Morecambe…

Well we have been in Morecambe just over a week. We arrived in 30° heat with blue skies and sunshine, but now the temperature is 14° and its raining! It’s been raining for about 4 days. But strangely the rain up here is different. Somehow it is softer and cleaner. Still wet, but I mind less! We have had to resort to putting the heating on though, but at least we know it works.

It has been a week of very mixed emotions. After the stress of packing up, getting up here with all the animals in the car, and a frantic 4 hours of boxes being deposited throughout the new house we woke up on Wednesday morning with a sense of wonder that we had made the move, realised our dream, and that we just loved our new home. We unpacked, we planned, we went to the beach, ate takeaways….and we both got ill! Nigel had a bad cold all through the move, not sure how he kept going in all that heat, and I went down with it on Thursday. Horrid. Headache, cough, shivering, extreme fatigue. The works! We kept going until Sunday when we both realised that we needed to take a break and be a bit kinder to ourselves. So we rested a bit, spent a couple of hours at the kite festival and started doing a bit more on Monday.

To be honest, I think once the initial euphoria wore off we were both quite overwhelmed. This is a big, big house. I had forgotten just how big it is. And every room has boxes in it. There is no storage space other than the cellar and the kitchen cupboards. Its really a case of not knowing where to start. We have tamed the kitchen so we can cook and the downstairs living room so we can relax and watch a bit of telly. And that is pretty much it for the moment. I do know what is in the boxes in the bedroom, but it is all still in boxes!

We have also realised that our plans for the house are probably going to take quite some time to come to fruition. We are going to have to take our time, use our funds sparingly and consider what we really want to do in each room, rather than just rushing in. It is such a peaceful and solid house, I feel as though it is just waiting for us to settle and then it will reveal what it can become. Patience has never been my strong point, but we moved here to have more time, so it is something I have to learn.

Morecambe itself is a revelation. Open, friendly people welcoming us to the North West and telling us how much they love living here. There is so much to do too! The few times we had visited had not really revealed the town to us and every day we discover something wonderful. Morecambe Bay itself is so beautiful, with the Lake District in the distance, stunning views. There are music and foodie events, the carnival, a Viking festival…our summer is going to be full of discovery.

But…its not all plain sailing. I do feel a bit lonely. I miss Zoe and my mum. My last month in Bishops Stortford was filled with visits with friends, both new and old, and as much as I love spending time with Nigel, I am missing that inter-action. It will come here, but you lot – know you are missed! Being ill has not helped, but I am on the mend now. I love the fact that I can visit my friends in Windermere whenever I want.

The animals seem to have adjusted quite well. The cats are now released into the outside, although they do not seem to want to go far. I guess that is a good thing! The dogs seem to like their daily walks to the beach. Ben is struggling as his back legs are in a bad way, not helped by laminate flooring all over the downstairs, which he slips and slides on. But he is doing ok. Barney seems to have a whole new lease of life, although he has developed quite bad separation anxiety when he is parted from Nige!

So there we are. We are here, and we are learning. I am typing this in my dining room. Amongst even more boxes! The two dogs are at my feet, and the cats are asleep on the armchair in the corner. This is my temporary office until we get the room upstairs ready. My plan is to deal with 3-4 boxes a day! Either we will empty and distribute or we will label for later. Order will come.

We both feel so lucky to be here. No regrets. We are positive that this has been the right move for us.

We have received many little gifts since we arrived but this is my favourite. My lovely friend Vicky sent me this drawing of the house that she did for me from a photograph. It is very precious to me. This house is central to all our plans. It has welcomed us in, and is waiting patiently for us to unlock its beauty. It will be our home, a refuge, a business and our future. Welcome to The Corner House.

Beautiful drawing of The Corner House by my lovely friend Vicky

 

 

Taking my chance…

Well, its Monday morning. Start of my last week in this house, in Bishops Stortford, down South!

This thought, this morning, is so overwhelming that I have been sitting here at my desk stunned and frozen, despite a list of tasks as long as your arm that I need to start. I am housebound this week as we dropped one of our cars off up north at the weekend, to simplify the move with our dogs and cats next week. And I feel strangely detached from the whole process.

First of all, I am really sorry if you are bored of this whole process now. It has been going on FOREVER! I know. But writing this blog is, for me at least, strangely cathartic. I guess it is a kind of coping mechanism. So read on if you want, but if you don’t, I will not be offended! Tune back in in a couple of weeks for the upbeat posts about our new lives.

For I am sure they will be upbeat. We have wanted this for so long, dreamt of how things will be, made plans for all kinds of things, how could it be anything but wonderful? Ha! Watch this space!

Our trip on Saturday was exhausting. Driving up in both cars, then sharing the driving back in one car, around 10 hours in our tin box in the pouring rain…well you get the picture. We deposited Nigel’s car, stuffed to the gills with boxes, at my friend’s house in Windermere. Then without stopping, we drove down towards Morecambe.  The first positive thought was that from next Tuesday, anytime I want to go to Windermere, I can be there in around 40 minutes! I can go whenever I want. To one of the places I love most in the world. That’s pretty cool.

Anyway, we had lunch in Carnforth, in a lovely pub on the canal bank before driving into Morecambe to go look at our new house. It amazes me to think that we have only been in this house twice. Once in January and once in February, but the whole of our last 4 months we have been focused on living there. How crazy is that? It was still pouring with rain, but as we drove by the door opened and a man came out carrying stuff. Our glimpse into the hall showed boxes and white goods and felt so familiar. I wanted to say hello, but the moment passed and after a little drive around the town we headed back south on the M6.

Nigel drove the first leg and the journey was punctuated with exclamations of incredulity, and rhetorical questions about what we are doing. It was beginning to sink in. This is happening!

The last few weeks I have started to see things here a little differently. We moved to Bishops Stortford when I was about 7. So I have lived here for 51 years. I did think about leaving once before, after my first marriage broke up, but I was running away, rather than running towards, and they are two entirely different things.

Everything around here is so familiar. And we all know that familiarity breeds contempt! As I have been driving around the town I have realised that I recognise everything on some subconscious level. Obviously there have been some major changes around here in recent years, but the basic bones of the town are still there. There is a memory, good or bad, around every corner. My teen years, my mum years, 51 years of memories. Which suddenly seem very precious. Nigel does not feel the same about this town. He moved here to be with me, so he does not have those memories. He sees the gridlocked traffic, the massive building sites creating new houses in a town that cannot support its current population. These are some of the things driving us away, the negative side of our decision.

But I still see some of the positive things. Bishops Stortford is so green. Everywhere you look there are beautiful green spaces and stunning trees. There are places I remember with fondness. The bowls green where most of the weekends of my first marriage were spent. Zoe’s schools where I spent hours fundraising. I remember places from my childhood. Some of them long gone, but I can see them in my memory. The old open-air swimming pool for instance. I remember the local horror when they decided to build the Thorley estate, which is now such an integral part of the town. It is very hard to imagine living somewhere where nothing is familiar.

And then my house. This house was bought with a specific agenda. I had hoped that a new home would mend the cracks in my marriage. A new project for my depressed and miserable husband. A new home for our little daughter to grow up in. Of course, it didn’t mend anything, it became a battleground, in part I think because I loved it and he didn’t. It gave me strength, and that helped me cope when things finally fell apart. This house saw sadness and violence back then. But it became something to fight for when I could not see a future. Something solid in Zoe’s life. She grew up here.

When Nigel moved in it became a proper family home and we have changed things quite a bit since then. But I think that the shadow of the unhappy times has lurked in the darker corners all the way along. We have had some very happy times here, we have wonderful neighbours (on one side!!) and a gorgeous outlook. But both the massive mortgage (connected to that first marriage) and those darker memories have remained just out of sight in the background.

It is time for new horizons and looking forward. This will be the first house that Nigel and I have bought together. It has come to represent so much. My new business will very much revolve around the house, with a new brand centred on my vision of the house. Nigel has always wanted to live by the sea, so he is getting his dream, and I will be so much closer to my beloved Lake District.

 

 

 

 

I NEVER thought that I would be able to do this. Never thought that I would be able to realise a dream. I wasn’t prepared for the pain of realising that dream. But perhaps that is what makes dreams so important. Nothing worth having comes easily. You have to work hard, and perhaps go through some tough stuff to earn your dream. What I will say is never give up. Work hard, keep in touch with your dreams, and when you see a chance, take it!

Stand up in a clear blue morning
Until you see what can be
Alone in a cold day dawning
Are you still free? Can you be?

When some cold tomorrow finds you
When some sad old dream reminds you
How the endless road unwinds you

While you see a chance take it
Find romance, fake it
Because it’s all on you

Don’t you know by now
No one gives you anything?
And don’t you wonder how you keep on moving?
One more day your way

And that old gray wind is blowing
And there’s nothing left worth knowing
And its time you should be going

While you see a chance take it
Find romance, fake it
Because its all on you