We exchanged contracts on our house this Thursday. A week ago we were still batting back another silly question from our buyers, and then suddenly we got an email asking if we could complete by the end of the month. Well no, that would be ridiculous, but in a flurry of phone calls and organising we went back with a date, and suddenly our days in this house are numbered to a little less than three weeks.
It’s very exciting, and very real, not least in the prospect of sorting out all of our things for packing. We’re not actually moving into our new house yet. The purchase is all still on track, it just had to sit around and wait, and wait, and wait again, and finally the letter the mortgage company needed arrived and we’re all systems go. With the best will in the world, that’s not going to be in three weeks’ time, so we have a masterplan. My lovely aunt lives a stone’s catapult from the *fingerscrossed* new house, and so while most of our stuff goes into storage, the five of us, Buckingham Palace (the tent*) and the important things in life are going to camp in her garden until we complete our purchase.
The kids are very very excited; they adore their auntie and uncle, and Bob the cat, and their swimming pool, and their strawberry fields! John and I are definitely looking forward to shorter school runs, a shorter and easier commute, and just a little bit, the simplicity of our camping life. It’s not going to be exactly the same as our summer adventures, for one thing we’ll be staying put, and for another I’m still going to be working, but the truth is that when you have to boil your life down to what will fit in a tent, even a really big one, it’s a lot less than tends to build up in a house. I suspect that we’ll take a bit more than we cram into our family car for travels, but only as much as we can fit in the other car.
So that’s the exciting bit, and we’re all looking forward to the house at the end of the journey too. It has a compromise or two, and it’s a bit of a fixer upper, but they were compromises that weren’t on the really important things (garden, not too far from school or a train station) and it’s got some seriously beautiful bones. Touch wood now because I can’t wait to show it to you or to start to get to grips with making it truly ours.
But at the same time, it’s starting to feel just a little bit too real. We moved into this house 11 1/2 years ago. It’s the house we moved into on an impossibly cold and foggy November day, when even the hottest curry that could be delivered couldn’t keep out the chill as we made trip after trip from our rented house with all of our things in the back of a van. It’s the house we came home too as newlyweds, and the house that was a first home to each of our three children. It holds so many memories and will always be precious.
We’re not just moving house though, we’re moving county, all the way over to the other side of the middle, and I think that lends the whole thing an air of standing on the edge of a precipice. We’re more embedded here than perhaps I think we are, and there’ll be a good bit of finding our way around and making new friends before it feels as much like home as our little village here.
I went into town yesterday afternoon, and the thought struck me that this might be the last time I go into town living in this house, and while that’s not a big deal, and with John still playing hockey over here I can be back every other weekend all through the season if I want to be, it brought it home that there are going to be lots of lasts to come in the next few weeks.
As it turns out, I have already bought my last monthly season ticket. The next one I buy will be a weekly, and then that will be it and my commute will be totally different all over again.
So while we pack up camping kit, and try to work out what needs to come with us, and remember to buy new air mattresses because three little trampolinists appear to have fatally wounded our one remaining one, I’ve got a definite plan to make sure that we cram in as many memories of our favourite places as we can possibly manage, before the day comes that we pack up and drive away to our next adventure.
*so named despite our original intention of calling it Wendy, when a German guy crawled out of his tiny take-it-up-a-mountain sized tent as we were putting it up on the shore of Walchensee and exclaimed “Ist Buckingham Palace”. Nicht ist Buckingham Palace but the name stuck!