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I think I will feel better if I return to my home town

(67 Posts)
mosaicwarts Wed 03-Jul-19 23:29:28

Hello everyone, some of you will know that I moved up to Northumberland because of my late husband's promotion 20 years ago.

Our sheltie loves the beach, and I take him twice a day now it's summer. He'll be eleven in October. The beach is the only thing I like about living here, it's a ten minute drive from our house, no traffic and the beaches are generally empty.

My house is on the market and I've been looking at the south coast but am having trouble choosing 'where'.

I've been looking at Rightmove tonight and looked at houses in my home town - and one has come up in my old road in Whitton, Middlesex.

I feel swamped by happy memories of my dear late Mum, my childhood, school, my husband (we had to live with my Mum for a while). I'm going to go down for a sentimental journey and have a good look around - my friend said it has changed beyond recognition, she doesn't think I'd like it. I couldn't afford a house there, but could just afford a flat. I don't have any family left there, I only have one aunt left and she is on the Isle of Wight.

Have any other widows returned to their childhood home town and felt happier?

paddyann Thu 04-Jul-19 00:33:00

I dont think its pssible to go back to somwhere from the past,I know my own home town is completely changed since I left it and I find some areas hard to recognise.By all means go look and enjoy your wander down memory lane but dont make a big decision without taking time to consider it carefully .Do you still have friends there or would you be starting from scratch with relationships too? That would be a consideration with me as I find it harder to amke new friends in my mid 60's than I did before.Good luck whatever you decide ,I hope it works out well for you .

gmelon Thu 04-Jul-19 00:40:20

Much as I dearly miss my home town it would be totally unsuitable for me to live there now.
If your home town meets your needs and is still a decent place to live then seriously consider going back. Certainly visit lots of times to get a feel of the place.
Maybe wait until the memories aren't as new in your mind so that you are as objective as possible.

mosaicwarts Thu 04-Jul-19 00:44:08

Thanks paddyann ... I've just been having a look, and the house for sale used to belong to a boy at my school, I've been trying to remember his surname for the past half hour! Terry something!

Now I've looked closer the road and the houses are quite run down looking, and I'm not sure I could stand the road traffic noise at the front, as well as the aircraft noise above.
Also quite insecure at the back, grotty metal gates over a carport - I don't like 'back alleys' behind houses. I think it's a no from me!

I just felt a sense of calm when I looked before, I do need a fresh start and I suppose this would be easy as everything would be familiar - unless it's been knocked down, I hope the library is still there. I won't know anyone if I did go home but don't mind, I've got very used to being alone.

Better go to bed, I get glued to this laptop chair somehow! Night night smile

hondagirl Thu 04-Jul-19 06:26:03

I think it is natural when you lose your husband to want to be comforted by what is familiar. I felt the same too. My heart kept telling me to go home. The problem is I do not really know where home is, having emigrated to Australia to be with family 8 years ago. I long to be back in England, but don't have close family there any longer and it would mean starting again and I don't know whether I can do that at my age. How long ago did your husband pass away? They do say you should not make any important decisions within the first 12 months of being bereaved.

Redtop1 Thu 04-Jul-19 06:28:51

I lived in Whitton too in 1968 to 1972 with my parents. We moved the short distance from Richmond. My parents continued to live in Whitton up until they died in 2004 and 2006. I never personally liked living in Whitton, much preferred Richmond, but I wouldn’t want to live in either now. I found Whitton really noisy and on the flight path with aeroplanes almost touchable flying over the house into Heathrow all day and late into the night with just a few hours respite until they started very early 4.30 ish in the morning, more so in the later years, just no respite from it 7 days a week. Chaos with traffic and worse when rugby was on at Twickenham, even the 24 hour opening Tesco’s shut when there is a rugby match on and I understand that the rugby ground now does other functions as well.

At that time I was living on the coast in West Sussex and much preferred my more quieter life to where my parents lived. After my parents died we went to live in Australia until 2017 when we decided to move back to the UK and ended up by chance in South Somerset so close to Dorset and a 30-35 minute drive to the beaches. We love it here.

Personally I would choose the Isle of Wight as it is calmer and a slower pace of life, like the UK was 20 years ago, plus you can always access Portsmouth or Southampton for better shopping etc.

Places change and I think we tend to have ‘rose tinted spectacles’ with regard to our younger memories and we change too.

Just my personal opinion and yes we are all different and have different wants and needs.

Good luck in your search.

BradfordLass72 Thu 04-Jul-19 06:31:35

as everything would be familiar

but it wouldn't dear mosaicwarts not after all this time.

You say there's nothing you like about Northumberland except the beach - is that because you've never got to know the local people by joining clubs and groups?

I know how it feels to be a stranger but you've been there 20 years now, surely you've made some connections?

I'd build on these if I were in your shoes, not go back to your home town where you'd still be a stranger. Experiencing that would break your heart because it's clear you want to belong.

You have memories of your husband where you live now, don't you?

I spent many years in a very small Cornish town where I knew (and liked) practically every one of the inhabitants.

Only 15 years later I went back for a visit and discovered that they, the town and I had moved on in every imaginable way.

There was friendliness for sure but I was now a stranger in their midst, no longer one of them, sharing daily rituals, knowledge and traditions. It was sad but inevitable.

When you move to your new home, where ever that may be, I urge you to get to know people. That might help you settle.

Anja Thu 04-Jul-19 06:33:35

Northumberland is beautiful with its beaches and countryside. I’m saddened to read your post.

Have you not made friends up there in the 20 years since you moved?

Anja Thu 04-Jul-19 06:35:13

Also you will not get the same standard of house if you move south. House prices are much costlier.

PamelaJ1 Thu 04-Jul-19 08:19:00

My friend has just moved back to the north hoping for a happier life! She is from Newcastle and firmly believes that people in the north more friendly than us down here.
Personally I think people are generally the same everywhere but if she is happier then so be it.
My point being that f you haven’t got any friends or relatives anywhere then just choose a nice house in a nice area and go for it.

BlueBelle Thu 04-Jul-19 08:31:45

A different thing I know but when I divorced I moved back to my home town which I never really appreciated when I was young I thought it was dull and boring
Anyway I did move back and some would still think it’s quiet and boring, and like all seaside towns it’s changed and not necessarily for the better, parts are run down but now I love it I support it with lots of community work charity shop, beach cleans, gardening volunteer in local park and I don’t want to be anywhere else my precious beach is on my doorstep
I m surprised you haven’t made any friends or roots after 20 years but there is an old adage that you should never return to anything you once loved ( including men)
Good luck wherever you go

GrandmaKT Thu 04-Jul-19 08:45:47

Aren't you moving to be closer to your DD mosaic (or did I remember that wrong)?
If so, I'd start by thinking about how close you want to be to her (both now and in the future), then look at places within that radius that would meet your needs. As the beach is so important to you and your dog, it sounds as if you'd be happiest on a coast.

TerriBull Thu 04-Jul-19 09:19:05

I think many of us romanticize our home towns, it's all bound up with childhood memories. Mine is a mere 8 to 10 miles away, I too at times have thought I'd go back there, but these places are rarely what we'd left, it's just a misplaced nostalgia. I know Whitton it's not that far from where I live now just a few miles, as with many places round here it's under the flight path, my husband had an office in Richmond close by and sometimes we'd meet up for a drink on Richmond Green, those planes would be stacked up one after the other with barely a minute in between. That and the M25 all in all it's quite polluted. My GP would tell me so many kids in this area have associated problems when I was consulting her about my children's allergies, asthma, hay fever and the like. Head off to the Sussex coast for cleaner air and cheaper property prices.

I wish you luck mosiac in whatever choice you make and hope it works out for you.

sodapop Thu 04-Jul-19 09:27:03

Be careful you are not seeing your previous home through rose coloured glasses mosaicwarts . I went back to a place where I lived previously and was so disappointed. The place was run down, lots of tacky shops and not at all how I remembered it. The people you knew there will have moved on too. I can understand your need to start afresh but be careful. Is there any chance of you renting for a while on the South Coast to get a real feel for the area ?

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 04-Jul-19 09:38:17

Yes. Late husband and I lived in the West Country which we loved. About three years after my husband died I moved back to the East Midlands. Of course it has changed, doesn't everywhere? As has the seaside town.
I have picked up my old friends and am nearer family. I will always miss the coast but think I've made the right choice. I am in a house again as opposed to a bungalow. Do you think you will be happy in a flat? Won't you miss having a garden? Good luck anyway, whatever you choose.

Lazigirl Thu 04-Jul-19 09:38:49

I think it's understandable to feel as you do mosaic because you are nostalgic for a time when you were so happy and life with your new husband was before you. Unfortunately as others have sensibly said, times changes and so do places and your home town may be a foreign country to you now. Have you drawn up a list of what is important to you in a new area? Sounds like you would really miss the beaches and peace of Northumberland where you have made happy memories too. Where do the people who are important to you live, and does that influence you? Although a nice area is important it's people that count at the end of the day.

M0nica Thu 04-Jul-19 09:40:59

A friend in her 60s returned to the place where she had been very happy in her 30s. It was the biggest mistake she ever made. The place had not changed, but she had. In her 30s, in a job she loved, with lots of friends (she was never married) and a great and exciting life, she had loved it there.

The town had not changed much, but she had. She wasn't working, none of her workmates still lived in the town, she was retired with a much smaller income and she found it very difficult to settle and make friends. The last five years of her life were lonely and difficult and I am sure her move led to her early death.

Septimia Thu 04-Jul-19 09:56:50

We moved from Surrey to the Durham/Northumberland border. I've been back to visit but I wouldn't move back. It's noisy, dirty/dusty and smelly; the traffic is horrendous. Yes, there are places that I loved about my birthplace, and still do, but even they don't draw me back.
The Northumberland coast is lovely, but not much fun if you're lonely. May I suggest that you do some research about different places that you find attractive or near to friends and see whether any of them have activities that you are interested in? Then, perhaps, that would help you choose where to go.

midgey Thu 04-Jul-19 10:22:23
Think this really sums up how I feel about your idea!

mosaicwarts Thu 04-Jul-19 10:35:54

How lovely to wake up to all of your comments, thanks for taking the time to write.

I will go on a sentimental journey there and visit my mother's grave at Hanworth. I had no idea Heathrow was so busy now, and had forgotten about the rugby disruption. My husband so loved the rugby. I can still hear him singing sweet chariot - we had it playing in the church at his funeral.

I was thinking about my lack of friends last night, and why I am so alone. Steve and I were so happy in each other's company, when he died I realised I should have made more effort to maintain friendships. He'd been so ill with his heart for four years I had refused invitations as I felt anxious leaving him home alone. We lived quietly and he had good friends at the golf club, the cricket club, and the local pub where he ran the darts team in the village.

When we moved here in 1999 I did make friends at the school gate, and we did have a good social life when the children were younger. I opened the village youth club, and was also chair of the PTA. However, I am ten years older than the majority of the parents as I had the children at 37 and 39. Most of the people here have their extended families surrounding them and are now busy looking after their elderly parents. I still have one original school gate friend, but she is very busy with her AC and poorly MIL, we meet for coffee every now and again for a 'catch up'. A very good friend I made here sadly passed from cancer five years ago - I've lost many friends here to it. I survive with the affection shown to me by my two best friends in London - during the beast from the east when I was house bound for five days, both of them phoned me.

I will return to my original thoughts of looking at the south coast, thank you for the encouragement.

mosaicwarts Thu 04-Jul-19 10:48:50

Love the poem midgey, says it loud and clear doesn't it!

Plunger Thu 04-Jul-19 11:02:13

Have you ever been on a fabulous holiday then gone back because you enjoyed it so much? Almost with an exception it's a disappointment. Keep your happy memories. We took GGM on a tour of her old stamping ground and she was in tears by the end. All her memories were gone - the school, the pub her old home etc

Callistemon Thu 04-Jul-19 11:07:26

I think that Whitton will have changed so much from all those years ago and you would find it so busy after living in Northumberland.
I'm not sure that you can 'go back' as everything will be so different from what you remember as a child. Can you join in some groups where you are, or find somewhere down south which will suit both you and your dog, with some open spaces? A small town, perhaps, which has groups such as U3A or WI which you could join to make new friends?

Good luck.

humptydumpty Thu 04-Jul-19 11:18:45

I've often thought I would like to return to Norht Devon/Exmoor where I have very happy chbildhood memories - but then I realised that the people I loved (parent, grandparents) are all dead - and that's what I miss most..

Dianic Thu 04-Jul-19 11:19:09

I'm a Hounslow girl myself OP, but I did live in a shared flat in Whitton when I was young. Wow! That's brought back memories... do you remember the Military School of Music, was it? Kneller Hall? I shared with a couple of squaddies who were in the "Band"... I think you'd hate it if you went back there to live, personally, but the south coast is still lovely. We're up in the East Midlands again now and I miss the coast, but the medical treatment DH gets here is brilliant so we are staying put. Saving for a small campervan so we can do days out with our dogs and DGS. Foreign travel is off the cards now after his lung cancer surgery last year (and my heart attack!). We hope that by going on these small adventures, we may happen upon somewhere we'd like to see out our days...
Good luck and enjoy the trip down memory lane if you do visit Whitton, Hanworth, etc.