We sort of moved at the weekend. There were no packing cases or cardboard boxes; no removal men or great big trucks. Just the five of us, the dog, and a few suitcases. From the Cotswolds, with their rolling hills, to Snowdonia, with its rivers and mountains.
We have moved house before, but never with three children, and never so far away. Our old house isn’t yet quite sold; the new house equally uncertain. Everything should be fine, but these things have a habit of coming crashing down when you least expect it, and the spectre of disaster sits on my shoulder and drips doom-laded prophecies into my ear. The academic year forced our hand: starting the term on time means easier integration; assured places in a Welsh language unit. And so we’re here, jumping the gun, in a little rented cottage while the solicitors do whatever solicitors do.
Yesterday it felt bold and adventurous; today, fool-hardy and precarious. I tell myself it’s just bricks and mortar; if the worst happens, we come back, enriched by our Welsh adventure. But I do not want to come back. The dream house is just that: a dream. Everything I’ve always wanted, with a writing room looking out onto rich gardens – a waterfall! It is beautiful here, and that in itself imbues me with something akin to happiness. Our school run hugs the banks of Lake Bala; the Berwyn mountains keep watch over us all. Everyone is friendly, everyone is helpful, and yet…
It will take time, I know. This limbo state is unhelpful, unsettling. We are in a holiday cottage, yet not on holiday; we have moved, yet we haven’t moved in. There is no unpacking to distract us; no discussions to be had about decorating; no arguments over who is to have each bedroom. There are no friends to offer cups of tea, no familiar shops to duck into for chats about this and that. The children miss their friends, and even the wonders of technology cannot assuage their homesickness. It will pass.
For now there is little to do except focus on each day. The school run, eating as a family, exploring the area together; the lakes, the mountains, the fields. For me: work. A book to write, a script to draft. And as the words grow on the page, so the days will pass, and before too long we will be moving for real. The thought makes me write faster, as though the vagaries of conveyancing can be controlled by a word-count, and this is an unexpected advantage.
Back to work, now. If I could type with my fingers crossed, I would. Perhaps you’d do the same for us.