We lived halfway between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye ('in the middle of nowhere' as far as the children were concerned). The two older children were bussed into Hereford every school day and, consequently, did not have the opportunity to see much of their friends outside school hours during their first few months at senior school. Well, I knew that countryside life would be a big bonus for them as far as their future memories were concerned, but totally depriving them of their friends company except during school hours would have been too much of an imposition (having children brings back memories for all parents – no matter from how long ago).
But the solution was in my own hands. We had the 'luxury' of living in a very large old country house (and the more refurbishment I had done, the more 'luxurious' it became). And so, one of the first few things I did was to have the upper floor converted (to comprise two large bedrooms, a sitting/games room and a toilet/shower room) – with its own private staircase, completely separated from the rest of the house. The refurbishment of this area became 'the teenager's apartments', and so the problem of Mike and Sarah's isolation from their new-found friends was solved. It was so popular that we had an extra dozen (or even more on occasion) weekend guests at least once a month (sometimes once a fortnight in the summer months). This turned out to be a very popular arrangement: the 'townie' teenagers spending regular weekends with us in the countryside.
And I made sure that their time wasn't all spent indoors (though, of course many hours were spent up there during the evenings listening to their records, playing their computer games and – in their terminology – just 'chilling out'). During the spring and summer months I often took them outside for more energetic activities (like riding our little moped around the fields, and driving (learning how to drive) the old car I bought especially for this purpose, plus feeding the chickens, taking the dogs for a walk, visiting my in-laws nearby farm, etc.
Mike and Sarah still keep in touch with some of these old school friends 25 years later – even though Mike lives in Canada and Sarah lives in America nowadays.