I never set out to write a gardening blog. In fact, I didn’t think that was what I was doing. And yet, recently, I was telling a friend an idea I had had for a new post. “But that’s not gardening,” she said in surprise. I had to think about that for a bit. Is that what I do? I thought I blogged about life, about the cats, about curtains even and about the – oh, yes – about the garden.
When I first started thinking about a blog, I was still living in Scotland and grappling with the practicalities of moving four lives 350 miles south to Yorkshire. We just couldn’t work out what order to do things in. Do you find jobs first and then buy a house? Is there time to house hunt from a distance if you have a new job to go to? Renting wasn’t really an option with the cats and we were too far away to look properly anyway. Maybe you move first and then find work. But then how do you get a mortgage with no job to go to? And, most important, what sort of cat carrier is suitable for moving cats such a distance? Hmm, it was all very confusing.
So I did what any normal 21st century woman who worked in IT would do. I turned to the Internet for my answers. Whole evenings disappeared in a blur of Rightmove, job sites and relocation company sites (not to mention sellers of luxury cat carriers), all offering to find homes and organise removals at undoubtedly extortionate rates. But nowhere did I find a friendly “this is what we did” account of relocating. I sought advice from Jenny, a friend who had also relocated from Aberdeen, moving much further than us down to Devon. (She never did do things by halves). “Oh don’t follow our example,” she cheerfully told me. “We didn’t have a clue what we were doing.” Her husband did have a job to go to, as I recall, but I’m not overly sure they had actually seen their first home in the flesh before they moved in.
“What I need,” I thought, “is a blog. Someone who has written a diary about the process, reassuring, helpful and informative.” And so I set to work to find one. Let me tell you, good people, I couldn’t find a single one. Not one. Surely someone must have done it? There’s a blog about everything, isn’t there? Apparently not. I grew quite excited. Maybe this was a gap in the market? Maybe I should write one myself. Silencing the little voice in my head that kept saying I hadn’t written anything creative since school, and ignoring the boxes staring accusingly at me from the living room floor begging to be packed, I set up a Google Blogger site and put together my first post.
It wasn’t very good. But it was a start and with much trepidation, I pressed “Publish”. That was it – I was officially out there as the world’s first relocation blogger. Two minutes later, I checked the site and discovered I had had 19 hits, mostly in America. It was all too much, I panicked and seconds later, I had closed the entire site down. I had written the post – I wasn’t expecting anyone to actually read it!
I shelved the idea for a while, getting on with the reality of the move, but it bubbled away in the back of my brain. I learned very quickly one reason why there are no relocation blogs – who has time to write one when every waking minute is spent working, packing, selling houses, packing, buying houses. Did I mention packing? (If anyone is interested, my friend had it absolutely right. The only way to relocate is to make it up as you go along, with a healthy dose of faith along the way. As regular readers may know, in the end we bought the house first and moved with no jobs to go to, which is why, 15 months later, we both work for the same Scottish organisations we did before we left.)
Several months later, we were the proud, if slightly nervous owners of a Yorkshire home. As we settled in, my short-lived life as a blogger kept coming back to me and wouldn’t quite go away. Bad as it had been, it had unleashed something that I never knew was there. At the grand old age of 44, could it be that I had discovered I was a writer? Eventually, I knew I had to give into it. I had to try again.
Funnily enough, it was Jenny again who inspired me to take that first step. As a writer herself (a “real” one too – see my earlier post about our Devon holiday for more information about Jenny), she knew just how scary it is to put yourself out there but, ultimately, how rewarding it could be. And this was when I discovered the second reason nobody writes relocation blogs. By the time you have chance to process everything you have gone through, you have moved on – quite literally. And so my New Simple Life blog was born, because it’s where you are now that matters, not where you have been.
And yes, I know. It’s a gardening blog really – most of the time.