Well, that's it, our house is officially on the market now. It feels weird, the prospect of moving after 18 years here, but no regrets. We've done a lot of soul-searching over the last year or so as to whether it is the right thing to be moving about 4 hours drive away from our sons and DH's family, but we don't see any of them more than every three weeks or so now, so that's not going to change too much, and 4 hours isn't that much of a drive. And a new adventure is just what we need - and it'll get DH away from working in London, which can only be a good thing.
So, feeling a tad nostalgic, I thought I'd take you with me on a walk into Reigate, which is about 8 minutes walk away. The 'modern' town dates back to the 11th century, when it was given to William de Warenne by William the Conqueror. It did have a castle, though there are no remains, just a big hill in the centre of town. Many of the buildings date from mediaeval times, though the facades have been altered over the years.
So, come with me on a short tour. This is our house, an Edwardian semi built about 1910. All the houses in the road were built at the same time, by the same developer, but are all slightly different from each other. As you can see, we made the sad decision a couple of years ago to have our front garden paved over, which detracts a lot from the look of our house, but was a necessity, especially since the local council in their wisdom decided to put double yellow lines outside our house!
We have a lovely walk into town, through
two 'walks' , South Walk and East Walk - which are pedestrianised walks with a huge hedge and shrubbery between them and the road and they bring us right into Reigate town centre.
This is Knight's, our local 'department store' - it's an old family business which recently had a bit of a make over, but it's still very
old fashioned, with lots of sales people keen to serve you. It has kitchenware, furniture, linen, hosiery and women's clothes
departments as well as selling haberdashery and some fabric. It also has a small crafting department.
This is The Old Town Hall, a building that once served as town hall (upstairs) and town gaol and market place(downstairs). It's now a Caffe Nero. It was built in about 1728 to replace a similar earlier building.
This is another of the old buildings in the town. You can still see the black and white half timbering in the upper stories which date the front at least to early Tudor times, though the back of the building is probably older. If you're interested in seeing further pictures of Reigate past and present look here.
On my way back I came through the Tunnel, which runs right under the castle mound. Reigate Caves are also built into this mound, dating from when the castle was built in 1088. There was originally a tunnel built as a route that could be used to smuggle people and food into the castle, or as an escape route in times of seige. Later, the caves were used as cellars and, at one point, for illegal sand mining.
This is a statue of the great English ballerina, Dame Margot Fonteyn, who was born in Reigate in 1919.
And eventually, back home, past this glorious rose bush.
I hope you've enjoyed this short tour of Reigate.