On a raw, icy morning in January, our mini-tribe trundled across the village, leaving our rickety old home, to hibernate, for the rest of the gloomy season, in a rented house.
We moved into our humble Victorian nest back in July 2007, and were to be married two months later. In theory, moving and marrying in a very short space of time, could have been fraught with angst and apprehension. But the moment the key slipped into the tatty old lock, it turned and clunked solidly, the door creaked open, echoing gently through the opening of the empty house, I was absolutely certain that this was all I had ever dreamed of. That feeling was simply confirmed the following morning, when I opened my eyes to find myself looking out of the window onto the village church. The morning sunlight flooded onto the creamy, intricately embroidered bed sheets and in turn, reflected onto my face, which slowly unfurled a warm, comforted smile. I will never forget that moment.
After some sense was made of unpacking our new lives from what felt like hundreds of multi-sized brown parcels, we ventured out into the garden. What a sight we were met with! Flowering jasmine clambered its way clumsily over our heads, above the back door. Over grown conifers shadowed the courtyard garden, swaying slowly and ominously back and forth beside the path around the back of the house. Ivy had sneakily crept its way slowly but surely over the red brickwork, edging towards the wooden sash window frames, in an effort to prize its green spindly fingers into the building. Some of it had to go. It had to be ripped and torn off the fascia. It had to be churned up within a noisy, disruptive, log-cutting machine. But when the silence returned, the true beauty of our new home was unhurriedly being discovered. We stumbled across a twisted, mature pear tree, heavy with miniature growing fruits. Another old fruit tree tucked away, down the steps at the bottom garden, which after a little bit of research and identification, revealed itself as a greengage tree. And underneath that diamond in the rough, some fuchsia pink rhubarb stems poked out from beneath the undergrowth. My mind was bursting with thoughts of jam making, cake baking, steamed rhubarb and rosewater. A ready-made mini orchard of soft treats – what luck!
As a balmy autumn drew closer, plans for expanding our nest grew from small seedlings into ideas of grandeur, and a year on, along with a little seedling of our own flourishing in my tummy, those visions were put onto large cumbersome pieces paper in the form of bewildering architects drawings.
And today, we are only a heartbeat away from taking that walk back through the village to our brand new old house, which we will, once again, make into our home. Just two short weeks away. My heart flutters when I think about it. I think about that first morning I woke up to find myself overlooking a view to hold onto tightly. I think about making a house a home for those who I nurture and care for, creating memories that hopefully they will recollect fondly, the way I do when I think of wisteria and lemon chicken flan, creating homely cooking smells and leave-the-door-open-on-a-summers-evening smells. These times are precious. These times are here with us now, they’re here for a reason.