By Josephine.Myles On Apr 21 2012, 1:00 am
I'm moving house today! Okay, really I'm writing this a few days before, surrounded by piles of cardboard boxes and dust bunnies, but it's scheduled to go up on moving day. What I'm really doing right now is shifting boxes and trying to decide where on earth everything is going to go, and then stressing about where the important things are that we need unpacked straight away. You know: toothbrushes, pjs, teaspoons, drinks cabinet…
The timing isn't brilliant as I have my second novel coming out on Tuesday: Handle with Care (see picture on left – even my moving boxes are joining in with the promo!) I'm still not sure if I'll have my broadband connected by then, but thank God for smartphones and cafés with wifi!
I've become a bit of a pro at moving house now, as I've moved fifteen times in the last sixteen years. Some of those moves were planned; some were forced on me. This particular move is strictly voluntary, but this tiny two-bedroom cottage is bursting at the seams with the three of us, and we can't wait to get in somewhere with a proper garden so my daughter can have a paddling pool this summer – assuming we get a summer here in England!
Despite the trauma of moving I'm glad I've lived in so many different homes as it's given me excellent fodder for writing. Here are my top five best and worst places I've lived:
- The bedsit – This was the very first place I lived after moving out from my parent's house. It was a lovely Victorian house and I had a great upstairs room with a huge bay window, but I had to share a bathroom with two dodgy old men, one of whom used to let his dog pee all over the communal stairs. Enough said.
- The student house – All the rooms were rented out independently, so I had no say about my housemates and was the only female in the house. Not only did the boys not bother cleaning the kitchen, but one of them used to play drum and bass so loud the whole house shook.
- The shared house – Imagine this: a heat wave summer, and you're sharing a shoebox-sized house with someone who owns a new kitten, and who yells at anyone who dares open a window, accusing them of trying to murder her sweet little kitty. The whole house stank of the litter tray. Disgusting.
- The in-laws – This was a nice enough house, but my husband's childhood room we had to stay in was tiny, with only a single bed. Okay for one night, but not much fun for a couple of months.
- The damp cottage - This lovely little ground floor flat in a 17th century stone cottage seemed wonderful at first, but after one winter we were ready to leave. The bedroom had inadequate heating and a leaky roof, and everything turned mildewed if you didn't keep it spotless.
- The haunted pub – Although the interior had been ruined by modernisation, the upstairs of this 18th century inn was a charming rabbit warren of rooms. According the manager, both the top floor and the cellar had resident ghosts. I never saw anything supernatural, but I did enjoy being able to get a full English breakfast cooked for me at the weekends by the pub chef. It also happened to be right by the railway level crossing, which I found exciting because I'd never walked over railway lines before!
- The Georgian flat with a view – This was from the brief time my husband and I had a mortgage. Our very first proper home was a first floor (that's second floor to anyone from the US) flat in a Georgian townhouse in Bath. It had twelve foot high ceilings and huge sash windows facing south, which looked out over the River Avon. Just gorgeous.
- The narrowboat – There's nothing quite like living on a narrowboat on England's canals. Despite all the hardships of life off the grid, I thoroughly enjoyed my time when ducks were my neighbours. The early mornings out in the countryside with the mist rising off the water were magical.
- The Edwardian house – For a couple of years my husband, daughter and I lived in the top two floors of a beautiful Edwardian house, with my parents occupying the ground floor. The house had so many period features, including stained glass, terrazzo flooring, sash windows, and fireplaces. The garden was wonderful too, with mature fruit trees giving dappled shade and a hammock underneath them. Sheer bliss on a summer's day!
- The 1930's semi – After a couple of years in another damp, 17th century cottage, my family and I are moving to a 1930's semidetached house. I've never lived in one before, but I've always wanted too as they built the best family homes back then. There are bay windows at the front, and the whole place feels warm, light and airy. I hope this is one we can stay in long term, as I'd like my daughter to grow up with a bit more stability in her life.
So what about the rest of you? Anyone else out there a compulsive mover like I am? And what are the best and worst places you've lived?
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
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