People say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do. I don't know that I found it especially stressful - thankfully, our moving process seemed fairly straightforward and trouble free compared to some stories I hear - but my word it was exhausting. After spending Christmas with my family, John and I left the kids with my parents and returned to Leeds to finish the packing. We took advantage of every child free moment and saw friends, said goodbyes, and packed like demons. A memorable high point was spending New Year's Eve drinking cocktails with good friends (lifers, I like to think of them) and realising with a jolt that it was 3.15 am and probably time to go home. The hungover packing on New Years Day was a definite low, but we got through it. We also missed Bella and Angus like mad. At around 4 pm each afternoon I would stop whatever it was I was doing and start aimlessly pacing, thinking "I should be doing something!". I am programmed to live by their schedule.
Their absence just added to the strangeness of those last days. The house was much too quiet, but it was right that they weren't there, as they would've been very bored and fed up, and under everyone's feet. So when, on Friday lunchtime, the removal team closed the lorry doors and drove off, I didn't feel particularly sad or sentimental. I just found it all very, very surreal. John and I had one last look around, one last check that everything was locked or switched off, every cupboard emptied. I said a quiet mental Thank You to the house, for looking after us and for all those good years, and then we left. It's another family's home now, and I hope they'll be as happy as we were.
We are staying with my parents for now, until we find somewhere to buy. They very kindly suggested we move in, to save us having to rent. Most of our things are in storage, apart from the essentials like clothes, toys, fabric and yarn. Their house - which is my childhood home - is welcoming, accommodating and flexible, and we are all getting along just fine at the moment. We also have six viewings lined up for this week.
I've been thinking a lot about what I'll miss about Leeds. The people, my friends. Our amazing local school, the five minute walk to shops, doctors and library, the wonderful array of local takeaways and Indian restaurants. Further out I will miss The Dales, the bookshop at Saltaire and a few other random places but nothing I can't fix with a visit back up north. I miss funny odd things about our house like the internal double doors, the bountiful natural light, the feeling of safety, seeing our bits and bobs all over the place. Mainly I miss homemaking. I miss pottering and faffing, doing those little day to day things that make domestic tasks so pleasurable. I miss my stuff.
But this phase is a temporary one. The kids started their new school today and, although it's early days, seemed to take to it with remarkable equanimity. I'm constantly amazed by their ability to adapt, to go with the flow. This has been huge change for them, but they are embracing it. I am excited by all the new places there are for us to visit and discover, all those new things to do, to see, to experience.
Thank you all for your warm wishes and words of encouragement for our move. It really means a lot.