Houston, we have landed.


July 30, 2012 by talkaboutyork

We have at last moved to York. I have so much to tell you about what we’ve done since arriving, but before I do that, I have a final post to write about the home we just left.

Leaving the house, locking the door and walking away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I am so pleased to have had the time on my own to walk through the empty rooms saying goodbye to our memories. But I did it while sobbing. Not little quiet tears. Big, loud, body shaking sobs. By the end of the day, I felt emotionally wrung out, the way you may feel after the loss of a loved one. It was raw grief and a very real sense of loss.

I had some time on that last day to jot down some thoughts on my ipad. I didn’t get to finish my thoughts as I had to lock up and leave, but I didn’t want to throw what I’d written away.  So I’m pasting it below. What follows is a series of photographs I took on the final morning at our old house using just my mobile phone as my camera had been packed. You can see why it was heartbreaking to leave….


There is a cool breeze blowing. The sun is baking down, only just on the right side of comfortable. I’m sitting in the partial shade of our huge walnut tree, listening to the birds sing. My eyes have slightly lost focus as I stare at the light and dark green stripes mowed into the grass, which sweeps up a small incline away from me, before curving around a bed of leafy shrubs. Beyond that but out of sight, I know that a large stretch of green lies in anticipation of a football match to be played upon it. Indeed , it is where countless football, cricket, baseball and rugby matches have been played. Today it lies quiet.

I’m waiting. A posse of Polish cleaners are scrubbing out cupboards and hoovering up dust bunnies. I can’t say my final goodbye until they’ve gone. My husband, children and cat left several hours ago, snaking their way north to our new home. They were remarkably tear free, the children excited to start their new adventure, my husband preoccupied with the final legalities of the sale going through, the cat nonplussed.

In contrast I have had hours to kill, hours to think, hours to remember. Six years ago I arrived at this house with an 11 month old and a two year old. We got here before the removal truck did. It was a day just like today, one of those perfect, glorious English summer days. The boys sat on the grass, aimlessly pushing a tricycle with their feet. I couldn’t believe this house was ours.

I imagined the boys growing up here, making dens and playing ball games. It happened exactly like that. Where did the six years go? There are so many memories wrapped up in this house and the surrounding countryside.

I walked this morning, ‘the loop’ as we call it, a short walk that takes in the length of the village and some stunning countryside. I must have walked it hundreds of times since we moved here, but never had it looks so beautiful as it did today. The freshly laundered sky, bright blue up high yet hazy on the horizon, suggestive of the heat to come. The dewdrops glinting in the grass, the cobwebs shimmering on rickety styles.  I walked past the church, along the street that my boys learned to ride their bikes. Past the school where they started their education. Past their friends’ houses. Past the telephone box that I told them was a time machine…and which they fully believed was true. Past the numerous footpaths that lead enticingly away across the country, which I have walked so many times seeking peace and clarity of thought.

I can’t keep writing. The cleaners have gone. The new owners will be here soon. It’s time for me to say goodbye to our wonderful home. The waiting is over. I’m leaving a small part of my heart behind.


The Old Well

The orchard at Walnut Tree Cottage

Walnut Tree Cottage

The front of our home

The track leading up to the fields

Top of the track

The track across the top of the fields forming part of ‘the loop’

The fields with sweeping views

Heading along the loop

The churchyard in the morning sun

The church

Where my children learnt to ride bikes

The track leading to the farmer’s fields which I shouldn’t have walked on but did

Stile and footpath

The Manor House

Cobwebs and dewdrops and rickety gates

The ‘afro’ telephone box that my boys were convinced was a time machine

The Walnut Tree – the reason for the house name

The back garden

Our beautiful country cottage

The boys sitting in the same spot where they were first photographed six years before. Just a bit bigger


2 thoughts on “Houston, we have landed.

  1. Expat Mum says:

    Just found your blog via Nappy Valley Girl’s. Wow – not surprising that you sobbed and sobbed. What an idyllic place, although coming from God’s Own Country myself, I’m slightly biased. You will have a great time in York though – how could you not? Take the boys to the Jorvik Centre as soon as you can. It’s fab. Good luck.

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