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Downsize Diary – Week One


Downsize Diary – Week One

Week One is the realisation that it is going to happen.  No going back.  Erik and myself have finally made the decision to downsize.  Sell our big, lovely house and Kitchen Garden and move to a smaller home.  

Lighting candles for Christmas Dinner

We are going to say ‘Goodbye’ to our home of the last 16 years – the home that has coped brilliantly with 2 Wedding Receptions, (12 friends and family slept here many times), Millenium parties (remember them), friend’s ‘special’ Birthday Parties, Barbecue parties, New Year’s Eve Gourmet Dinner Parties, Parties, Parties and more Parties.  Mustn’t forget to mention it’s been almost a home to poorly Grandchildren, a haven for friends, family, waifs and strays in trouble, a ‘dropping-in’ place for friends just wanting a chat and a ‘cuppa’. 

Granny watches over a poorly Emily

Just writing about all those memories fills me with warmth – it’s been a happy house, but now, with both my sons and families living about 1 hour 15 minutes away, they have their own lives to live, and although we see them, it’s not often they all come and stay.  So we realised that we sort of rattle around in our house, and many of the rooms are redundant.  It needs a family, lots of feet and trainers to gently thunder up the staircases to the first and second floor, lots of voices raised in both laughter and anger – it needs to feel full.

Granny & grandchildren in garden

So after making the big decision, I felt very sad, but suddenly the thought of a smaller house that I can make into a beautiful home once again is giving me a sense of excitement.  My Designer son, Anthony, said to me, “Mum, you’ll make any house great,” which was a flattering and lovely comment, and I keep that in mind when I get a bit sad.

Jacob gathers our first crop of monster Parsnips

And as for the Kitchen Garden, it’s been going for 4 years now, has provided us with masses of fresh vegetables and fruit, and has given us both a healthy hobby.  I will be devastated at losing it, with it’s raised beds, our ‘Seaside Hut’ his and hers garden sheds, my fruit cage and greenhouse (OK – it’s not the most beautiful and is held together with Duck Tape, but it works) – but we are building into our plans another Kitchen Garden for the next house.

Nicola, Children and Granny on the raised decking area

The other part of the garden that I love is our raised decking area, surrounded by fencing and trellis.  Erik made it one summer, when I retired from The Dining Warehouse in York.  The first job I was given that hot July was to make a patio in front of it.  I barrowed tons of sand in from the ten-foot alley, and used a sack-barrow to transport Yorkstone flagstones (of all shapes and sizes) to make my own version of an old patio.  I infilled with old bricks and cobbles, then added grasses and plants.  I remember getting very fit, and golden brown that summer.  So many memories.  I planted Wisteria around the decking, Clematis, Honeysuckle and Paul’s Himalayan Musk Pink rambling roses.  It looked stunning. Still does.

Beautiful Wisteria seen through my shed window

To create a garden is a joy, and the pleasure I felt turning a huge plain lawn surrounded by only hedges, and nothing else, no shrubs or flowers or anything, into our garden of secret areas and overflowing (a bit much some times) with shrubs, herbs and flowers, is a special feeling.  Now we will be leaving it to others, and although I love my garden, my feelings will not be tinged with regret.  I really feel I am leaving it in a far more interesting state than I found it.  And I can alway make another one, albeit smaller.

But I digress.  Enough of the memories.  Now is looking to the future fuelled by these lovely memories of the last few years.  It is quite exciting, but I must confess, when I look around this big house, the amount of ‘Stuff’ that we have accumulated over the years (not forgetting that I am a bit of a hoarder, to say the least), and the amount that we have to de-clutter and tidy up, I wish I could just wave a magic wand and wake up tomorrow in a nice new home, with everything sorted.  PANIC, PANIC, PANIC – HELP!  That’s what I feel, sometimes as well.

The view from our patio into the main garden

So, as you can see, I see-saw between sadness, excitement and sheer panic.  Then I think to myself, “You don’t know how lucky you are, in this day and age.” So back to work I go.  This week’s task for me is painting the dining end of our kitchen, so it’s up and down on the steps (telling myself it will get me fit), paint brush in hand, eyes on the planked ceiling which I curse for it’s resistance to painting, and ears on the TV coverage of the Olympics.  This is the easy end of the Kitchen.

This is the start of our journey into Downsizing.  I do find it cathartic to get my feelings out, so I hope you don’t mind, but both Erik and I will write up in our ‘Downsize Diary’ how things are going (or not going) – all the warts and all happenings and how we cope.  Hopefully!!

We are on Twitter with our Downsize Diary – @downsizediary

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