I moved a few months ago. My parents, who love their grandchildren and hate driving, took only a few moments to decide that they would like to move too. They had always wanted to retire to the seaside. My Dad who has always had truly awful hayfever is hoping that the fresher air down by the sea will give him an easier time in the summers to come. I was so chuffed. They found a house, literally round the corner from us and it’s really happening in just a few weeks. I am thrilled to bits with the prospect of child care on tap, someone I can pop round to for a cup of tea, the chance for my parents to watch their grandchildren grow close too, and the large covered outdoor area their new place will have (perfect for drying clothes outside in all weathers – my word what a very mundane thing to look forward to).
I’ve been looking forward to it so much I haven’t really thought about what I’d be saying goodbye to. They are moving from the family home and I’m up for my last visit. I will have next to no reason to come to the village I grew up in, and I will be saying goodbye to the house I spent the majority of my life thinking of as home. I am sitting in my old bedroom looking out of the window at the crop of apples on the cooking apple tree which I climbed, fell out of, and climbed again for whole chunks of my childhood summers. I remember looking out at this view on my wedding morning, from about 4am – nerves.
I think I could say goodbye to all these things without too much sadness. The village is actually now a suburb of London, it’s tiny roads groaning under the weight of so many cars that it regularly gridlocks round the schools. The house is just a house, and who other than the extraordinaryly well off can expect to show the kids the home they grew up in. But the tree, that breaks my heart a bit. Because the new buyers were asking whether it had a tree preservation order on it, and were obviously thinking of cutting it down in order to make the garden as low maintenance as possible.
Saying goodbye to this old tree will be sad, but the rest of it is going to be good, so if I am feeling a bit teary I’ll keeping humming ‘oh I don’t like to be beside the seaside’ just like my dad is at the moment.b