For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who'd have guessed...

that I would stay away from my blog this long?
Not me, that's for sure. I usually write to keep track of myself. To stay in control, I think.
But for many, many reasons it hasn't worked like that in the past two months.
Obviously time, or lack of it, was one reason.
There was constantly something going on. It was a massive exercise (and that's an understatement) to empty the Vicarage, to get everything sorted and packed up, to decide what was going to the new house, what was to go to storage, what was to go to FreeShare and what was to be thrown out. Actually, I rather not think back on those days, although it would be interesting to find out just how I managed to survive. And how others managed to survive my murderous tendencies... I suppose I was just too bleeping tired to pose a serious threat.

On the last day in the Vicarage my computer seized up on me, just before I had everything transferred to the laptop that I was given as an advance birthday present from my Mum.
And I finally found out why so many people are constantly complaining about BT and Sky. It took over one month (!!) before we had all our electronic communicative systems up and running properly again. What a disgrace! Maybe just as well I wasn't writing at that time, because I would have been polluting cyberspace.

Moving into this house was a ultimately thrilling experience. First of all, it's warm here. All the time. And the first couple of weeks we haven't even had the central heating on. But it's double glazed, there are no gaps in the walls and the doors actually fill the holes in the wall when they're shut. Then, there's a lot of daylight coming into the house, where the Vicarage was overall quite dark.
I thought I would get claustrophobic here and miss all the space the Vicarage held, but funnily enough the size of this house suits me fine. It took a while before we all felt comfortable with seeing so much of each other ;), but by now we've worked it out rather well.
And - oh my, I never thought I'd ever say anything like this - the fact that this house is so easy to keep clean makes a huge, huge difference. No more coal dust wherever you look. No having to wipe the table every time you want to use it. We can even see the original colours of our kitchen appliances again, all day through. It takes all of us no more than three hours on a Monday morning to create a clean and shining house. Obviously, with two cats, two dogs and at least five people walking around a lot, we still have to hoover and dust daily, but hey, that only takes something like half an hour.
And then living in town. Me. Every house I visualised was at least ten miles away from civilisation and had tuns of space and trees around it. Lots of outhouses, too. A small village, that's as far as my mental pictures would go. Well, regular readers of this blog have seen the house I'd been dreaming of for such a long time.
But not a town house. No way.
And yet, here we are. In a modern town house. Only five minutes away from the centre. A busstop around the corner. Shops and facilities within walking distance. But also a three minutes walk away from a beautiful footpath along the river, where I can walk the dogs for hours at an end, and - to make it even more perfect - off the lead! We're in a very quiet cul-de-sac, with seven houses and no through traffic at all.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have visualised a house like this, in a location like this.
But to be honest, it's exactly what we needed and we are all very happy to be here.
The only thing I really miss are the birds. Seagulls, blackbirds and crows. That's all we see here. I miss going out into the yard or the garden at night and listen to the owls. I miss looking out of the window from my workspot and seeing all kinds of different birds on the feeders. I miss the sound of the birds when I walk the dogs, because even along the river there aren't very many.
But even after thinking really hard I can't come up with other drawbacks.
I mean, we save about fifty pounds a week on petrol and loads and loads of time.
We don't even need a quarter of the energy to keep this house warm and comfortable.
It's so much easier for the children to get to their clubs and activities and I don't always have to be thinking about the logistic planning of it all.
It's even quite pleasant to be 'amongst people' again. In the little time we've lived here I've spoken to more people than I have even met up there. And up to now they've all been very friendly. Everybody has their own life, most people are older than we are, there are no kids in the houses in this cul-de-sac, but everybody is friendly.

That's how we found out about the house just opposite us.
When I told our next door neighbour that unfortunately we were only here temporarily she said that house was coming up for rent, too. And she knew the owner was tired of the short term lettings through agencies that he'd had and that had cost him a lot of aggro, so now he was looking to let it long term.
Well, to cut a long and magical story short - I will probably blog about the wonderfulness of it later - within two weeks of living here we knew that we'd be moving again before the end of the year! Another thing that was definitely not in my planning. I didn't even want to think about moving again before Christmas.
Unfortunately we have a six months contract on the house we're in now, but the new landlord has agreed to officially let us have the new house per the 1st of December, so that we have 'only' three months double rent to overcome. But we'll find a way to deal with that, I have no doubt about that.
Because he didn't like the house to be empty too long, the owner has already given us the keys so that we can start moving stuff from the storage into the garage and the attic, if we want.
The house itself looks almost the same as the one we're in now, from the outside, but is completely different from the inside. That's also a subject I'll come back to in later blogs, I think. Suffice to say for now that we think we're going to be very, very happy in there.

And then, in the middle of all this, Ken's father died on September 18. Not unexpectedly, but still. It obviously took over everything for a couple of weeks and even though we were all glad that there was an end to his suffering, his passing away also puts an end to lots of other things. My children now don't have a grandfather anymore, as my own father died over fourteen years ago. And Ken had finally made his peace with his father after a lifetime of struggle and strive. But at least they had these last few years in love and peace together.

As it's already way over my bedtime and I desperately need a beauty sleep I am closing down now. There's lots more to tell and to share. I have no idea when I'll post again, but my intentions are to do it within the next few days.


Mandy said...

Yeay! Welcome back, missed you.

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting with interest to see if you would blog again. You may remember I posted you a message about our 'enforced ' house move and how happy we now are. I think what I learned was that you can sometimes be happy even in the most unexpected places. I am so peased to hear that things are working out for you all.

Mieke said...

Hey Mandy, I missed myself, too, at times!

Hiya Janeygirl, I certainly remember yr comment, way way back, when my focus was still 'only' on what I personally could visualize. We had to go really, really deep before I realized that what I thought we needed was maybe not really what we needed. And only after receiving it did I realize how much we needed it. Yes, you were absolutely right, back then. And I think I learned the same lesson. Just goes to show, that our own experience is often our best teacher... Thank you for staying 'in touch', I'm sure it helped!

Anonymous said...

Mieke, its wondergful that you happy in your new home and even more wonderful about finding somewhere that you will be happy in too!

ruth said...

Oh lovely to see you post. I didn't see it until today. Sorry about Ken's dad but really pleased other things have worked out so well for you all :)

Gill said...

Happy new house Mieke xx And I'm so sorry about your bereavement.

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