A Moving Story

10 A different light

We first saw the cottage early last year. It was freezing February, the sky was bleak and grey, the hedges lining the narrow lanes were bare and we were lost. We found a pub with a roaring fire and asked the way and were told we’d be mad not to buy any house that came up in the tiny rural hamlet.
But when we finally came across it in the maze of winding lanes criss-crossing the fields, we only saw dark shrubs and dank thatch. We thought it too isolated, too old, too remote. So, a year later, when we walked past the estate agents in the heat of July and M grabbed my arm to point at the chocolate box cottage in the window, I reminded him we’d already seen it and he hadn’t liked it. But I don’t think I’d mind it now, he said.
We were on our way to a house viewing, having commenced our house hunt in earnest once we’d exchanged on the sale of our home. We had rushed to the charity shops with boxes of clothes and toys cleared from our cupboards and were running late for the appointment. But the cottage in the window stopped us, so we arranged to view it the next day.
It wasn’t February, it was July. It wasn’t cold, it was warm and sunny. The trees weren’t bare, the fields were abundant with crops and the cottage couldn’t have looked more different. The thatch looked clean and fresh, roses clambered around the doors and the hedges, which had looked so black and ominous in winter, encircled the garden in a protective hug. The lawns were neat, the paintwork immaculate, the rooms were bright and welcoming. We gazed across the gold and green patchwork of fields to where the sun would later set and we were both entranced. I really like it, M said and I said I think we can make this feel like home.

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