Escape to the country proves perfect move for Meadowside couple

David Paterson and Mo Yan

David Paterson and Mo Yan were happy living in their home in northwest Edinburgh. It was handy for the beach and for walks and the couple spent their weekends enjoying outdoor pursuits. But then the first Lockdown happened and their quiet neighbourhood was suddenly transformed into one of the busiest districts in Edinburgh.

“So many people were heading here from the city for a bit of exercise, which was completely understandable, but we felt a longing for the peace of the countryside,” says David, a former deputy director of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and senior horticultural consultant in China, who loves walking, camping and canoeing.

At first they planned to buy a holiday cottage close to family in the Hebrides, but when that fell through because of the huge demand for rural properties they found themselves viewing a four-bedroom ‘Durrell’ property at Cruden Homes East’s Meadowside development in Aberlady.

David says: “We were on our way to look at a house in North Berwick when we called in at the development and before we left we had made up our mind to make the move.

“It has the spacious rooms that we were looking for and we liked the quality of the build. We had looked at properties with some other builders and they just looked flimsy by comparison, but at Meadowside you can really see that the homes are well-built and the slate, stone and tiles used on the exteriors mirror the existing homes in the village. It gives a real synergy to the development.

“There’s space around the homes, they aren’t crammed together and the range of different house styles adds a sense of character. And we  also liked the fact that Aberlady is a proper village, with a shop, a pub and a restaurant. We wanted somewhere rural, yet we are close to North Berwick and we can be in Edinburgh in a very short time.”

The house has an open-plan kitchen and dining room, with utility room, and a comfortable lounge, while upstairs both the master bedroom and the guest bedroom are en-suite.

“It is really useful for when we have visitors,” says David, who has transformed the garage into a storage area for his canoes and camping equipment.

For Mo, who teaches accountancy and finance at Queen Margaret University, the move has cut her commute by public transport from more than an hour to just 20 minutes and when she’s not at the University or working in the his-and-hers offices that they’ve created in two of their four bedrooms, she can join David at the beach or in the beautiful East Lothian countryside.

For someone who previously has always lived in older homes, the level of support given to buyers has been a welcome surprise to David.

“We’ve been extremely satisfied with the customer service. Margaret and Lynsey in sales and the whole team on site have done everything that we’ve asked of them and they’ve frequently done more than was required, so when they asked us if a couple who were thinking of buying a house in the same development could see around our home we were more than happy to welcome them in and they have since become our neighbours.

“Since then we’ve also recommended Cruden to a colleague of Mo’s who is now about to move into a Cruden Homes property in Longniddry.

“When we first started to think about moving I was reluctant to give up our Edinburgh postcode but I’m 100% certain that this has been the right move for us.”

And now that they are settled in, David has turned his expert eye on the garden.

“I’m growing lots of things from seeds and cuttings and I plan to leave the extras outside the gate for other residents to use in their own gardens.”

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