Patching Up Memories

I’ve spent nearly my entire life living in this house and soon I’m going to move out.

I’m proud of the work that my Father put into this house all those years ago.

The fact that this place has remained largely unchanged in over 50 years is a testament to his skills as a constructor and a designer. But this house means so much more to me than than just practical comfort.

I’ve already spoken about the power of nostalgia that the kitchen holds over me. Sometimes you get a sense of a place’s history, simply by walking into it. Without knowing the historical context of a place, you can gain an understanding of what kind of people have lived here and how they have grown to experience their surroundings.

The kitchen’s worn floor tiles, battered furniture and oddly jumbled fittings are a testament to the sheer amount of use that the room has provided over the years.

The pocked walls of what were once my kids’ bedrooms, have been hammered with nails, smeared with Blu-tack and stuck with pins. And the two family bathrooms have been used so thoroughly that all the fixtures are hanging at jaunty angles – as if an earthquake had shaken everything just slightly out of place.

Although a stranger might be horrified by the state of the place, I know better.

For every defect there is a story. Every crack in the porcelain has it’s tale.

The gouge in the landing wall? That’s where Jaynie (my youngest) attempted to take a sled down the stairs. She was given stitches in her head but we never poly-filled the hole she left in the house.

The chip in the rim of the bottom floor bathroom toilet?

That’s a result of the battle between my eldest son and the dog, in one of their classic tug of war matches that found its way into the house from the back garden. He was ten at the time and somehow managed to lose half his tooth that day. The toilet’s been catching the loose threads of unknowing trousers ever since…

All these little idiosyncrasies make up the story of the house that has been my home for my entire life. From my own childhood, all the way through to the childhood’s of my own grandchildren. But the time has finally come to wipe the slate clean, to a certain extent at least.

It’s time for the cracks to be filled and repainted. The wonky fittings will be shifted back into place. The chipped porcelain will be replaced and the walls will be re-plastered. When my daughter brings her family in here to live on a permanent basis this place will feel new and fresh, yet also familiar.

I just hope I can get the work done in time!