Brighton family taste 'Good Life' in Wales

Posted On 15 May 2011 at 11:23 pm

A businesswoman from Brighton is writing a book about her attempt to live the “Good Life” in rural Wales.

Kim Stoddart described how she and her family decamped from their comfortable Brighton house to a colder and muddier home outside Cardigan in West Wales.

Mrs Stoddart, a former public relations (PR) executive, wrote about the switch in The Guardian yesterday (Saturday 14 May).

The move by Mrs Stoddart and her husband Chris, 39, echoes the television series The Good Life, starring Felicity Kendal.

The comedy featured a suburban couple trying to live a self-sufficent lifestyle.

Mrs Stoddart, who founded Blue Rocket and Green Rocket, the PR businesses, said that she had tired of office life and wanted to develop practical skills.

She said that the first year and a bit had proved immensely challenging for her, Chris and their children Art and Berto.

“From cooking off a single gas-ring camping stove for nearly a month to dealing with escaped pigs in the road and frozen water pipes, we’ve come through it hardier and stronger.

Sheer joy

“There have been days when it’s rained so much the ground is so muddy you can barely wade through it and when the wind has been so cold the phrase ‘chilled to the bone’ takes on real meaning.

“But there have been many moments of sheer joy and the children love it here, really love it.

“What child wouldn’t relish being able to play in a field, feed pigs and collect chicken eggs, and then ride on tractors and diggers and the like.

“Who needs a day in a theme park when you have all that on your doorstep?

“The fact the children are of pre-school age has made the move easier.

“We didn’t have to worry about them having to start afresh at school.”

One of the highlights, she said, had been “watching our eldest son herd a neighbour’s sheep down the road”.

Mrs Stoddart sold her PR businesses in January last year to Brighton Housing Trust before she and her husband and the children – aged 2 and 4 – made the move to Wales.

She praised her patient, helpful and generous neighbours but denied that the move was a middle-class experiment.

She said: “Regardless of how my writing career takes off, and whether our finances lift, we are in this thrifty peasant living for the long term. It’s our definition of normal now.”

Last month Brighton author Neil Ansell published a book about his experiences of living in an isolated cottage in Wales.

Like Mrs Stoddart, Mr Ansell also praised the way his Welsh neighbours had helped him adjust to country life.

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