On the 17th July last year, I spent my first night in my cottage. There was nothing much here – just me and an ancient futon (long since free-cycled).
The furniture didn’t arrive until the next day. I can’t say I slept much that night, but still it was a momentous time for me.
I never managed a house warming party. The place was full of workmen until well into the autumn, and by then I was so exhausted and crushed by the whole adventure that parties were the last thing on my mind.
So, I decided, this first anniversary would be the perfect time to celebrate.
Obviously, I’d invite friends – people who helped me with the move, people who took me out for a coffee or a meal when all became too challenging, people who made encouraging comments about the changes and kept me going when miracles seemed a little thin on the ground.
Then I decided to invite all the neighbours. They’d put up with months of scaffolding, yelling, banging and clanging without a single complaint. They must have been curious to know what was going on inside but with typical British reserve, few called round to look.
Next, I wanted to invite back the tradesmen who had made such incredible changes. After all, such people rarely get to see the finished article. A room is plastered or a shower plumbed in, but to see those rooms decorated and finished would perhaps be of interest.
And last but not least, although you’re scattered around the world, I’d love to have invited you, my dear supportive WordPress followers.
Your likes and comments have been a source of such great pleasure and encouragement since the very start of my LIME story. I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for a virtual tour of the place, and you won’t get to meet all the wonderful, warm-hearted friends and neighbours who joined me last Friday, but thank you so much for staying with me on my journey through time to reach the point where I can say the cottage is (mostly) in a fit state to enjoy.
I heard some fascinating stories from neighbours…
There was the time the Chalice Well stream, which still flows beneath the front of the building, suddenly overflowed in the middle of the night. An elderly couple lived here then and were woken to the sound of rushing water filling the living room. Apparently the water board engineer was unwilling to do anything at first, since it wasn’t his company’s water. The neighbour who told me the story described how, in very forthright language, he told the engineer that since his van bore the word ‘water’ and this was indeed that substance, he should put these good people out of their misery and fix the leak at once. Apparently there have been no problems since.
I was told that the little rubble stone garage that lies in a tiny lane of colour-washed cottages just behind my garden used to be a betting office, while the cottage opposite it once sold paraffin.
I discovered that badgers have a huge sett in the garden of the house opposite and can often be seen padding past my fence at night.
Visitors arrived with jars of home-made jam, cordials and honey, plants and flowers, along with friendship, congratulations and kind words about the renovations.
It was a glorious day and I felt so grateful to have such kind and caring people gathered around me.
Now that I’ve proved to my own satisfaction that miracles can and should be expected, and more-or-less finished my repairs and decorating, I’m free to focus on the other passions in my life – the writing, the metaphysics, the teaching and the living of this glorious physical reality I find myself in at this point in my consciousness.