A special brithday
“Look at this,” my wife blurted. It was her birthday, a ‘significant’ one....
Within half an hour we were driving almost two hours westwards, leaving an amusing litter of toothbrushes, half eaten bowls of muesli, abandoned pyjamas and rooms cluttered with the vital task of packing up this house we have sold.
The past 48 hours have turned our heads. It began at the table, chewing that muesli, ticking off jobs done, contemplating the long list still awaiting attention before we move from this old cottage in three days time. My wife was typically surveying the Internet, I often say her phone is her closest friend as she listens to podcasts and surfs the net much of the day. She frequently sleeps with it under her pillow listening to replay classic dramas, a habit picked up to help her to sleep after harrowing 15 hour shifts filled with drama and stress as she controlled several hospital wards in a busy and world renowned London hospital.
Exhausted, we’re in a state of emotional buzz, not knowing where we’re going next week, where we’ll live upon our return. Touching our hearts, friends have offered us rooms, cottages, lux apartments in places ranging from Manchester to Paris, Spain to Essex, Devon to the Pyrenees. But by the time I let everyone know our dire situation, we’d already found a solution, booking tickets to France and packing our VW van for a three months camping escape. Amid all this uncertainty, it’s been a bogglingly complex move to plan for - stuff to leave in storage for several months, winter stuff to return to at the end of our French summer, stuff for the five days before we leave and travel stuff.
That “Look at this!” had us arriving in a small market town on the edge of Dartmoor and the estate agent drove us up a hill overlooking all this. A small garden cut in half and at a price that building upon it would be within our budget. After months of finding nothing suitable or without multiple problems, here was a radical solution. You can imagine how crazy the next twenty four hours were, talking to the planning officer, to a builder, to an architectural surveyor, to people who’d built their own budget homes and then frantically drawing up ideas and finally, this morning, drawing plans acceptable to all these experts.
So there we are, two days before all our things go in to storage, and a solution popped up. I call my wife a witch, a silver witch, for she often does this sort of magic. We’d cancelled her special ‘significant’ treat, but she got a garden plot for her birthday!