Stepping into an unfamiliar room

There are piles of boxes in the attic. Some are taped shut, some are open with contents spilling out, most have ‘France’ written on their sides. I need to repack, and try to trim down the total number of boxes we’ll have to lug down through the house onto the van, and off into the new house.

We’re giving away furniture we thought we’d keep forever. The desk we picked up from an old Headmaster’s house, that we squashed into our car boot, Ben’s writing studio in the garden of our first cottage, put into storage, and moved into the house, into the outbuilding, and back in again. There’s no time for auctions.

I’m buying us new tea towels and imagining organising new kitchen cupboards. I’m picking out stylish garden paving and kid-friendly water features. I’m debating cleaning the huge pink rug before or after the move. A letter from Specsavers on the desk reminds me to spend a day changing our address.

It’s a mix of excitement, readiness, disbelief and trepidation. The diary looks scarily tight, but each day feels long. It’s no time at all, but somehow I think it’ll be exactly the amount of time we need. There’s a definite sense that despite the daily wrangling with the unruly pile of ancient Conveyances, searches, surveys, invoices, and refurb gubbins, it’s going to work out in time for move day.

We’ve been saying goodbye for 18 months and we’re still enjoying and appreciating every day we have the privilege of being here. We will probably miss aspects of the house and garden. I know we will miss the bath, perhaps the snug’s open fire in winter, and maybe the stars from the bottom of the garden. But right now, what seems most obvious are the ways the house and garden get in the way of the life we want. It’s too big to keep clean, tidy and well-maintained. It’s too finished to keep us engaged in a creative conjuring from the ashes. We’re ready. It’s time.



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