Friday, 14 February 2014

Rekindling the love



No, not for my wonderful husband ~ my love for him is as strong as ever!  No, it's our home for which I need to rekindle the love.  We moved here in May 1983, and one would think that to have lived in the same place for over 30 years must mean that we love it here.  Sadly, that is not true; in actual fact, I rather suspect that we didn't "fall in love" with the house in the first place.  When we were looking for a home of our own to buy, house prices were starting to rise rapidly and to be honest we rather jumped at buying this house because we were worried that we would find ourselves unable to afford anywhere else!  In hindsight, whilst the house itself is a good size and is solidly constructed, the location is far from ideal.  We live on a very busy road which leads to an industrial area, a road which has become ever more full of traffic as the industrial estate has expanded.  The lorries have grown much larger, considerably more frequent and even at night and over the weekend, traffic is going to and fro.

So no, I don't believe that our home has ever really been "loved"; it has simply been somewhere to live.  To make matters worse, some years back we were approached by a property developer who wanted to buy the houses on this little site in order to build flats.  We didn't take much convincing that selling would be a jolly good idea, and the developer was willing to pay us a sum which would have enabled us to buy a similar house to this, but in a rather better location.  We weren't greedy, unlike some of our neighbours, and didn't make unreasonable demands; we simply wanted enough to be able to buy another three-bedroomed semi with similar sized rooms to those we already had.  We found a suitable property and I admit that my focus was on our future there; I totally disengaged with this house.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next.  Just three days before we were due to exchange contracts, the developer pulled out saying that they "had been held to ransom" by another of our neighbours and couldn't now buy anymore of the properties on this site.  To say I was devastated is an understatement on an epic scale!  I was very low and cried a lot; I had staked my emotions on moving, making a fresh start, and now those dreams had been shattered.  And so I have spent recent years just going through the motions.  Yes, we live here, but no I haven't been happy.  Other things haven't helped either, mainly my back problems which saw me hospitalised for a couple of weeks in 2009.

Then our daughter moved to Orkney with the family she was working for (as a nanny) and my back was finally strong enough for me to make the journey up there for the first time in 2012.  Oh my goodness, Adrian and I just fell in love with the island, and in particular the quaint little town of Stromness where we stayed last year.  So, we have decided that when he retires this is where we will be moving to ~ fingers crossed in about 2019!  In the meantime, though, we still have to live here, in this house I have never really fallen in love with.  And, of course, there is always the possibility that something may occur to prevent us moving...

So I have found myself really thinking about this house, our home for over 30 years.  The four, solid, walls where we have brought up our children and taken in an assortment of four-legged rescued friends.  The four solid walls which have kept us warm and safe and yes, secure too.  The four solid walls which have been witness to our ups and downs, our sorrows and joys.  And the funny thing is that since I've been looking at the house with gratitude in my heart instead of resentment, I have found myself growing fonder of it.  Oh, don't get me wrong, we still really want to move away in due course (and that is more to do with a different pace of life than this house per se) but if it should happen that we can't for whatever reason, then perhaps it won't be the end of the world that for so many years I have been seeing it as.

I would like to be able to tell you that I have finally fallen head-over-heels in love with my home of over 30 years but that wouldn't quite be true.  However, I am seeing it through different eyes, eyes softened by a slowly-unfolding fondness for these four walls.  It is time to show this house the gratitude it so richly deserves, time to stop dwelling in the past and what might have been, time to make the very best of the here and now ~ because after all, that is really all we have isn't it?  That's not to say that I don't have half an eye to the future but in the meantime I want to do the very best I can here,  in my home, the place where I live and laugh and love and cry and shout and complain!

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