13 Coming home
We arrived over a month ago – five weeks to be precise – and we are still unpacking. We thought we had ‘down-sized’ thoroughly, but now we are in this small thatched cottage, so different from the rambling medieval barn where we used to live, our possessions look so wrong. The huge paintings and engravings which once fitted spacious rooms, look dingy as the sunlight filters through these diamond paned windows. Turkish rugs which complemented old worn brick floors look shabby on pale carpet and much of our furniture is too big, too heavy and certainly too dusty.
So in the midst of unpacking we are also packing for another auction. Pictures fill the boot of the car, I fill a crate with lustre ware and we send off an oak chest, a pine games table and a chaise longue ripped by the cats. And at the same time we are trying to find essentials so life can run smoothly. I’m in search of a cake tin to bake banana bread and a handbag that will take me into London. M wants tablemats and his collection of music tapes.
Our move is staggered over a week, to give us space to breathe and then we begin decorating, hanging curtains, ripping out old bedroom carpet and painting floorboards, briefing electricians and builders. M’s priority is the aerial for both TV and music. Mine is making the outside utility room, which is uninsulated and inadequately heated, functional. M creates a stationery cupboard and is delighted to find the tops to all his felt tip pens, while I dry towels on the Aga.
But despite the chaos and confusion we are enchanted by this cottage and its surroundings. Neighbours welcome us with bottles of wine and jars of home-made jam. From our windows we have endlessly mesmerising views of far fields which change as the light and temperature varies, sometime green and yellow patchwork, sometimes mist-wreathed. It is like living within a Constable landscape.
And after these last few weeks, we are starting to call it home. It is still new and strange, but it is beginning to feel like home. We’ve found the tablemats and M is now is search of port glasses, but I have a cake tin and we have cake.
13 Coming home