This has hurt a bit. I’ve been off work for two weeks but I didn’t travel anywhere further than our local branch of B&Q. It must be about four years since I had anything more than a couple of days off away from the cut and thrust world of the Foot Health Practitioner without venturing abroad, so being stuck here in rain-drenched, flood-stricken, gale-ravaged, god-forsaken England, I have found, was a bit hard to swallow.
However, do not despair, for these two weeks have marked a significant stage in my Glorious Five Year Plan. Three years ago I decided that within five years I would sell my house and fill my life with sunshine on the back of the vast wealth that would become available to me from not having a mortgage anymore. To be truthful, I didn’t do much about it other than dream a bit and talk a bit until last November when my house tarting up exercise first kicked in, but now things are beginning to take shape.
I have spent every spare moment since the turn of the year sorting through the contents of my messed up loft, garage, cupboards and mind. This exercise in itself has deserved to be classified as a Glorious Five Year Plan. Eighteen years’ worth of crap and clutter are no more!
Much of the stuff I have excavated is precious to me, such as:
a) Three metric tons of paintings and drawings and stories that my wonderfully creative kids amassed during their school days and which I didn’t have the heart to throw away (while they were watching).
b) 78,423 pieces of Lego. There were more than this really but I used a few for my own pleasure and quickly knocked up a scale model of York Minster during one of my much deserved coffee breaks.
c) More old football programmes than there has been football matches to have taken place in my lifetime. Some are precious but the likes of Devizes Town vs Melksham Town in the Screwfix Direct Western League First Division were easy to part with, despite the fact that England World Cup winner, Roger Hunt, used to play for Devizes when he were a lad.
d) The previous occupant's collection of PVC fetish wear.
e) Lord Lucan.
f) A million old postcards, letters, tickets, posters, diaries and other heart-warming artefacts from my past.
Much more of the stuff I unearthed was of no value to me at all. You wouldn’t believe the trouble I had getting a JCB into my loft but I’m glad I did because the results have made the man at the local tip and the lady at the local charity shop very happy. If Barnardo’s manage to sell everything I have taken there they will have so much cash in their coffers there won’t be a homeless child left in the whole of Britain, except for my own children, because I’m selling the house with no real idea of where I’m going to go to live next.
So with the family home de-crapped, I was able to get on with some full-on decorating and repairing and cheering up of the place. It was hard work but I have enjoyed it and now my house is cleaner and tidier and more presentable than it has ever been while I have lived here. So much so that I think I would be happy living here now.
In the back of my mind there have been thoughts of the wrench I will undergo in leaving this place. I have lived here for almost eighteen years which is almost one third of my life. I have lived in Chippenham far longer than I lived in Leeds which I consider to be my home town. The previous longest I have lived in a house was the one I lived in from being born in Middlesbrough, and where I lived for a bit less than nine years. Also my kids have grown up here and although they’ve all moved on, the memories of them rattle around in every empty room when I am here on my own. Dismantling their bedrooms to decorate them made me feel like I was dismantling their childhoods.
But I must be realistic about the situation now and for the rest of my life. I have had hardly any leisure time in the last few years. I have been working eighty or more hours a week for a long time and the only way I have been able to escape the mountain of tasks that have been sniping at me from all angles has been to leave the country and go places where nobody could contact me and where I couldn’t see the kitchen cupboard doors that needed repairing or the garage that I wouldn’t even say looked like a bomb had hit it because no self-respecting bomb would have gone within a mile of it.
When I sell this house things will be different. When I Sell this House, I have decided, forms W.I.S.H. the perfect acronym to fit the situation I am in.
W.I.S.H. the pressure will be off for the rest of my life. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because life has been getting better and better for me for years now and I enjoy almost everything I do, but there are so many things I don’t currently do that I know I would thoroughly enjoy.
During my two weeks off work I was paid a visit by a very enthusiastic estate agent. Despite my cautious approach to the property market he left me with an enormous feeling of optimism. This house goes up for sale tomorrow morning at nine o’clock so please do me a favour. Please log on to eBay and put in a bid for it. Every fifty pence that it goes up by will make my twilight years just that little bit more comfortable.
For sale ... Casa De La Revolución Gloriosa.
W.I.S.H. I will spend more time writing this blog and travelling and taking photographs for starters.
I’ve missed knocking out these late night ramblings. It’s good to be back.