So, we finally did it. After nearly a year of planning and thinking, selling and buying houses, we arrived in beautiful North Yorkshire just before Christmas. We had moved with no jobs to go to, just the crazy optimism of a couple in love that things would work out and that we could live the dream. We knew nothing about gardening and yet it was the garden we fell for. “Good for the cats” we told ourselves, coining the phrase “good cattage” to describe the safe environment that we were looking for. “Good for the cats”, all the time dreaming of the veg we would grow and the riot of colour we would create and nurture. Inside the house, we chose to overlook the evidence of leaks from the water tank in the loft, the blown double glazing and the ancient kitchen, in favour of the high ceilings, the open fires and the stunning views across the fields over to the White Horse cut into the hillside.
We embarked on our new adventure on a cold and sunny December morning – a seven hour drive south with two very vocal and unhappy cats. The Calamity Cat cried all the way to Dundee; the Princess kept it up as far as Perth. After that, they still grumbled regularly, as if to remind us that they were there. As we pulled into the narrow drive of our new home, they started again, making it clear that they had been very patient but they really needed to stretch their legs now and have some tea. Any thoughts we had of keeping them safe in one room to get used to the house gradually didn’t last long, as they were determined to explore every inch of the place. Our furniture was already here and we had unpacked most of our things on a brief trip down the previous month so our surroundings were familiar to us all at least.
Our first Christmas a few days later was a very quiet affair, exhausted as we were by the enormity of what we had achieved. The four of us curled up together in front of our roaring log fire and started to settle in. On New Year’s Eve, our lovely and ever so slightly mad neighbours invited us round. After an evening full of fun and laughter, we toasted the arrival of 2016 with our new friends, looking forward to our new Yorkshire life together.