Monday, 27 August 2007
and I remember how we'd play, simply waste the day away....
After more than thirty years in the same house, my parents have finally upped sticks and moved. They've only moved a mile or so down the road and into the village proper, but when I drove down there for the first time today, it still felt very strange. My parents moved to the old house in 1977 when I was barely three years old and I can't really remember any other home. Of course, I hadn't lived there properly since I finally moved out more than ten years ago after University. I was sort of expecting "moving out" to be a big thing, but in the end it was really a case of not moving back at the end of the academic year when I had finished my Masters. My room stayed pretty much just as I had left it, only I was now officially living at a different address.
Given that I started attending a boarding school in 1981 when I was seven years old, and boarded until the age of 18, at which point I left for University... I suppose you could say that I hardly spent any time there at all. You could say that, but of course it was here that I came back to when school broke up; it was here where over the course of several years I flattened a piece of ground until it became serviceable as a cricket pitch; it was here that I used to sneak out into the field for a crafty smoke when I thought no one was looking.
That house holds a lot of memories for me. Long after I moved out, this was the place that I still called "home".
So I suppose I surprised myself slightly when we drove past the old house on the way down to visit my mum and dad at their new address. The shell of the building was intact, but as I slowed down to have a good look, I could see that the entire garden, the garden that my parents must have spent thousands of hours trying to tame, had been decimated. The new owners appear to have gutted the house itself and are busy building two enormous extensions at either end of the building. I surprised myself because I felt almost completely detached from the whole thing. My parents used to live there; I grew up there. But my parents don't live there anymore. The house is changing, but the memories remain and the memories revolve around the people, not the place itself. It's only bricks and mortar. Only bricks and mortar.
I turned my head back to the road and drove on down into the village to see the new house, which, although it's very nice, I will never call home.