I’ve always been a city girl. I was born in London and spent my 20s in a tiny flat in Ladbroke Grove. It was on the main road, noisy 24/7, and slightly grimy from the traffic fumes. I loved it. I covered diary shifts for two newspapers so spent my life at parties – always willing to go out until the early hours. 

I lived in the city, which – although it may have slept sometimes – always had the option of fun somewhere. I soaked up every second with the energy and enthusiasm only a twentysomething can. Like the narrator Libby from Disney’s new series Fleishman Is in Trouble, and the book of the same name, I thought I’d never leave. But of course, also like her, I grew up and things changed.  

I met my husband Ed, who was very much a country boy. He was in the army stationed near Salisbury, and after we got married and spent two (painful) years in army quarters, I convinced him to move to Bath, where I’d lived as a teenager. It was a compromise between city and country and worked for us both professionally. We bought a tall terraced house a short walk from the centre and loved our (slightly gentler) city life.  

Like Libby in Fleishman, I hated moving to the suburbs - it gave me postnatal depression. I moved to the countryside for my children and absolutely hated it - we had to move back. Kitty (43), husband Ed (42) and Chloe (10), Max (7) on holiday in Devon. Pic supplied by Kitty Dimbleby <kittydimbleby@hotmail.com
Kitty (43), husband Ed (42) and Chloe (10), Max (7) on holiday in Devon. (Photo: Kitty Dimbleby)

A year in we had our daughter, Chloe, and as she got bigger, the steps of the Georgian townhouse became very hard work. We didn’t get on with the neighbours on one side and I started really dreading bumping into them outside the house, or in our tiny, cheek-to-jowl gardens. 

I dreamed of more space for Chloe, of cycling on country roads and hosting epic parties with no one to complain about the noise. And we couldn’t believe what we could afford by moving out of town – spare rooms for friends to stay and an office for me to write in rather than the kitchen table.   

We looked for a year until we found somewhere: the sun was shining and wisteria climbed the front of the house, an expanse of lawn led to open fields. The neighbours were all located a healthy distance away. ‘The Stables’ was slightly more remote than we’d been looking for, and in a slightly less desirable area, but it was still only 20 or so minutes from our current home. And we fell in love. So we took the leap.

There was lots to do inside and we embarked on a renovation project immediately stretching ourselves financially because it was worth it – this was our forever home. I became pregnant with our longed-for second child and Max was born when Chloe was three, just as we finished the work on the house. 

???FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE??? -- "Free Pass" -- Season 1, Episode 3 (Airs November 24) Pictured (L-R):Claire Danes as Rachel Fleishman, Jesse Eisenberg as Toby Fleishman. CR: JoJo Whilden/FX Fleishman is in Trouble TV still Disney+ Provided by sofia.biggs@disney.com
Claire Danes as Rachel and Jesse Eisenberg as Toby in Fleishman Is in Trouble (Photo: Disney)

Pretty soon things started to niggle: that 20 minutes into town was actually more like 30 minutes. I couldn’t face driving to the playgroups that had kept me sane when Chloe was tiny. Friends were less able to pop over when it was an hour round trip. And hosting overnight, with two small children, was exhausting – so the spare rooms stayed empty. I wasn’t working so had no need of the longed-for office. My husband was away a lot, and the lack of near neighbours now felt very lonely. I felt scared at night and hated driving back to the house in the dark.  

We had dreamed of country walks, striding through the fields with our dog and children. But Chloe, small for her age but too big to be carried, hated it and refused to go. Using the pushchair and a scooter wasn’t an option over fields; and it turned out our ‘idyllic’ country lane was used as cut-through and cars raced down it dangerously. We rarely went out as a couple – babysitters were harder to find and a £25 taxi ride each way was difficult to justify.  

I was increasingly unhappy and was diagnosed with postnatal anxiety, I knew my isolation was making it worse. Like Libby, I felt I’d lost all sense of myself, my identity, and felt stuck and lonely. 

One September evening – 19 months after we’d moved in – I told my husband we’d made a huge mistake. Unlike Libby’s spouse (who tells her firmly to appreciate her lovely life) Ed was very understanding; mine and the children’s wellbeing his utmost priority. 

Like Libby in Fleishman, I hated moving to the suburbs - it gave me postnatal depression. I moved to the countryside for my children and absolutely hated it - we had to move back. Kitty;s daughter, Chloe (10) outside the stables Pic supplied by Kitty Dimbleby <kittydimbleby@hotmail.com
Kitty’s daughter Chloe outside The Stables (Photo: Kitty Dimbleby)

We decided on a trial – we would rent our house out for weekends on Airbnb (we had already done so a couple of times when we were away, with great success) and use the money to rent somewhere in town. We moved into a small rental six weeks later and never looked back.  

It took a while, but we finally sold The Stables, losing money, and bought our current home five years ago: a semi-detached Victorian property with lovely neighbours, local shops, and a 15-minute walk to the centre of Bath. I couldn’t be happier, and Ed is, too. 

We’re five minutes from a great park, and the nearby canal path means the kids can cycle or scoot safely. We’ve found the best of both worlds. Chloe is now 10, Max seven, and they love our home – I know they will appreciate it even more as they get older and can meet their friends without asking mum for a lift. I’m still working at the kitchen table, but I don’t care. I’m just grateful we were able to admit we’d made a mistake, and correct it as quickly as possible. 

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