When you are young and enthusiastic, it is an adventure to move into your first home. The one you have bought and will furnish to your own taste. The one that you will stay in, bring your children and grandchildren home to. The garden you will tend, change and adapt, according to the age of your children and your ability to look after it. The neighbours you will come to be close to and rely on, in both your years as young parents and later, when you may need more support.
In your dreams! It used to be like that, in the days of our grandparents, but the tendency today – and for some time past – is to go where the work is or to move to ‘a better area’ for the sake of your growing family. We are the best examples of this that I know. When we married, we moved to the Potteries – the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, to be precise. We bought a large, Victorian house in a village and set down roots. We worked, played, made new friends and lived life to the full. We had hoped that this would be our home for some years but fate was to intervene – for only the first time of many.
Disillusioned with work, Hubby decided to look for a better job and this took us a long way south to Maidenhead, in Berkshire. As I was teaching, it was relatively easy for me to find another job, which I did. Move number 1. So, two years after we had moved in, we sold and moved out of our house, and into rented accommodation. We needed a base to look for a house to buy and this seemed the best idea. All our furniture went into storage and we went into a ground floor maisonette.
One year later, we found a house to buy. We both had good salaries, so were very lucky with a mortgage. We filled in all the form, dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the ‘t’s and prepared to move. Then I found that I was pregnant. Luckily, this didn’t really impact on our moving. We had to be more careful but all went ahead and I was lucky enough not to have to return to work whilst having a baby at home. We were in that house for five years. Move number 2. After our son had been born, Hubby moved jobs again to Hampshire and we moved house again. Move number 3.
All went well until one year – 1986 – we had the worst summer EVER. We made a decision to go to warmer climes and ended up in Italy, where we stayed on a campsite, in a huge RV, for eight months, whilst finding somewhere to live. Move number 4. We found an apartment whilst Hubby continued to work in Milan and stayed there for a year. Move number 5.
Then Hubby moved jobs – he was contracting – to Turin. We moved there and stayed on another campsite in the RV whilst we found a house to buy. Move number 6. We found a house and moved in – Move number 7. After some happy years here, employment dried up for Hubby and we moved back to England – Move number 8. Eventually, we moved from Stratford-upon-Avon to Tolworth, South London – Move number 9. After that, to two short-term addresses near Epsom (Moves number 10 & 11), Carshalton Beeches (Move number 12), Carshalton – a few miles up the road from the previous address (Move number 13) and finally to another address in Carshalton, where we bought once again. Move number 14. After nearly forty years of marriage, we are now about to move for what I hope will be the last time.
At this point, I think it should be stated that I hate moving house. I hate the build up, where you have to sort your things out and throw stuff away, just so that you can fit into the new square metreage (Oooo – new word?). I hate the thought of having to find another suitable home in a suitable area. I hate the idea that you both have to agree on a property in the first place, making the process longer. (The upside to that is that you should get a balanced view on anything you see.) I hate that people come in to your home and probably criticise the very things that you’ve gone to great lengths to do in order to make the place look attractive – no proof of this, of course; maybe I’m a bit insecure!
So here we are again on the merry-go-round. I’m sure it will all work out just fine. It usually does. With any luck I will have lost weight and not raised my blood pressure too much by the end of this process. We shall see and – as they say – watch this space.