Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where the Heart Is

Oh God, I am so happy.  Incandescently happy.  To be home.

The first few days were a bit bewildering, as though my mind couldn't quite take in the transition.  Couldn't let itself truly believe that the move was, in fact, complete.  Permanent.  Real.  I began to meticulously record the weather on the calendar hanging in my new kitchen.  Overcast but very warm.  Slight rain today, but, strangely enough, even though the roads were slick and the skies heavy, we didn't get wet.  Sun and blue sky.  A cheeky reassurance from that most cheerful of orbs...see, I do visit England from time to time, don't believe everything the Brits will readily tell you...

I love my new little house.  Every time I come downstairs in the morning, the bright kitchen grins at me and the living room welcomes me with open arms.  Hello again, they say.  Yes, you are still here.  It's not a dream.  Get your coffee and have a sit down, put on the radio and drink it all in.  Savour your home.

And it really does feel like a home, now that my belongings have finally arrived and are in situ.  In fact, it feels so homely (to me, at least) that I almost resent leaving it at all.  I scurry back to it daily, after walking the boys to school, and breathe in its cheeriness and relish the quiet.

At the back of the house (beyond the tepid, tip of a garden which is, quite frankly, a total embarrassment compared to my neighbours) lies the woods.  We traipse through the woods every day on our way to and from school.  I haven't had this much fresh air for years.  My boys have never been outside and walked this much in their lives.  We are all physically tired but also exhilarated by our daily ramblings up and down slopes, through (almost leafy) glens, treks through damp ditches and adventures through thickets.  The boys are in their element.

I knew they were true Brits at heart.

After initially fearing the mud and getting dirty (heaven forbid), they now plod through muck with the best of them and wear their filthy clothes and wellies with pride.  I love it.  There is nothing they like better than scampering down the parkland walk to a huge tree swing and spending hours twisting, turning, flying over ground with whoops and cheers and pride at their speed and fearlessness.

They both got into my first choice of school, which is even better than my first impressions, and I feel insanely lucky to have achieved this miraculous feat.  The kids are friendly and caring, the teachers are switched on and energetic, the parents are smart, interesting and welcoming.  It's all very pollyanna right now.  I keep resolving to Never take these rose tinted glasses off - goddamit I will super glue the buggers onto the side of my face if necessary.

PLUS, I am living with an adult again!  I know!  It's just such a thrill to have another physical presence mooching around the house after dark, who is taller than 4ft and (marginally) maturer than your average 7 year old.  The icing on the cake is that this (so called) adult is none other than my sister and, after the first week (where I am sure we were both thinking yea Gods, this is never going to bloody work) we have now settled into a groove and it's lovely.  Beyond lovely.  Luxurious.  What's more, she even makes me a cup of tea at approximately 9pm, when my bones are so firmly attached to the sofa I am incapable on movement.  For this, and much more, I love her and am relishing the sheer novelty of adult company every day.  I had forgotten - I had completely forgotten - how nice it was to share your life with an adult and not to feel so isolated and alone.  It's a very unexpected bonus of moving home and I am really treasuring the time with her.

The other realisation which has me grinning wryling on a regular basis, is how very titchy things are over here, compared to the land of Supersize USA.  My goodness, this country really is quaint in comparison.  The cars for example.  It's as though many of them have been borrowed from the land of Lilliput.  The roads, lanes and very narrow.  You can't help but get intimately acquainted with strangers coming in the opposite direction when you are on foot, which is hilarious when you consider how uncomfortable physical proximity seems to make the average Brit.  I am so tempted to goose people on these occasions.  If I'm not careful, I'm going to get myself arrested.

The things that don't leave me grinning?  Oh yes, there are a couple.  Tubs of hummus is one.  Why on earth would you create a flavour of hummus as delicious and moreish as Caramalised Onion...and then retail it in a tub so small that you are scrapping the bottom of it when you are only half way through a packet of sugar snap peas???  Why, people, why?  I simply don't understand the mentality of not being able to buy a bucket of my favourite food and being able to eat wads of it on a daily basis, without the fear of it running out by your third mouthful.

The other is my washing machine, which is miniscule by even standard British proportions.  Throw in a hand towel and three pairs of knickers and the thing is pretty much full.  We've owned toy drums with a bigger capacity.  I guess on the plus side, I don't have to worry about either the boys (or the cat, when it finally arrives out of quarantine) crawling and locking themselves inside it.  It is barely bigger than the circumference of Captain Underpants head (which is suitably oversized compared to your average 7 year old, but still).