When I met the Peeb I was 27, I was living and working in London and loving every minute of London life. I am hugely into food, and I shopped at the famous food markets and the best supermarket (the Turkish Food Centre) for amazing, fresh produce. I ate out several times a week, stuffing my face with Thai curries, Korean kimchi, Vietnamese pho, and sushi… sushi… endless wonderful sushi… Interspersed with hours in the Korean karaoke/internet cafe near Charlotte Street, walking on Hampstead Heath and getting to know every cool bar and food stall in every grubby corner of the city – I had a fabulous, fantastic time for 7 years. I love London. But I knew there would come a time when I’d had enough – of the commute for a start. Of the expense. Of the occasional arseholes on buses or in pubs who wanted to intimidate. And forever in the back of my heart was the longing to return to Cornwall.
Dad was here, though. Dad’s house in Falmouth provided a cosy, calm and red-wine-soaked haven from London for me, and sometimes a friend or two would join me in the escape from town. We’d walk the familiar streets out to Gylly beach cafe and back round the headland via the castle moat, to the Chainlocker for a end-of-walk cider. I remember arriving by train in Truro at 11pm ish four or five times a year, and lowering the train window and gulping in the green, damp, fresh air of this special place. Dad would be waiting to give me 36 hours of food, wine and Sky TV while I walked myself senseless, slept like the dead, and he’d finally put me back on the train at 14.41 on Sunday, with a lump in my throat and a warm pasty in my hand to take me back to Paddington.
So when I met the Peeb, a Bristol boy, it was just a matter of time before we headed west together. I miss London, I do… but Cornwall is my home.
I have been through more trauma and heartbreak since returning here than ever before in my life. But in a very real way the natural beauty and kind people of this place have helped and supported me and my family through all of that.
To anyone thinking of making the move west, I can only say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. We are both happier than we’ve ever been, our lives are so much healthier now, we live within our means here as so many pleasures and experiences here are totally free of charge.
Have you made a big move to leave a city? You’re welcome to share your experiences in the comments below, I’d love to hear about them.