I'm trying to remember to write this stuff down as it happens and not stop writing because there is too much going on. So here we are, in the middle of a move to my new house, the house full of boxes, packed and unpacked, bubble wrap, old newspapers, piles of papers everywhere. The sun is out, which helps the mood, and to dry the sheets, because the new drier is at the house. The dogs are anxious. The sight of a suitcase is enough to send Bean into paroxysms of misery, so you can only imagine how she is with boxes being packed all around her. The previously healed hot spot is the size of two pound coin, and she has licked down about four layers of the epidermis. My desk is in my bedroom, so I can only write when I am alone, and I snatch moments between packing. A few things to note:
I went to the house yesterday and found that we had a kitchen and a cooker and two bedrooms had floors. All I know is that standing in that house makes me very, very calm. It has good juju, good bones too, but I think there has been a lot of love there. It's painted white because I couldn't figure out what colors would work without living in it, so it's now like an elegant Scandinavian building site. Stuart, our builder, has been working weekends to finish things, and I am so grateful for his quiet, modest, meticulous work ethic, his wry grin, his sardines on toast that he makes for lunch every day. Thanks in part to his measured, inquisitive nature we've found that we have to replace an old, very long wooden beam that is holding up the roof with something made of steel. Knowledge is power, I say. And then I try not to look at my bank account.
C is a marvel on the packing front. While I fall down rabbit holes of organization and culling and sorting, he quietly makes boxes, fills them with bubble wrap, and adds well-wrapped items, one by one. Sometimes I will take the dogs for a walk and come back to find three new huge boxes filled. We are the tortoise and the hare. I am Miss Las Minute, falling into screes of anxious worry which leaves me paralyzed and focused on the wrong things and he is a planner, moves slowly and thoroughly and always wins the race.
I am trying to Marie Kondo everything, but I am at heart, a pack rat. There is no reason, for example to keep years of New Yorkers or greasy fingerprinted copies of Bon Appetit. But they comfort me. With a heavy heart, I have recycled them. My boxes of cook books have been packed and I know exactly where they are, glancing at them nervously in the hope that they are never far away.
There is a calm that comes over me when I realize my daughter is only a few hours away. I can look at my phone and I can see where she is and I know that she is close enough to drive too. My son is too far away, where the Covid cases keep rising. He is steady and smart and I know he will be safe, but I worry about him all the time. Once again, I long for a Tardis, to transport me or my loved ones wherever they need to be, preferably so that all our little bubbles can live together.
Cooking supper for friends used to be the way I'd calm my anxiety. It's just not possible now. Geographically and because of this virus. Laying a table, gathering flowers, choosing glasses, preparing boards of snacks, all of these things have a deeply soothing effect. It is a cliche to say that cooking is a way of expressing love, but for me, I know that is true. Nothing is more satisfying than to be surrounded by loved ones, preferably outside on a sunny summer night, with good food, a glass of lovely wine, and laughter. This is what I wish for everyone.
The ladies at the livery across the drive are having tea and cake for us at three as a farewell. I will miss my lovely ladies. Every morning they are there, rain or shine, waving over the gate, calling me over for a cup of tea, sharing gossip and advice - so much excellent horsey advice. Carole, Susan, Tracey, Denise, Carlin, Sarah -- I shall miss them all enormously. And Thistle will miss Rusty, who is absolutely King of the Yard - he is a tan-colored Jack Russell mix with rather impressive whiskers, thoroughly self-contained, wise and discerning.
I will miss this place; I will miss the peacocks who wake us up at 4am, the walkers who wave as they traverse the Ridgeway, Lester the Happy Gardener, who, it turns out, is a lovely and sensitive human being, our octogenarian landlord, and his dog Jeeves the black labrador, who tells us amusing tales of his adventures around the globe, and shared a very lovely bottle of Bollinger with us to toast our leaving. I won't miss the bully of a gamekeeper here. I'm sure he has reasons for his unpleasantness, perhaps an unhappy childhood - who knows? I was bright and cheerful with him for a long time and then he was awful, so good riddance.
They say moving house is one of the great stressful things of life. Like divorce and death. Looking at what is happening all over the world right now, I'd say that this isn't even a blip on the scale.
"Movers" just popped up on my screen as a calendar event for tomorrow.
For now, be safe, be well, hug your loved ones tight.
Love, Miss W xo