I stopped to think the other day how we've lived here fifteen years, moved in on November 5th 2004. Turned up at our new property absolutely in a state of exhaustion.
We must have appeared like those Beverly Hill Billies filthy and in our scruffiest clothes, even though we hired a van and weren't actually driving an old jalopy.
Some of our new posh neighbours were peering from behind curtains as others stepped out of their front doors wanting to welcome us and see who was moving in, plus we also got some angry looks from disgruntled mums walking their children home from school, because the back end of our van was partially on the pavement, it just wouldn't fit on our driveway and they were not too pleased at having to negotiate their way around as I huddled down in the passenger seat trying not to look too conspicuous.
Traveling up and down the M4 at least three times a day had been taking its toll on me too. Emptying dad's house in Bristol which was a nightmare, with so much to sort out, there was at least fifty something years of stuff to go through. Then the three piece suite had to be dumped as mice droppings were found down between the cushions, but the Bristol tip wouldn't accept it because we never had a permit, so again we had to travel back to Swindon to dump all the old furniture, then go all the way back to my dad's.
Then there was my own house to vacate with its annoying lack of parking space due to the fact we lived in town, and if a car got in your space before you arrived then you'd have to find somewhere else to pull into. Meaning it could be hours before we'd be right outside my front door, so we'd end up driving around till a space became available.
But finally we were able to step inside our new home which was like a dream come true, till we entered the kitchen, suddenly my dreams were shattered, I think I cried, the previous occupants had left the kitchen in turmoil, worktops were now sitting on the kitchen floor having been held up by a tumble drier and washing machine, which they took with them.
The grill and oven were covered in layers of scum and dried on fat which I had to remove before we could even think of cooking anything, then to top it all, cupboard doors weren't fixed properly and kept falling off, while shelves needed repairing because they were constantly collapsing.
The garden was no better and full of footballs, tennis balls, ping pong balls, in fact all manner of sized balls which we were discovering for quite a few years later, hidden in bushes and the undergrowth...just as we thought we'd found them all another would appear like they were growing in our garden instead of flowers.
But that first evening I recall standing in the huge garden with a glass of wine in hand, gazing up at the huge expanse of sky with an explosion of colourful fireworks going off all around and thinking! This is all ours, no more fear of being burgled, or having washing stolen off my line...this was a respectable area and no problems with parking now, we have our own driveway.
As we continued to watch the sky light up, while tucking into hot baked potatoes covered in melted cheese, I recollected how pleased my dad had been now that I'd found someone who really cared for me as much as I did for him.
That night when finally going to bed, time was melting away as we prepared for our first night in our dream home. Before dropping off to sleep I remember thinking this is a new beginning of the rest of our lives.
Photo from pixabay free images.