This weekend just gone was my last at Pound Cottage. From now on, any time I spend there will be as a guest (though I dearly hope that my mum won’t treat me that way) and not as a resident.
You will already know that Emma and I are moving in together, and in fact I am already ‘living’ with her at the moment (I’m staying with her family while our house purchase goes through).
While I have, therefore, already ‘moved out’, I have really only ever seen it as a temporary move. Pound Cottage was still my home, and 17, Tythe Close is merely somewhere I am staying, like a prolonged sleepover, or a holiday cottage.
The process of moving, of starting out on our own, and the preparations involved in that have taken up much of my time and mental energy recently, and have meant that I have done all of my thinking from a forward-looking point of view. It wasn’t until I started to relax on Saturday night that I realised that I had done almost no looking back on what I was leaving behind. It was a sad moment when it finally hit home that this was to be my last night of living there.
I was struck by how much I had come to see my home as an anchor. My feelings may well be magnified by the fact that this is the only home I have ever known (my room/house at university was a temporary measure, as Emma’s family home is now). This is the house I was in when I learned to walk, read, write, speak. This is the garden in which I played football endlessly, or so it must have seemed to my parents, whose lawn and flower beds bore the brunt of my relentless running and wayward shots. This is the field in which I had the majority of the few riding ‘lessons’ I have ever had. This is the quiet country lane up which I learnt to drive. That’s the garden wall which gave me the scar above my right eyebrow, and somewhere over there, behind the fruit bushes are the final resting places of Brandy, Peg, Robbie, Poppy, Nina, Smokey the rabbit, a couple of my sister’s guinea pigs, a budgie, and whichever chickens escaped the clutches of the fox long enough to die of natural causes. We probably even buried the goldfish somewhere in that garden.
This house has always been the centre of my life, and I think I will always consider it to be my home, probably even after my family no longer live there. It has always been a refuge from the outside world when I have had enough of school, work, people or travelling, and a base of operations when I am in a more outgoing frame of mind, eager to go to new places, see new sights and meet new people. I had personalised my room (many times over), and soon it will be bare, stripped of everything I want to take with me, and only containing a couple of redundant pieces of furniture and some clutter I have either forgotten or rejected as unnecessary.
The hardest thing though, is leaving behind my family.