Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Settling in (II): Community

DSC00979 (1300x967)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.

DSC00977 (1300x1008)So, then, where do I start?  

What is on your ‘have to find’ list when you move into a new place? 

My list shakes out something like this:



DSC00662 (1300x980)Goods:  Where can I buy stuff?

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.

DSC00664 (1300x975)Services:  Who can get things done?

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).

DSC01028 (1300x992)Transport:  How do I get from here to there without driving? 

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.

DSC00657 (968x1300)Health:  How do I stay fit and well?

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’.

DSC00914 (1300x976)Social:  Where do people hang out?

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.

DSC00959Local colour: How can I get involved.

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?

DSC01035 Stitch (1300x614)

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.


Textual Healer said...

Haven't been following your story much recently. What prompted the move? It is a lovely area and a very mild climate- but reputedly the most expensive real estate in the world. Good luck

Textual Healer said...

To the last part - try Swanage or Corfe

David Hampton said...

Hi, Nick, I hope you had a goo holiday! Its been a busy time, but my lease was up in Cambridge and I wss ready for a change, the focus ofmy business was shifting to a clinical center south of London, and I found an inexpensive rental along the beach in Sandbanks.

All in all, a chance to explore a new area and recharge - its a temporary move. I hope that things are going well with you - we should make time to get together after the holidays!