Last week was the one year anniversary of living in my house. The time has flown by and the occasion of 12 months in this space has left me contemplating the concept of ‘home’ and what it means to me and my little family.
In what I now sometimes refer to as ‘my past life’ I never felt satisfied with home. I didn’t particularly feel at home anywhere I lived –Nottingham, North, East and North-West London, Olney. I always felt I was chasing something, a life that would be perfect if only we lived in a better home. I owned a house, that didn’t help. I lived in a big flat, a studio flat, a garden flat. A small house and a big house, an old one and a new one. It still didn’t feel right but I soon got really REALLY sick of moving.
And then I found myself living alone with Elfie and Hux in a rented house and my mum and dad came up with an idea. They’ve owned a house, a small two bedroom 80’s-built house on an estate in Milton Keynes, for about ten years. They said that if I wanted to I was more than welcome to move in as their tenant. Paying tenant, I add.
At first I said, ugh, no thanks, who in their right mind would want to live in Milton Keynes?! I thought I’d need more than two bedrooms, more than a small open-plan living space downstairs. More than the town of eternal roundabouts.
But then I realized how good a semi-new start could be. In a new place, in a house with new neighbours, close to my gym and the place I always retreat to when I’m having a bad day: WAITROSE. And so I said yes, I would move into the Milton Keynes house, but probably just for a short while as I was deciding what I wanted to do with my life and where I wanted to live in the long-term.
It wasn’t an easy move. There were tenants here who didn’t want to leave (and I felt extremely guilty for making them) – they had three months notice and then overstayed that by a month more. Then it was time for my dad (DIY extraordinaire) to knock through the lounge and kitchen to make space for my table, paint the house from top to bottom, fit new french doors and kitchen and re-tile the bathroom.
Our new house was a long time coming.
But for the first time in my life I feel like I am home here.
I love everything about this house, from the small living space that gets a bit crowded on a rainy Sunday afternoon to my walk-in wardrobe and our dodgy 80s artex ceilings. I love my little office nook in the kitchen and the cupboard I hang up my laundry in. I love the fact that we have been so content here, we feel so settled and safe and warm. I even love Milton Keynes with its hundreds of roundabouts (130, apparently), short 30 minute train journey into London and hugely convenient shopping center.
Some people think dogs are excellent judges of character- well, I think my little house is. I get very territorial (but don’t worry, I stop short of weeing over everything like a cat) and if I don’t trust someone I will feel strange about them being in my house. I dunno, call me Mystic Meg or something, but if a man I’m dating visits my house and I feel weird then that’s them done.
My house is magic.
This house, it hasn’t been without dramas. For one the garden is huge and if there’s anything I hate more than cleaning the bathroom it is mowing the lawn. BAD LUCK, Alice. There are also plenty of fruit trees that bear bounties, bounties that go moldy if you don’t put them in the green bin quick enough (nope). I really need to sort out the steamed-up mess that is the greenhouse (or, as Elfie calls it, ‘the shed that is glass’) and I’m currently hunting for a replacement floor since my new steam cleaner cooked the top layer of my designer Karndean vinyl.
So that’s me – insanely happy in this little Milton Keynes home that I moved into as a six month stop-gap a whole year ago. It’s going to take a very special house to make me leave.
What makes you feel like you’re home?