We still live in a tent. I know that at the end of last month a combination of hope and will power had me near certain that we’d be in the house by this point, but, well, we’re not. All things being equal we should exchange this week and then complete as soon as possible afterwards, which basically means as soon as the mortgage money can get to our solicitors. Next month, next month I promise we will not be living in a tent, because if we’re not living in our house then something has gone horribly wrong and we’ll be looking for a long term rental while we start all over again. Not going to happen though.
We originally thought that we’d be living in the tent for a couple of weeks, three or four at most, and sitting here at six weeks and counting I am beyond grateful to my aunt and uncle for letting us stay; aside from the sheer joy of watching Kitty, Pip and Elma come to know and love them as much as John and I do, and the fun they’ve had helping to pick strawberries and raspberries and swimming in the pool, staying here has meant that while we may not have had a house, we have always had a home, and there just aren’t ever going to be enough thank yous to cover it.
We’ve just come back from a week going “housing”, firstly to Yorkshire to stay with the family, and then John and I escaped to spend a couple of nights away in the Lake District climbing mountains. If you follow me on Instagram please note that the holiday spam shows no sign of letting up soon, and I’m utterly unapologetic about it – the Lakes are much much prettier than the view from my desk when I head back to work today. The children, as far as I can gather, wore their grandparents out and flew kites, and we all enjoyed such modern conveniences as walls, beds and electric lights. With the evenings not as light as they were when we first moved in, and camping lights good enough only really to find something, not read or knit something tricky, it was a revelation to have light that we could just turn on!
The holiday was pretty well timed to avoid a very soggy week; two days before we left the tent sprung a sort of leak, when splits on two sections of the back ridge got so bad that they let the back wall of the tent start to puddle on the ground, and where there was one puddle, another soon followed, and then the day I finished work our gazebo/shelter took off in a rogue gust of wind (despite being fully pegged and guyed out), so this month I have learnt how to mend shelters with self-adhesive tent plasters, and how to replace sections of tent pole and refit the whole shebang while leaving the rest of the tent standing – top tip, don’t try to use cheap and cheerful hacksaws on fibreglass tent poles; I think I cut it mostly through strength of mind!
The tent is much the better for the tlc and despite torrential showers bucketing across the skies yesterday afternoon we’re as dry as a bone. I did however make the mistake of promising the children a biscuit when it rained, which they interpreted as a biscuit every time it rains, which means that an entire packet of crunch creams were laid to waste in the course of one afternoon.
On the whole the kids are doing pretty well with their life in limbo. We had a few wobbly moments that could have been as much to do with the end of term as the house moving, and Pip has taken to telling us he loves any new toy so much that he doesn’t want it to go into storage, but they’re a happy little trio (despite Kitty’s very teenage expressions in some of these shots), currently obsessed with playing Swallows and Amazons, right up to and including the rigging of a Wild Cat Island style tent courtesy of some rope (charmed out of their uncle), out badminton posts, and their aunt’s old sheet. You’d think that they’d have had enough of camping of late, but as I should well know, there’s camping and then there’s proper Swallows and Amazons camping. Yesterday afternoon they performed Swallowdale: the musical, with particular focus on the climbing of Kanchenjunga and the spotting of goats, which was quite a sight to see.
Despite all of our adventures, this month’s photos could only have been taken in front of our tent. Neatly cropped to avoid showing you how much of a mess it still is post flood and holiday, but still very recognisably our very own Buckingham Palace. We haven’t decided when or whether we might go travelling this summer, but I know that even though we’re really really looking forward to the next stage of this big move, it hasn’t dinted our love of life outdoors, and there will be plenty of opportunity in the future to take out photos on our canvas doorstep.
My little family, in July: