I’m trying to persuade my husband to be as enthusiastic about our impending new home as me and Eleanor. In an effort to instil a sense of excitement, I took him along to see how the house was progressing. As we drove through the electric gates (well, they will be when the electricians do their magic), I felt a thrill ripple through me. I sneaked a sideways glance at my husband. His mouth was set in a grim line.
‘Doesn’t the setting look fab!’
I parked the car, and had barely
opened the driver’s door when Mr V was out and striding off, head rotating 360
degrees as he took in the surroundings.
A ferocious looking builder with a Polish accent materialised from
nowhere and demanded to know what we wanted.
‘Um, we’re buying Plot 129,’ I
said nervously. ‘Any chance of looking inside?’
The builder was instantly all
smiles. ‘In you go,’ he gestured with
one hand, ‘and ignore mess. Soon it be
perfect. No worries.’
‘I’m sure it will be,’ I gushed,
resisting an urge to bow and scrape.
After all, I didn’t want him doing a dodgy job on the place. No wonky light switches or leaking showers thank
you very much.
Mr V stepped over the threshold,
into a hallway littered with paint pots and strode straight through to the
lounge. A pile of workmen’s paraphernalia
was positioned where I was roughly envisaging a coffee table.
‘It’s certainly coming along,’ I
said and gave my husband an encouraging smile. His mouth remained in the same
grim line. ‘And look at the kitchen!’ I
waved a hand expansively at bubble wrapped units. ‘Quartz worktops! And a built-in microwave. And a fridge where the door shuts
properly. And a decent sized freezer,
But I’d lost my audience. My husband was taking the bare wooden stairs
two at a time. I scampered after
him. On the first floor a sink was in my
son’s future bedroom. In the master
bedroom lay the emersion heater. I poked
my head around the en-suite bathroom.
‘Tiling looks beautiful,’ I
purred. But Mr V was off again up the
next flight of stairs and ducking under a precariously placed ladder. The loft room will be ours. The skylights look out upon nearby Grade II
listed buildings, recently renovated and displaying a skyline of chimney pots,
roof terraces, wrought iron balconies and gables. ‘When I’ve finished revamping my bureau, it’s
going to be placed just here so I can look out on all that,’ I gestured, ‘while
Mr V gazed at me, his face
expressionless. Suddenly he was off
again, clattering down the two flights of stairs and out into the newly landscaped
grounds. Dismayed, I dawdled after
him. My husband has been the same every
time we’ve moved house. Even when moving
to our current house – a move he was more enthusiastic about than me – when it
came to The Big Day he was having the jitters.
‘Are we doing the right thing, Debbie?
Have we made a financial bind for ourselves? What if it’s all a monumental mistake?’
When my husband moves into a house,
he’s like a sapling putting down roots.
And when it’s time to move on, it’s like trying to fell an oak. I caught up with him and, together, we got
into the car.
‘You really don’t want to move
here, do you?’ I gazed ahead at all the beautiful mews houses behind an avenue
of freshly planted trees. Trees that,
even as I stared, were no doubt putting down their roots. Finding their new home.
My husband gave a huge
sigh. ‘I’m moving here for you.’
‘It’s a stop gap,’ I
shrugged. ‘Two or three years. As soon as Eleanor has flown the nest, and
then we’ll move again. To your beloved
Mr V nodded. ‘Come on.
Let’s drive to John Lewis. We’ll
look at house stuff.’
I put the key in the ignition
and started the engine up. I have no
doubt that when the time comes to move to Penshurst my husband will be
resisting all over again. Oak trees are
difficult to shift.
Which reminds me, what’s the
difference between an oak tree and a tight shoe? One makes acorns, the other makes corns