Saturday, 4 May 2013
Damn. The entire hob needs replacing - the back rings aren't safe, they're worn down like weathered fossils. The tiny electric shower head coats water like flour through a sieve, light and drizzly. Damp pock marks the pink wall in Little A's bedroom. Why hadn't we noticed this during the viewings? Today the sink flooded the kitchen floor. At the moment, I can hear the drip, dripping into the bucket underneath the piping.
When one rents, the property usually works.
When one buys, well, like a treasure hunt of errors, there are often lots of niggles to be found.
Welcome to our new home.
We wanted a project. And now we have one.
And I absolutely love living here.
At long last Little A has a garden. I can watch clothes floating like tethered kites on the line, drying in a mid afternoon breeze. It's such a novelty living in a house, not a flat. I walk upstairs to bed. I walk downstairs to breakfast. The kitchen is on the same floor as the living room - in our old flat, the kitchen had been carved into the attic space, casseroles made with wide views of tiles and chimneys from the small roof window.
The move. Sweat and dust, lots of dust. The men in blue t-shirts arrived at 9.00 am, climbing stairs, carrying boxes, a line of worker ants. In a matter of hours they were done, their lorry filled with the complete history of our family of three. Then, potential disaster, "Mummy, mummy, I can't find Peso." Peso is Little A's rabbit, her favourite teddy. "Don't worry, he'll be in a box somewhere." "But mummy, I want him NOOOOW." Think. Think. Think. Solution. Fast. Younger Dad doesn't like my idea, but it's the best option. On our way to our new home, I take a detour into Chiswick, to a toy shop on Turnham Green, a shop with an entire row of Peso's. "Oh s'ankyou mummy, I'm going to call this one Pinto." Now she's a happy bunny for the forty minute trip up the M40 and beyond.
The first evening Little A's bedroom is assembled, our bed made, old curtains loosely hung over the bay window rails. Peso is recovered from a card box box marked essentials. We eat fish and chips soaked in ketch-up out of the paper. We share a thick melting chocolate ice cream in the back garden. A swig of cool beer straight from the bottle tastes so good.
In bed that night, something irks Younger Dad, like an itch on the ball of a well socked foot tightly laced in a walking boot. "You've got to be kidding me... why hadn't this come up on my research... this is totally doing my head in." The echoing neeeeeoooooows are unmistakable. We have moved under the flight path of airborne traffic headed north east of Heathrow. It just so happens tonight is particularly busy, a neeeeeoooooow every five minutes. "Stop laughing would you....." I think it's hilarious, a home from home, a reminder of our life in West London.
The kitchen is unpacked. The living space made homely by a few choice paintings, the all important mantel piece looks inviting - the 'welcome' cards, the wedding present by my best friend, H, taking centre stage. We have shifted the many remaining boxes against a wall in the lounge - there are big plans afoot, projects that are likely to begin this year - an extension, maybe a double, at the rear, a master bedroom in the loft.
Of course there are repairs that need immediate attention, but we are living and breathing and functioning in our wonderful new home. And the best part is that Little A is settled and happy - she's really enjoying her new preschool, her new friends. She sculpts faces, makes puzzles out of the tawny pebbles covering the patio and pathway areas of the garden. She glides up and down the laminate flooring on her scooter. She looks forward to play dates with her little cousins, a five minute walk away.....
I think we are going to be here for a long, long time.
Amazingly, unbelievably, I have made the shortlist of the Britmums BIBS Awards under the category, Lifestyle. I am so ruddy grateful to everyone who voted for Older Mum in a Muddle. Now if you would like to see me in the Lifestyle final six, then please, please, please vote for me one final time. The champagne is on me if I make it this far...... (nominations close on 12th May)