I like living in Dorset a lot. The sea has endless variety and character for walks, the family and neighbours foster a normal social environment, and I like my aerie where I work and live above the house. With the move complete and more time to settle in, I’ve started to turn to getting to know the community better, an hour’s exploration every day.
What is on your ‘have to find’ list when you move into a new place?
My list shakes out something like this:
The nearest villages are Canford Cliffs and Sandbanks, but both are focused on restaurants and real estate offices. I need to know where the grocery and gas station are, where to buy shoes and housewares. The general answers lie along the commercial roads leading into Poole , but there’s a fine Tesco Express two blocks away.
This is, first, someone who can dry clean the clothes, service the car, or mail a package. I’ve got a library card and have sorted out computer access to their copy/scan/ fax services. I have a local Dutch tutor (first things first!). And, consistent with balans en grens, a few of us are trying to sort a shared office assistant (half a day of dedicated time each week would make a huge difference).
I’ve worn driving paths to the ferries and to London in the car, but really need to get on public transport, both locally and globally. I’m researching and experimenting with the best way to get to Maastricht from Southampton airport, or beyond from Gatwick or Heathrow. Where, how often, how long, and how much to get a train to London, Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield, or Cambridge? Is there a good link to Southampton or a scenic bus routed along the coast? Unfortunately, my neighbours are not ‘mass-transit’ sort of folks, so this is grunt internet research.
Walks; fresh sea air, morning or evening when the light is just so. But I need to figure out where the doctor, dentist, hospital and pharmacy are. I work with University hospitals,so know people if there were anything serious, but everyday things require some digging And a fitness centre would be nice, but these folks do more yoga, biking and sailing: the costs probably balance out. My only limit is ‘no kite-surfing’.
A combination of walking-around and visiting with neighbours gives a good foothold on a restaurant or two, the pub with music, and a coffee shop overlooking the sea. The yacht clubs and schools are a focus for many folks,but those are both outside of my sphere for now (although I’ve gladly accepted guest invitations to both). There are plans afoot to visit parks, museums, and MENSA mixer evenings; a neighbour is hosting a tea this afternoon.
There is lots of money sloshing around (the fabled ‘widows and orphans’ investors) so I’ve reached out angels in the local investment community to see if there are mentoring and diligence opportunities. The boating connections are also pretty fruitful: people have suggested a couple of places to learn dinghy sailing or to join a club. All I need is some wet-suit bits to keep me warm. And then there’s the planning for New Year’s parties, well underway in October.
Personal spaces: Where do I feel most comfortable?
There needs to be someplace where I go to relax and renew. Somewhere that I can take a friend for a quiet conversation, or just sit and watch the waves or walk at the sunset. Someplace for inspiration and renewal. Its bigger than a park or a pub, closer than Lulworth Cove or the New Forest. I know the feeling I want, just not the instantiation yet.