Yup, there's a rash of introspective pondering going on here, isn't there! :-)
But the previous two posts needed publishing in order to move on. Literally.
You see, we've recently moved house, and started a whole new chapter.
Since April 2007, we have been living in a security complex. The first house I moved to ther was bigger than the one-bedroom flat I had left, but had a bricked up yard, and burglar bars everywhere. To get to it, you went through a security gate, then through another security gate, then through your own gate. It backed on to a busy main road through the area - a big change from the semi-rurual existance we'd previously had. There was a lot of traffic noise day and night. But when I moved in I loved it. I no longer had neighbours upstairs whose every footfall I could hear. It was reasonably modern compared to the ancient flat I'd left. My son had his own room. I had a lounge and a nice kitchen. And it was secure.
After a few years our lease ended and we moved - just down the road. Still in the greater security complex, still in a secondary security complex within it. This time I had a tiny patch of soil to call my garden. A small braai / entertainment area. It didn't front onto a noisy road, and the residents of this complex were so much more quiet and civilized - no more police attending to a stabbing at the front gate, or random robberies by dodgy residents, or drunken teenage parties across on the communal lawn. We had a bit of extra space too. A garage, a seperate lounge and home office, and still two bedrooms left. For the most part we lived quite happily there - other than the landlord threatening to sell every few months.
But now we've made a final big move for the forseeable future. Away from the security complexes down near the highway. To a place that more and more feels like home, although I've really only been here for a week. It's an old house with an addition or two, so comes with its quirks and needs some love. It has a kitchen twice as big as my previous garden. Three bedrooms, a double garage, a strange little storage room, two and a half bathrooms, a lounge, a spacious braai / entertainment area, parking for everyone and everything, a total footprint of 1400 square metres of property line, and a pool! Wow.
It's in a very quiet area. Although there's a school a block or so away, we're surrounded by established trees that block sound (unless it's sports day, as it was this afternoon), in a road where you don't necessarily have to look for cars when pulling out, as there may only be three or four on any given day that aren't the neighbours. We have the occasional lonely dog that howls, but no cats (finally!) nearby - and no need to pick up cat poo in my garden anymore. Without cats, the wildlife is abundant. The trees ringing my yard are constantly full of birds - weavers, sparrows, a flock of laughing doves, little sugarbirds in the hedge, starlings and hadedas dropping by, and the obligatory pair of pigeons. At night there are Cape Eagle owls that sit in the road, and a family of stilts with two little babies that hang out under the streetlights. There are two bunnies that come out to graze the sidewalks in the dark. And the vegetation has shown up at least three large Huntsman-type spiders. One of them hung out with eyes glowing in the light while the Kid was affixing trunking to the wall the other night... There was a squirrel on the wall yesterday morning who will probably be back more regularly now the previous tennant's yappy dogs are gone. By the way, the postman's also glad the yappy dogs are gone, as apparently they'd nip him through the fence when delivering.
Our main bedroom is upstairs. We wake with a view of treetops and mountains and birds. For folk like Favourite Man and I who grew up surrounded by nature in our youth, it's an absolute pleasure.
Back to the kitchen - for some reason it makes me simply want to cook good food. Maybe it's the "farmhouse" feel, or the promise of a burgeoning kitchen garden one of these days. Or just that I finally have space to breath and move. As of yesterday I also have nesting doves right outside the window to watch, and it's become a place I enjoy being.
And yes, this house is going to make me fit. We lose each other in it, and have quite a distance to walk to find each other again. It takes me 5 steps from the kitchen sink to the cupboard where the plates are - and 5 back again. From my home office to Favourite Man's is down a passage - any communication either involves our internal phone system, or - yes - more walking. The swimming pool is going to see action in summer - and probably this weekend, now that we've sorted out the greenery in it and any floating crickets. The garden is a work in progress that will keep me digging for years. When we arrived it took two guys two days and a 4 ton truck-and-a-half to clear the initial garden cut-back. I now get to plant out my garden-in-pots that has travelled with me from house to house, and maintain what remains. Seriously good exercise. There's a LOT of work needed on this garden. Here's a bit of the "before". We've since removed a lot of growth. And IVY (blerry everywhere).....
But all this is merely walls and yard. It's not home, you say.
Home is a feeling. Home is a place where you're glad to come back to, where you want to hang out and spend time, where you can simply be yourself and relax.
And after a mere week here, this is proving to be home.
Right - enough of the navel-gazing, back to regular programming.