Monday, 4 January 2010
It was August 28th and warm rain began to fall heavily as we turned from civilization into rural Shropshire. No more white lines down the centre of the road for us! 'Off-roading' along our lane made me realize how inadequate our two cars were in this environment. Was I as inadequate as the cars, had I just made the biggest mistake of my life. I imagined the future; isolated, lonely, saggy, shopless. As we reached the wooden gate the rain stopped and the sun came out. A sign surely?
The removal men wouldn't reach us till the following day so we unpacked blow up beds and essential provisions which included champagne. Leaving intrepid explorer girl and Daddy treking the fields, the four year old and I set off in the car across a prehistoric volcano to the chip shop, a mere seven miles away.
Later husband and I ate our chips standing up in front of an open fire. Champagne and chips are an excellent combination. The children sat on cushions caked with dog hair that they'd pulled from an abandoned sofa. I drank faster. The last inhabitants clearly had allergies; cleaning and gardening!
We all slept together that night. Warm and happy in our new adventure. We slept late too, on account of the darkness of the house wrapped in wisteria.
The next day the sun streamed into the kitchen, the only room in the house naked of foliage. Unfortunately the rose coloured specs I planned to wear that day were nowhere to be seen. In the bright light of the morning the house was revealed. Every cupboard, drawer, ledge, shelf was filled with abandoned objects. They lay under a deep layer of dust and sadness. Nasty furniture lurked in every room. I physically recoiled from toilets and hairy plug holes. The expensive kitchen range was filled with a tar-like substance, possibly deceased dinners. I felt a real dislike for a person I had never even met.
It's amazing what bleach, Milton Fluid and heavy duty gardening gloves can acomplish. Husband had almost filled the skip by 10am when the removal van appeared.
We worked hard that day, removing the horrid things left in the house and bringing in our own horrid things. That night exhausted, in front of the fire on our own sofa, we read husband's text from his twenty-something cousins from Hereford.
'See you in the morning, we're coming to help.'