This afternoon, Thursday 20th October, I got the keys to my new property and can begin to make it my home.
It is the twenty-fourth move of my life and five moves since I arrived at the place I thought I’d call home for the rest of my life. It was a former farmhouse surrounded by a 50 acre field.
One day, a guy turned up at the door to ask if it was OK to show his mother round. On afternoon release from the care home, she was last of the farmer’s wives to reign in the kitchen. She wept because four of the big trees she had loved had been cut down. Only a vigorous sycamore and a more delicate ash were still standing: I loved them both.
Another sunny afternoon, I heard a knock at the back door. In the days before mobile phones, a guy asked to use my phone because he had crash-landed his glider in the field.
The summer oil seed rape was grown all round the house was not the most pleasant. Every morning I opened the curtains to be confronted by the citrine yellow of the flowers which never seemed like a natural colour and my child, then an inarticulate toddler, grizzled almost constantly.
One soft November, I was intoxicated by a different yellow, the needles of the larches against the grey of the cloud.
In those special years of my son’s childhood I leaned to know a small, sweet piece of land. It was then and it remains my heart’s home.
I stayed there less than five years before it was back to calling myself at home when I knew where to find a light switch in the dark.
This afternoon at my new place I wandered from room to room and round the garden. For the first time since the farmhouse, I felt real sweetness in the ground and I think, feel and expect that my heart will be home here too.