RELOCATION, RELOCATION, RELOCATION: WHY WE ARE STAYING PUT IN EPSOM AND EWELL…
Posted by Michelle Casey on 18 Oct 2020
Since we met in Australia in 2007, the hubby and I have lived a somewhat nomadic lifestyle. We never intended this, but such is life. We hail from opposite sides of the Irish border and have spent time living in different parts of Ireland and England.
2019 saw us relocate. Again. With two children now in the mix, the stakes were higher. At that time, we were living near my hometown in Northern Ireland. The move to the borough of Epsom and Ewell was a bit of a random stick a pin in a map decision (not literally). The hubby’s job meant we wanted to be close to London. We also wanted to give South of the Thames a go. With a few connections not too far away from the borough, West Ewell was where our pin landed.
As the move loomed, I spent the months agonising. Would the kids be happy in our new area? Would my little boy be happy in his new school? Would we miss the open space we took for granted in Northern Ireland? Would we miss being a short drive away from the beach?
The borough of Epsom and Ewell has not disappointed. We have been blown away by:
GREENSPACE ON OUR DOORSTEP
The green space on our doorstep: bike rides at Horton and stopping to have a look at the horses; the ‘perfect for scooting’ hills at Nonsuch Park with imaginary tea parties in the ‘forts’ ; deer in all their majesty at Bushey Park; navigating the Narnia trail at Banstead Woods and building ‘dens’. And of course, our own little gem right around the corner from our house: The Hogsmill. It’s perfect for my two intrepid little explorers. They adore getting ‘lost’ in the trees. We have wiled away many a ‘1 hour of exercise’ there during Lockdown: feeding the ducks, fishing for tiddlers, climbing trees and general frolics.
THE PEOPLE / COMMUNITY
And then there’s the people. Back in Ireland our family had a certain perception of living in London. Anonymous, don’t know your neighbour London (I know it’s Surrey but for them it’s one and the same). But we have enjoyed such a sense of community since moving here, both before and during lockdown. Amid the ‘Great Flour Drought of 2020’, I mentioned on our street WhatsApp group that I was having trouble getting hold of wholemeal flour (I know, I know-first world problems). A few hours later a lovely neighbour came knocking with a surplus bag she had- hooray! Banana bread all round…
On another occasion recently my little boy had left his bag at the local playground. I walked back to get it later that evening and could not find it. I put up a post on a local Facebook page (Danetree Friends) and before I had completed the ten minute walk home, I had a reply to say it had been found and would be waiting for him in school the next day. As I mentioned we have lived in a few places, but I have never experienced such a strong spirit of community as that of Epsom and Ewell.
There is a great variety of playgrounds in and around Epsom and Ewell. Our favourite, at the moment, is Long Grove Park. The playground itself is well maintained. The smooth surrounding paths are perfect for little bike riders recently off stabilisers and there are good parking facilities. The skate ramp next to the playground is a lot of fun-get there early before the teenagers have surfaced if you have little ones.
Our favourite restaurant in the area is The Neapolitan Kitchen in Ewell village. It is warm and welcoming, even when we have two fractious kids in tow. The food is great, and portions are generous. Our favourite takeaway in the area is House of Hummus in Epsom. It’s delicious and relatively healthy. The tabouleh and hummus are outstanding.
Of course, nothing can make up for the fact that we miss family back home. And it’s hard to alleviate the guilt we feel at taking the kids away from their grandparents and heritage. Despite that, we are incredibly happy that we struck out to England and we struck lucky with Epsom and Ewell. It’s really starting to feel like home.