Oliff’s Life

editorial image
Share this article

I recently and somewhat prematurely wrote, “This week I shall be moving house, this time following my own advice, that being to ‘downsize’ to a smaller home”.

Well, this weekend it’s happening, something I haven’t done since 1984.

Back then that’s what it was: just another house; stone, bricks and mortar.

During the past 29 years this house became home, a different thing in every respect. It’s a strange old place, with its origins dating from the 17th century, becoming for many years the Gretton Stores from which all the villagers would get the raw materials for life.

From flour to fresh vegetables and all the essential ingredients for cooking, baking, cleaning: even the odd treat for children.

When we bought it, it was in a poor state of disrepair, yet we seem to have been almost oblivious to the task in hand which may have something to do with enthusiasm oververcoming daunt. After all, we had each other and relative youth on our side. I was 28 and Madeline was 26. We never had enough money to do a complete renovation, having instead to repair, replace and decorate each room as and when finances would allow.

Yet paradoxically, it was this struggle that kept us working as a team, turning our house into a home.

House values too are relative. Profit from anything is dependant on what another is prepared to pay, and moving house is almost certainly the only time that one realises the true value of one’s security, barring hearsay or estate agents’ estimates, from probably the most risky investment most of us will ever make. Well, it’s my time to move on: new bricks, new mortar, new neighbours: new life. I’ve always been sentimental, wearing my heart on my sleeve, but I shall never forget the things that turned that old place from a house to a home. The memories: even the laughter of a ghostly past.