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January 4, 2013

The last time I left “Dibley,” (my pet name for the charming Welsh countryside) for a length of time, my mother was ill and I wanted to be with her. I was away for three months, returned to Wales, and headed back when my father’s health declined. That visit lasted six weeks. Now we’re leaving again, only this time we’re taking the furniture and dog with us.

Yes, it’s all my fault. Funny how it seems that everything is my fault. If I hadn’t wanted more adventure in my life (driving around the world and living in a green Land Rover when I was in my 20s was just the tip of the iceberg), we’d have never left Wellington, Florida and moved to Wales. But living in another culture, one I was familiar with having married a Welshman and having visited the country several times, well, living in another country held an allure. It didn’t help that my friend Vickye and I were producing a website that was aimed at people looking to move away from the U.S., Canada and Britain and experience their own change of lifestyle. So, the bug caught me, we moved to Wales, and now, after two-and-a-half years, were going back to Florida.

Back to the heat. Back to the sun. Back to the traffic. Back to our friends. Back to our daughter, son-in-law and two delicious grandsons. They’re what we’re going back for. I miss them so much and don’t want to be out of their lives any longer — at least until they want us out, which should be in about ten years when they head off to college!

Yes, it’s all my fault, but I’m lucky. I happen to be married to a man who has a bit of “Ruth” in him. He’ll go where I go.

Our first stop in Wales was an idyllic cottage, perched on a hill overlooking three mountains. Between us and the soft peaks were velvet valleys, salmon-fed streams, silver birch trees, hedgerows, narrow country lanes and sheep. Living in The Coach House brought my dreams of life in Wales into reality.

Our second home lasted all of one month. Larger and located along the Usk River in the town of Usk, I felt like I was back in New York. (OK, that’s a stretch of the imagination, but think “living in town.”) We could walk to the post office, the grocery store, the hairdresser and several restaurants. The downside was that we had a landlord who ignored a major plumbing problem, saying he’d wait until it fixed itself!  We didn’t wait. We were out of there, fast!

Our friend Malcolm found us a gorgeous, huge, American-ized house in the hills above the town of Blackwood, in the Welsh Valleys. Now, this part of Wales isn’t posh. It isn’t trendy. It’s working class and dotted with old mining villages where the century-old terraced houses snake up and down the hills in long lines. But what I love about this area is its history. Everywhere you look are remnants of the past. A past that put Wales on the map.

The old coal mines and iron works that we overlook fed the world and made industrialists rich, while Wales and the Welsh starved. Our friends in Cardiff all talk about their grandparents living in this area when they first emigrated to Wales from wherever. And like many immigrants, they became financially comfortable and moved to the city. We did the opposite. We relish living in the working Wales, where the people are friendly, warm, generous, helpful, kind, sweet and neighborly.

When we lived in the posh part of South Wales, not one person knocked on our door to say hello for nearly a year and a half. Here, neighbors stop by to tell us our garage door is open, to say hello, to have a “cuppa” and a piece of cake. To talk about the black bunny that lives across the street, or the red fox with the white-tipped tale and his family that meander across the street and down another slope. Children ride past on their bicycles and wave to our dog, Breeze, as she sits in the window and watches. And yes, we have a view of rolling green hills and sheep, thousands of them!  This is the Wales I will miss terribly.

I’m not stopping this blog. I still have a lot to say. Until then, farewell to Dibley. I’m so glad you welcomed me and let me be a small part of your history. Stay tuned…

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2013 2:05 pm

    There’s no place like HOME!!!!
    Homeward bound!!!
    Should old acquaintances be not forgot and always be brought to mind!!!!

    WELCOME HOME, Jann and Paul, Pooches and Furniture!

    Great idea it was to travel the world. Live in a different topicagraphical site. But—-in actuality, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE THE GOOD OLE USof A-HOME!!!!

  2. Sal permalink
    January 4, 2013 3:04 pm

    You have SO much good stuff to go back to. *hugs* I’ll look forward to seeing your bog posts when you are home in Florida. God bless and good luck.

  3. Trudi permalink
    January 4, 2013 4:02 pm

    Yes you must keep Dibley going….it’s the curious romantic in you…who knew way back in our NYC days that it had a name? We’re thrilled you are returning, much as we wanted to visit you there. And we hope that Dibley will bring you out to LA and Utah! Until then, happy moving. It’s a chore but you know how to do it! And you are moving for the best possible reason: family and friends!

  4. Hope Jennifer Barron permalink
    January 4, 2013 5:18 pm

    I am so glad that you have had such an awesome Welsh experience, but I am so happy to have you coming back home – where you can spend time with your family and have LUNCH WITH YOUR FRIENDS! 🙂

  5. January 4, 2013 11:13 pm

    Sorry you’re leaving but I know what it is. People say, ‘Why don’t you live in your house in Tuscany all year round?’ I couldn’t. I prefer the life in Beverley, Yorkshire, where I can walk to the shops or to the lovely green countryside, watch the skyscape changing as I walk the Yorkshire Moors and the superb sunsets from my study at the back of my house and the Gothic Minster in front of it!

    Keep in touch,


  6. Shira Chiron permalink
    January 5, 2013 3:41 am

    I’m glad that you are returning and I hope to see you in February
    You are making a wise decision

  7. January 5, 2013 6:29 pm

    You can write wherever you are…

  8. peggy clarke permalink
    January 8, 2013 10:57 pm

    Well, I never got around to comment on your prior blog of how you were questioning your move and what you were missing and now you are already heading back! I had planned to say that you two have so much to share with your little ones and great memories to make with them and you should grasp that opportunity before they move on to building thier own lives and leaving us old folks behind. Most of my family reside in Boston and I get up there and some of them get down to Florida but I hate all the “events” that go on without me. Life is so short. Shane and I have gone to so many funerals the past few months and not all were at ripe ages. Really opens your eyes. Your writing is wonderful and appreciated no matter where you are living. We will be happy to have you around more and truly enjoy all that you share with us. xo

  9. Neely permalink
    January 11, 2013 3:56 pm

    As ‘ships passing in the night’, who knew we would have so much in common and so little time. We will miss you… please keep in touch.
    Neely & Ken

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