Don't forget the roses

I started writing this post at the beginning of December 2016 in the week leading up to us moving house. It has taken me a long time to finish writing it for so many reasons. I needed the dust to settle after moving house and I needed time to adjust to life in a new home before I could finish writing this. The wonderful thing about a blog is that the stories shared don't have to be complete because they are part of a bigger story that is ongoing. It's the details of our days that become part of a greater story and I want to paint those stories with words and pictures, so that in the years to come, when these current stories become old memories, we can look back and remember with greater clarity than our memories allow.


'Don't forget to pack the roses' I think to myself as I walk down the garden in the dark, making a mental note of what not to forget when we move house. We built this garden from scratch - it was just a rubble yard when we moved in three and a half years ago. Those David Austin roses were a present from my parents and their beauty astounds me. I will happily leave everything else in the garden - even my beloved peonies - but not the roses. I need to bring that bit of beauty with us. I collect the warm laundry from the tumble dryer in our garage at the bottom of the garden and wonder how many more trips I will do from the house to the tumble dryer in these last days before we move.

We have chosen this. We didn't have to move house - no one made us, or forced us to, but still, it feels bittersweet. There is often a sadness that comes with leaving something behind. Last night I dreamed about sleeping in our new home, with the sound of rain pounding on the skylight Windows. I am looking forward to that. It's such a comforting sound to me.


One week into living in our new home and I find myself parked by the roadside, holding my screaming baby and crying myself. I miss my old house. I miss the light and space. That golden light that flooded in whenever the sun shone. Why hasn't the sun shone yet since we moved?  I miss being able to walk around my bed without cracking my shin on the corner of the bed. Again, we have chosen this. But this feels a little like mourning.

That was the home where we brought home our babies from hospital. It was the home where we had lovely neighbours and a good amount of space. We thought long and hard about moving, and even once we had sold our house and had our offer accepted on the new house, I questioned time and time again whether this was the right move. John was always more certain. He took the attitude of, 'if our things don't fit in this house, just get rid of them! We don't need to live with much!' We viewed other houses that offered far more space for the same amount of money, and after each viewing, I would say to John, 'are you sure?' Then we would discuss the pro's and con's again. Every time, we decided that this would be a good move for us in terms of location within the city. But I struggled to get past the space we were losing for the benefits we were gaining.

Those first few months in our new home were hard. We moved in the Winter when the trees were bare and the rain was relentless. There were so many days where it felt like the sun never fully rose and I wandered around this house that was yet to feel like a home, wondering, 'where is the light?' on a daily basis. I didn't venture into our garden for a good long while. But when I did, I discovered a whole wall of climbing roses. I couldn't help but smile and think of the two little rose bushes that I had been so desperate not to forget. I wanted to bring life and beauty into our new home, and those roses represented that for me. And yet, there was beauty already here. Much to my delight, I discovered that the previous owners had also left a potted peony. They could have taken it with them, but for some reason, they didn't. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.
As Winter made way for Spring, our walls slowly filled up with pictures. We still have a big pile of unhung photo frames in the loft, but what I have realised is that new spaces call for changes. I loved all of the photos and artwork we had in our old home. But somehow, they don't all quite seem to 'fit' in our new home. Not in terms of space, but feel. Life has moved on and changed a lot in the time we spent in our first family home, and our photos weren't really representative of that. I realised back in December that we hadn't printed a single photo of Jude since he had been born in May. 

It takes time for a house to feel like a home, and slowly we are getting there. Where our last house felt like a ready made space that required little changes, this new house inspires me in ways that our last house didn't. And that surprises me. I don't know why, exactly, but it does. Spring is now in full swing and we have grown accustomed to our new home. We have plans and dreams of how to put our own mark on it, and that feels exciting. The birdsong is so much greater here than where we used to live, and we never tire of watching the squirrels scurrying up the tree trunks and along our garden wall. (We do, however, tire of them digging up our strawberry plants!) The clematis and violas are in full bloom and our daily trips to the park are so enjoyable. We have precious friends living round the corner and it truly is a gift to live in such close proximity to people who we can share life with.