Dear reader, I am pleased to tell you I am writing from my new house – number 10. We moved on Friday 8th June and have been living out of boxes ever since. But we found the essentials (underware, shampoo, wine glasses) and everything else can wait.
Its very strange living in a new place. I haven’t found it as stressful as I feared being in a new location, hearing those unfamiliar noises that houses make in the middle of the night, worrying about whether its someone breaking in / walking around upstairs or just the neighbours. I haven’t found it very stressful living in a dump either – and believe me it is a complete mess in here, the kitchen is at least 30 years old and we have discovered 4 leaks so far and counting. Because I don’t cook much I can survive with a microwave, a toaster and a kettle. Plus a sheaf of take out menus of course. I’ve not minded having a newborn in a dirty house – we sent in a team of cleaners before we moved in, and they completed all but one room, which was finished this morning. So the house isn’t very dirty any more, but it doesn’t have flooring as such and the carpets are also ancient. Beetles and spiders are our friends. We just have a rule – the baby does not go on the floor. There is a basket, carseat, bouncing chair or bed in every room and the baby is NOT put down on a rug on the floor ever. It’s been fine, he’s far too small to be mobile yet.
The things I would struggle to live without are all working – we have heating and hot water. The power is on and most of the light fittings work. Most windows open, the floors and stairs are safe (sort of). The TV doesn’t work yet (wrong cable left behind in the move) but we have music from an ipod dock speaker thing.
What has been stressful? Well, having a toddler. Which is stressful at the best of times. But in a house with 5 floors and no stairgates, with thoughtful windows across the staircase inviting small people to tumble down the flight and straight out of the window onto the concrete below… that is worrying. We are spending a lot of time following him around telling him to put things down / not touch that / don’t go in there etc etc. He is really enjoying the new house, tearing about and giggling when he finds familiar things in unfamiliar places. He is getting very very dirty from playing on the floor in rooms where carpets have had to be thrown out. He laughs at the small flies that come in and circle under the light fittings when the windows are open (we are near sticky trees). He has dealt with the transition very well, better than we have! Thanks in no small part to both sets of grandparents who have been around helping with the DIY and childcare.
The other stressful thing is the amount of work that needs doing. The idea that in a few months we’ll be (hopefully) packing the boxes again whilst teams of builders, plumbers, electricians and plasterers strip the house back to the joists and rebuild the entire insides. The idea of how much that will cost, and whether we’ll manage to keep to our budget. The worry about whether that damp patch is really due to a leaf blockage in the drainpipes (Easily fixed) or whether there is a full depth crack in the masonry (harder to repair) or something structural that the detailed survey missed. But it’s also very exciting to think about what the house will be like when it’s finished. It will be fantastic. Huge. Clean. Full of interesting features, nooks and crannies, strange angles and unusual ceiling heights. It will have a touch of 65 Eaton Place about it, with the kitchen in the basement and the grand reception rooms on the ground floor, then bedrooms for the “upstairs” cast and on the very top smaller bedrooms for the “downstairs” cast. It will have original or reclaimed fireplaces but modern central heating. It will have ridiculously high ceilings and fast broadband. It will be our family home for many years to come (God willing). We will be paying for it for many years to come too!
In the mean time, as we plan, imagine, design, hope and enjoy, we are enjoying the “historic features” of 1970 wallpaper, fluorescent strip lighting, and dial up internet speeds from the 1980s. Think of us, dear reader, when you look at pictures or video online. We are back in a slower, text only, internet age. Somehow it seems to fit the house.