We completed the sale on our condo in Naples on 28th January so for the first time in seventeen plus years we have just the one home. It already feels rather odd, as if I have forgotten something or lost something; not in a major way, just that niggly feeling you get in the corner of your brain which keeps saying something indefinable has slid out of reach.
|The house I was quite literally born in. No UPVC porch seventy years ago!|
|My next home age 11 to 19. Not how it looked when my mom had it; it always had a lovely front garden|
I was uprooted all of about five miles when I was eleven and the next house was always my 'mom and dad's house' in my head. Five miles might as well have been another planet as far as an eleven year old is concerned. I suspect this began my 'gypsy' lifestyle with houses. The roots were already damaged.
At nineteen I married and moved into a flat (no photo), still in Birmingham but again a few miles from my mom's house.
A couple of years later we moved on to a better flat and, again, in another part of Birmingham. By twenty-four my first husband and I had moved to our first house in Lakenheath in Suffolk. (no photo) I was now truly severing all connections with any residual concept of home that I had remaining.
|No outside photo f the second flat. This was our junk shop furniture we had re-covered. Note the record player and fireplace very sixties.|
By the time I was thirty and had my first baby I was living in another part of the country and had fetched up in Royton (no photo) in Lancashire. I was more and more isolated from that first ideal of home - the loss of friends you had grown up with and family all around you was now firmly established. I am sure some people don't feel this privation and others will never settle themselves to it. All I can say is that I reached an 'acceptance' of it before I was twelve, so every move after that seemed to matter less and less, the loss had already happened.
|watching my 'next home being built|
By the time my son was nearing school age we moved again; this time to an area with a good school. This was the only other house I spent a lot of years in and I made many, many memories of life there with my children. It was certainly bought as the forever house and therefore the future home for us all.
Life often takes turns we don't plan on and my husband and I divorced and the children grew up and I eventually moved on to another life with Ken. This began in his home and then we bought our first house together; and so our collection of houses began with our giving up the two we already had.
|our lovely first house together|
After we were married we bought a lovely house together and settled down to a normal future of work and the hope of retiring early. Then we went on holiday! In 1999 we did the classic thing - we went on holiday to Florida and bought a house while we were there; three bedrooms, swimming pool, the works.
|Queens Park home|
For a few years we worked in the UK and escaped to Naples as often as we could. My spunky eighty-plus my mother often came with us... and all was well. Very soon we decided we wanted more of the Florida life so we retired early and downsized our UK home. Indeed the sale of our big house and the purchase of the tiny bungalow all happened courtesy of the internet - leaving us actually without a home in the UK for a couple of months while we soaked up the Florida sunshine.
|our tiny but perfectly formed bungalow|
Eventually the upkeep of a single family home in Naples all year became a chore so we sold it and bought a 'lock and leave' sort of house.
By now my mother had stopped coming to Naples with us so we decided to sell up yet again. We thought we would find a slightly larger home in the UK as we would be spending more time there and also buy somewhere in Europe. this would be an easier commute for us all.
In the UK we bought a wreck of a house a few doors from our bungalow which we then completely refurbished. Never let me get started on that story unless you have a few hours of you life to donate. Never again! The sales picture here is from further down the line when we sold it on
After a protracted search in Spain we ended up buying a lovely farmhouse and nine acres in France! Most people's dream home.
|leaving Les Roches|
I never 'settled' there. I loved the house and land and trees(!) to smithereens but I hated being so alien. My French is very, very basic and though I am used to be isolated it felt intensified when I was surrounded by a world I couldn't even understand aurally.
In the UK we had also found a better-fit house - we realised how much we both needed to return to a detached home - our own fiefdom - and with enough room to cover our needs without too much compromise. So we bought our current home.
In Naples, around the same time, we found the condo we have just sold
By now I have enough sense to know 'you can never go home'. It no longer exists.
Ken and I have been together for almost twenty-three years and have run through eleven homes together here, America and France. I think it is time to try and make a proper home for us both here in Bury.
So the new era begins.