If I have to do the weekly shop (which is Mr HB’s job, on the basis that ‘I spend too much’), I like to go first thing – I didn’t during lockdown, of course, as the early hours were a time for vulnerable folk to shop. Driving out the village at 6:20am always feels a little exciting – so much of my life is house and child-bound and yes, I might be awake early, but getting out of the house is another story.
It’s still our first year at the new house, so my spirits rose as I passed a tree in full blossom on the side of the A7. The Japanese have it right with hanami, a tree full of flower is something to take time over, celebrate.
Yesterday was Blossom Watch day. Grateful to be on trend, for a change.
Moving from a small village surrounded by countryside to, er, a small village surrounded by countryside, I thought a lot of things would be the same. But the longer we live at the new place, the more differences I’m seeing. Now we’re into our first Spring here, there’s lots to see.
The deer don’t just hang around in the winter – we see them all the time. At the old place, I would see deer sometimes – it was exciting that day we saw one on the way to school – but there are definitely more where we live now.
And I used to love that day in Spring I would drive out of the village and see lambs in the fields. Now, they’re just a walk away. Down the hill, up again, and there they are: cute little wriggles of Spring joy.
Neither me nor Mr HB have ever liked new houses.
Me and Mr HB have just moved into a new build.
We looked at loads of houses – anyone who’s ever moved knows the drill – driving around your chosen area looking for For Sale signs, etc, etc. There was always something not *quite* right. Like, it had the right number of bedrooms but only one bathroom. We’re just about to have teenagers! Or it was perfect but had a galley kitchen. Anyone who has ever been to my house knows I spend most of every day in the kitchen!
What we realised, eventually, is that ‘modern houses are designed for modern living.’ Yeah, the new house doesn’t have character. But it has everything we need, multiple bathrooms, vast kitchen-diner. And there are quite enough characters inside its four walls…
Would it work to introduce my trauma as a character in this blog?
Well, I don’t have to do it twice…
Let’s call them Mx T. You know I’m going to give them they/them pronouns and title, right?
Mx T moved house with us in July. I was worried they wouldn’t fit in anywhere, but the removals firm sent an extra lorry and winched Mx T on.
We tried to leave them in the driveway, but…
I kept moving them from room to room and because they are so heavy I was exhausted. Those first days, I kept having to go to bed. Mr HB was a hero: he sorted the kids out and did everything that required a screwdriver or a practical brain, while I lay in bed as it pitched and rolled. Balanced above Mx T, stuffed underneath.
It’s weird, I only spent just over a year in full-time academia, and yet September is still my ‘new beginnings’ month.
January is just lentils and baked beans and NO FUN until pay day, am I right?
This year is even more special because since the beginning of the summer we’ve moved house, and both kids are at new schools.
And I’d love to tell you I’m turning over a new leaf – that all the rest of the ‘stuff’ is in the past – that I’m going to stay well and, um, whine less.
But everyone knows you can’t run away from yourself.
What I now like to refer to as ‘my trauma’ has come with me, and is enjoying the new house just as much as I am. We are working together, and hoping to feel better soon.
The date sits at the end of a finite line
visible now, one turn of the calendar,
three more changes of plan, at least,
eight thousand emails between
me and a solicitor who works from home.
I get a new jar of Marmite
huge, the usual one but ballooned.
And I think ‘I’ll still have this when we move,
I’ll be eating this Marmite at this table
in our new kitchen,’
with the trees outside
and the rotavated soil of the garden ploughed up like
a life packed into boxes
a glut of lists.
I don’t know how many more
Fuel is adrenaline sourced:
instead of sleep, I spread out maps
containing our new house
on the table at 3am,
tracing burns and reservoirs,
and dead ends.
tinylife will be back in September.
It is not the right time of year for having the children at home. With Valentines smack in the middle, I predict the divorce rate will rise…
Instead of braving a range of elements: rain, wind, snow … we set up pillow forts and hid under blankets with our devices. I worked out I could watch Netflix on the laptop with my headphones – score! The kids morphed wing chairs into gamer chairs by moving them in front of the TV, and built more forts, this time in the Minecraft ether.
We’re economising due to the impending house move, so we treated ourselves to Morrison’s make your own pizza instead of takeaway, Next in Fashion with the curtains closed instead of the cinema.
Valentines worked out OK for me: Mr HB was off to Aldi. I received a bunch of reluctant roses.
Yet again I have confirmed my status as a bit of an oddball.
This time it’s the over our house, which you will know is currently on the market unless you have been hiding under a rock or muted me online until today.
We’re supposed to hate house viewings, right? All that tidying so that complete strangers can come and examine our property and ask awkward questions about the neighbours.
Well, I love them. The house has never looked so good. We have a total system (and a list, of course!) for the tidying. And I adore taking folk over the house – I’d forgotten I can be charming, or at least friendly – showing them all the great things we put into it to make it home.
It feels like saying, over and over, ‘this is our house. Isn’t it lovely?’