Whoah, I’m a busy bee. We are moving after 24 years in the same house.
We are engaged in what is tactfully referred to as downsizing which is what middle aged couples tend to do when their children grow up.
What this all means is an immense amount of sorting out, sending vast loads of stuff to the charity shop and equally vast piles to the great rubbish tip situated somewhere dismal on the outskirts of London which we don’t like to think about.
I know that if we were different and better people we would organise ourselves properly and have a series of productive days at car boot sales. But we’re not – so there you are. I’m quite worried that the charity shop is going to turn round and refuse to take any more of our cast offs or dreadful holiday paper backs. Then what will we do? Micky said that when he arrived with yesterday’s offering the lady look alarmed as he unloaded yet another mountain of bin bags from the car.
I sense our two Burmese cats, Cappucine and Peaches, are disturbed – they must have noticed a scaling down of things and an air of tension in the house. As there are no suitcases for them to sniff suspiciously, I don’t think they think we are going on holiday which is an equally traumatic event for them. Nevertheless I’m convinced they know something is afoot. The other night I dreamed that I took Peaches to the theatre and she wandered off. When I found her on the theatre steps she told me that she didn’t know where she was and couldn’t find her way home.
Suppose when we move not only will Peaches not be able to find her way home, but maybe I’ll forget where home is too. Maybe the whole family will feel bereft and homeless. Everyone is being tremendously upbeat and I am doing my bit by focusing on the fun side of the move – all those open spaces, all those wooden floors and shiny surfaces. It will be so untouched, so very new.
Let’s face it, twenty four years in the same house means things get a little shabby, a little tired – unless you are the kind of people who have a complete refurb every few years. But along with being failures in the car boot sale department, we have not been disposed to giving our house a periodic facelift. I was raised in the kind of home where the war years and rationing were very much part of the recent past and the notion of throwing away perfectly good things was considered slightly immoral. That kind of thinking is hard to dislodge and anyway, I’ve noticed lately, is making a bit of a comeback. Not much help though with all the discarding of things that I’m involved in.
So lots of scaling down, focusing on the future, and not too much reflection on times gone by is the order of the day.
However, as single minded as I am, I cannot deny the memories which ambush me as I go determinedly about my business. As I turn out the end cupboard a packet of ‘mammoth’ sparklers purchased at the local hardware shop for a long forgotten firework night stops me in my tracks. As I lay the table for dinner, all those jolly family meals crowd in.
Other memories suddenly rise unbidden to the surface. Chaotic children’s birthday parties themed to the nines in my effort to give the birthday boy or girl the perfect birthday. Relaxing in the fragrant garden on a beautiful summer’s evening. Children arriving home from school, being with them as they eat their supper, report on their day. Triumphs. Disappointments. Celebrations. Bottles of champagne popping. Dinner parties and candlelight. Laughter. Always laughter.
So many memories contained in the benign walls of this beautiful old house which has kept us safe for so many years – our home. Our home.
No point in dwelling on the past. Move on. Move on. All things come to an end. And it’s silly to get attached to a building. It’s only bricks and mortar after all.
So bury your face in Cappucine’s soft fur for a moment longer than usual if you must. Then turn out another cupboard. Attend to the next item on your list. Keep busy. Keep very, very busy.
And make sure Peaches stays in for the first few weeks at least…