Last night I was listening to Radio 4 and a lovely thoughtful programme came on, presented by Mark Tully entitled Moving On. He was talking about leaving a flat he had lived in for 30 years in India, and he presented poetry and music on the theme of moving home and what that might mean to each of us. I found it so moving. Memories of moving from Norton Road came flooding back, and what it had meant to me to leave what had been a home, a business premises, a place where dreams and hopes came to fruition or faded, and the space in which I brought up my two children and a generation of music students.
I remember going to see the property for the first time and being totally unimpressed with it - it was almost too much to take on, but fortunately Glyn saw the potential in the house from the first and with a little gentle persuasion I came on board and we bought the house. We moved in during September. The house had been empty all summer - and probably longer - and the lawns were thigh high, the hedge obscured the drive, and everywhere weeds were flourishing in the gardens. We hired a box van, moved our furniture in - now looking rather puny in the large rooms - and the first thing that Glyn and his Dad did was to cut the hedge. The clippings filled the box van and when we drove to the tip later that day the man on the gate thought we were professional gardeners and wanted to charge us a professional rate.
Abigail was only nine months old when we moved. She crawled on dirty carpets, on floors covered in plaster dust, on floors that I had only just swept free of the debris from a demolished fireplace. She lived in the mess of no kitchen, no hot water for a week as the central heating was put in, as we turned the house into a habitable home. The kitchen was horrendous and needed doing as soon as we moved in, cheaply but cheerfully.
Cris was born four years later. By that time the house had been decorated throughout, we had new carpets, and I was working as a piano teacher in one of the rooms downstairs. It was incredibly difficult trying to look after a baby, take care of Abigail who had just started school, all my students, as well as the housework and trying to improve my own playing. We eventually extended the house to build on a music studio, and up into the loft to put in a proper bedroom for Cris. Home felt like a palace - lots of space, two huge lawns which gave us a degree of privacy especially in the back where we spent long afternoons in the sun which shone there through long afternoons and evenings.
Leaving home after Glyn died was one of the most difficult things I have had to do. It took two tries - the first was impossible, and the second I managed, but it hurt me deeply for a long time. I don't know what I missed most. I can still walk around the house in my mind look out of its windows, see my children in their rooms, see Glyn sitting in his favourite place in the front room, smoking, reading, and watching tv. I do know that after he died in the house - I could not live there on my own. I felt as if I was treading on a grave when I walked through the hall and I could not manage those huge lawns on my own.
But so much has been lost. So much.
I threw away ("decluttered."....sigh) things I should have kept, and I know that even had I held onto them - they would have lost meaning by now, or would have had to be disposed of or put into long term storeage, but the memory of clearing the house, trying not to grieve over the loss of things when the loss of Glyn was so much more than that, the memory is not easy to live with.
Moving on is - as the song says - hard to do. Maybe when one has spent a quarter of a century in one place it is not really possible to get that place out of oneself, of ones truest being.