How to feel at home
Last week, for the first time in over two months, we started referring to our new address as ‘home’. Until then we’d always called it ‘the cottage’ or ‘thatch’, as if this was temporary, a holiday home en route to a final destination.
But now we are beginning to establish new routines, finding a pub in which to sit quietly and finish the crossword, discovering the local hardware shop and garden centre, as well as the quickest route to Waitrose, we feel more settled. The garden is no longer a wilderness of unidentifiable shrubs, it is gradually revealing its secrets as we weed and plan and plant. We’ve found local tradesmen to rewire, plumb and insulate and can see that the home which will suit our needs will eventually emerge from these solid walls, nestling under a thick blanket of thatch.
We’ve also accepted every Christmas party invitation we’ve received, so we can get to know more of our sociable neighbours. Walking the nearby footpaths we’ve met the local dogs and their owners and become friendly with a lonely donkey in a paddock down the lane. And although the nearest church is not within walking distance, it is welcoming and friendly and adds to the feeling that we are making a permanent home here.
But maybe having our first Christmas here is what we need to make the cottage truly seem like home. We were thinking we would have a different Christmas to the many celebrated in our big old house, but this weekend I found our well-used Advent calendar, shaped like a Christmas tree. I had thought of throwing it out, along with an old wreath for the door, but suddenly that seemed wrong and I rescued them both. Now the drawers of the tree are filled with nonsense and the wreath has fresh greenery and tinkling red and white bells. We’re nearly ready for Christmas in our new home.