Friday, October 24, 2008

Location, location, location!

Singing Owl offered this week's RevGals diversion...My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It's a long story, but the short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon we will unload it into a storage unit in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five isn't really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for all of us are most welcome, however.) This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.
Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?

1. 23 Avondale Road, St Leonards-on-Sea
Till I was 18 we only lived in one house...the rather unbeautiful chalet-bungalow that my parents had moved into the year before I was born. They had had fun moving pegs around to change the relative proportions of the rooms as they bought the house while it was still being built...My mother had a long term heart condition, which meant that living without an every-day upstairs was a huge advantage: (the room on the 1st floor was our guest room)....My earliest memories involve lying in bed in the room that shared a chimney space with the drawing room, and hearing my father playing Mendelssohn Songs without Words or Chopin waltzes on the piano next door...It was the rather wild garden of this house that was the site of my earliest camping expeditions...The ground was too bumpy for a lawn mower to cope, so my father cut the grass with an old fashioned sickle, and always left enough to form a jungle to be explored...Behind the rhodedendrons was a magical world that nobody else knew about...When I was older, I came home after a night sitting up setting the world to rights with a group of my friends, and timed my entrance through the back door into the kitchen so that it coincided exactly with my father's entrance from the bedroom, as he began the day by making a cup of tea. I'll never forget the look on his face...I went to bed pretty speedily, that's for sure!

2.15a St Matthew's Gardens, St Leonards-on-Sea (I love that it was St Matthew's...clearly the saint and I were designed to do business together from a relatively early stage)
From there, with my parents' death, I moved to another flat, still in the same small seaside town...An Edwardian house with high ceilings, dado rails and a wonderful stained glass window on the stairs, this was lovely. It was the first place I'd been responsible for, and with all the panache and certainty of 18 I decorated, furnished and set out to prove to the world that I was in fact grown up.

3. 53a Cleaver Square London SE11
Graduation from Cambridge, a year of research in Durham and then it was time to find a job...All the cool jobs were in London, so I decamped there and after three months of exhausting commuting found an affordable flat in Kennington, SE11. The flat was most unbeautiful outside, but with wonderful surroundings in one corner of a Georgian square, which WW2 German bombers had "remodelled" - so that I had a convenient modernish flat with fabulous neighbours.

4. 93 Leathwaite Road, London SW11
Our first married house...a Victorian terraced number, still south of the Thames in an area that was awash with young marrieds, mums and babes. It was such a fun place to play at being grown up...with its ornate cornices, its bay windows and the lovely pseudo farmhouse kitchen. It also had a mad baroque bathroom, all over dark red paint, gilt angels and mirrors in unexpected profusion. If ever a bath were designed to encourage champagne consumption, this was the one...decadent right down to its curly claws!

5. Lower Farmhouse, Great Rissington (we moved from here before our first digital at some point I will have to go and take photos...we still own the house, LCM's workshop is in the barn there, and we have tenants in the house itself, so photography isn't an impossibility...and it is a seriously pretty house)
the Georgian dollshouse that was our family home for 15 years, and one reason why I was quite as stubborn in my refusal to respond to God's call. When I was a child I had dreamed of living in a Georgian house in the country, with an orchard and a porch full of gumboots. I was 30 when we moved there and it matched my dream to the last shutter and flagstone. I loved that house so much and its generous garden was the setting for all the significant events of my children's early years...The Dufflepud was born there...The Best Dog ever shared our life for 13 years there...It was there that I began to grow into myself.

Since then, there has been Privet Drive (aka The Curate's House) and now, delightfully, the splendid new vicarage...Barring university living, that's all the homes I have ever had....and the only one I left without regret was the Curate's House - but then, I was far too busy weeping over the church that I was leaving behind to care tuppence about a house that was perfectly adequate, but never exciting. When the time comes to move on from here, a good long way into the future, I suspect I'll see things quite differently.

Living in a "tied cottage", as all Church of England stipendiary clergy do, will obviously mean that the future holds more moves...and that the attatchment I may feel to any home will be inextricably entwined with the web of parish relationships I develop. I really don't enjoy house moves at all and having lived in my dream home already I might never have moved on, were it not for this strange and wonderful calling...I guess it's another lesson in travelling light - and the strange thing is that, once the wrenching grief of departure had abated, it's actually FINE to be somewhere else.


Jonathan Hunt said...


You can always retire to your dream home


EmJayDee said...

Each a real home. Really enjoyed your play. Hope today goes - is going well for you.

LutheranChik said...

Very evocative images of all your homes! When I was young I too was fascinated by vintage houses with stained glass insets in the windows.

Rainbow dreams said...

Cleaver square... one of our very best friends lived there...mid to late eighties..:) I like this post, perhaps it's just because I'm nosey!!