Photos by the ridiculously talented Xanthe Berkeley.
I’ve moved 25 times since I left home at the age of 18, twenty years ago.
I’ve lived in 12 cities, 5 provinces and 2 countries and, somewhere in there, spent six months in Jamaica and Hawaii, doing bird research. I’ve lived in apartment complexes and duplexes, a little lodge in the mountains and a cabin in the woods, various sublets in various cities, a trailer overlooking the Rockies, a room by the sea, a two-storey house on 4 acres of land. I’ve lived on my own, with boyfriends and flat mates and family members and friends. I’ve lived with cats and dogs and a ferret named Fergie. I’ve lived without electricity and running water. I’ve also lived in the richest part of town.
I once had an eccentric, old Greek landlady who paced up and down her hallway like the woman on speed in Requiem for a Dream. I also had a downstairs neighbour who played Unbreak My Heart 32 times in a row one Sunday morning in 1997. I dropped a washing machine moving it up a flight of stairs in college and spent that year at the laundromat every Wednesday night. My flat on Latimer was so small, I had to wash my dishes in the shower and cook dinner in a toaster oven. My dog is buried under an oak tree in the back yard of my old house in Nova Scotia and I often think of the cherry blossoms in Nelson and wonder if I’ll ever go back to visit.
I’ve painted more walls that I can count, sometimes in very bad colours (the flamingo pink bathroom springs to mind), packed and taped and unpacked a thousand boxes, bought and chucked far too many toilet brushes and brooms and mops and all those things that are a bit too unclean and awkward to move.
My life sometimes feels like a bunch of boxes, gathering dust and mildew, waiting to be opened.
And I am ready to unpack, people. Once and for all.
The daffodils are in bloom in London and Spring is on its way and we are so close to finally starting the actual physical work on this house. Everything has been on paper so far, perfect plans of walls and doors and miniature stoves and beds and dining room tables. We’ve been dreaming in 2D but soon, we’ll watch our house get demolished and built back up again into a home.
Home: a cat sitting on a window sill, books scattered about, a very plump chair, a bowl of lemons on the kitchen table, a pie in the oven, old photos on the wall.
Joe and I are quite adamant about refitting this house in the most “green” way possible – using solar panels and rain water harvesting and insulation fit for Eskimos and VELUX® sun tunnels to bring natural light into dim places. And then, beyond the structural stuff, what if we were to put a round window in the kitchen? And maybe we should have a green roof with thyme that turns purply-pink in the autumn. Should we expose the brick on the bathroom wall? How crazy would that be? And can we build an entire wall of built-in bookshelves? I’ve always wanted an entire wall of built-in bookshelves. A home for all those books in boxes. And let’s have an orangerie in the back yard and host outdoor movie nights in the summer.
It’s going to be a checkerboard year – one small move at a time. But it’s all terribly exciting and by this time next year, I, we, will have a home.
And I don’t expect I’ll be moving again anytime soon.
This post is sponsored by VELUX. All opinions are my own. Girl’s gotta pay the reno bills, yo!