You’re always your hungriest at the time, aren’t you. Until the next time when you think, no, this is definitely the one. This time I’m proper starving. That last time was nothing compared to this.
But this was the real deal.
Moving house will do that to you, what with all the packing and piling and dragging of your stuff. It’s enough to make you kiss the cheese and beans on toast that you sit on the floor of your new house at 9 o’clock at night to consume from the only plate you could find. To this day I’m confident: that is the greatest meal I have ever had.
When I walked through the door that September morning four years ago, I went over to the kitchen window of the home I suddenly owned, leant against the washing machine I was yet to be acquainted with and had a little cry.
I doubt there’s ever been a house purchase made that wasn’t loaded with emotion. A shopping trip that significant has to mean something – that a divorcee needs a new address, that a growing family needs more space, or, as in our case, that a young couple was being given their very own one bed, two bathroom step on the property ladder. If that room ratio alone doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, I don’t know what will.
I’d cried when we’d walked out of our solicitor’s office too, after signing all the papers that said that the little maisonette with the spiral staircase was soon to be ours (and also something about ‘conservation areas’ that I still don’t quite understand. Perhaps David Attenborough will pop round at some point? I do hope so.).
“Don’t you realise what we’ve just done?” I said. “We basically just got married.”
My husband wasn’t my husband yet at the time. He was my boyfriend who I’d been going out with for a solid, sensible six years before committing to co-owning any bricks. We’d rented some together – sure – but owning them meant we’d have to paint the walls, and change the lightbulbs, and we’d never really had to do that before (we just moved out if they went. It was easier). There was so much to come.
With a new house comes so many firsts. The first bath in the new tub, the first flower planted in the garden, and the first ‘discussion’ about how, in this house, we replace a toilet roll when it runs out, because we’re not savages now, are we.
And then things get more advanced, more complicated – rooms get renovated, floors get replaced, and tempers get tested like they never have before. What we know is that I have one and that when workmen are late it is short, very indeed.
But this is all part of the game we’re so privileged to play. And four years on with the walls intact and the roof still in place and a pair of sofas that we’re now just days from owning outright (we’ll take it from here DFS, thanks very much), it seems only right to charge a glass –
To the next chapter in this home of ours – to the next Christmas, the next Spring, and the next battle with a complicated bulb. And to that very first night in our very humble abode – with the floor as our chair, and the floor as our table, as we ate the greatest meal we’ve ever had and looked ahead to everything we’d no idea was to come.