.

    1. helloitsgemma

      we had definitely fallen out of love of our previous home town and I think that has helped. Change was due. You are great company and it’s always good to catch up with you too. 

  7. Peggy Reinvented

    I can’t believe it’s a year already! I love your analogy of Molly and Jane and the virtual garden fences! I’m glad you met local bloggers in real life too. I’ve not connected much to local bloggers since I relocated and now I realise that I could combat my isolation that way! I’ve been in touch with one Devon mummy blogger though… she has a boat 🙂

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