Moved from the Pretty Brick Cage – journal entry

Funny how a house can feel like a prison to one person and a dream home to another.

So I just moved out from my three bedroomed, end of terrace house in a small close to a two bedroomed flat at the top of a tower block. When speaking to people about the move, and a lot of you do have an opinion on this, many cannot fathom why I have done it. Following is my attempt to explain and generally write why I did it.

It was nice to have a garden but it is nicer to have a great view which is always changing and goes on for miles! Before the move my bedroom was in the lounge in the house, I was able to view the garden every day, all day. Things to do change in the garden. The changes happen at a pace which is sedate to say the least. I spent almost two years living in the front room. It was cold. It was noisy, as it backed onto  a main road – plus it was a new build house and as we all know sound travels far too well between neighbouring walls! On a quiet day you could hear the neighbour pee.

The garden, although gorgeous having a cherry tree and an old crab apple tree within it, had lost it’s appeal once I’d seen it go through all the seasons twice. By the time I left, I knew the regulars. There was Fat Pigeon and a robin who would come to wrestle over any pickings with various other pigeons and robins who would come and try their luck. But Fat Pigeon and Robin knew the garden. When the children were younger I knew the garden, but looking out on it with a neighbour maintaining it for me and myself not actually experiencing the feel of it. I did lose the love I had for it.

Fat Pigeon and Robin were good story fodder for the Grandkids but were not entertaining on a minute by minute basis, for starters they were pretty unreliable and pretty much ‘fair weather friends’ too. When I left the garden it was as sad as I was. It needed the family back. I recalled the trampoline and picnic bench where the old broken shed and remains of green house lie now. The happy times.

Now the garden is gravel, easier to maintain. As a grassy garden the dogs would come back into the house with half the lawn between their claws and then innocently distribute it around the lounge and disperse it gradually around the house. As I grew sicker the dirt became an issue. I battled with the dandelions, next door’s ‘mini’ conifer tree (it grew to over 12 metres) and dog poo for a few years before I decided to gravel it.

As I turn to look into the house I can now remember the laughter, the parties and the family fulfilment which was finally mine when I had my own children. Now that I am gone I can feel that. Those are the memories I will cherish and hold on to.

When I was in the living in the lounge I could only remember the terrible things which befell me in the house. I had a bad State of mind. I was so low living like that, I couldn’t use the bathroom every day, it was upstairs. Thirteen steps. Just thirteen steps. Even typing this now brings my mouth down at the corners thinking of crawling up that grey, wool, well worn, filthy carpet, when I could for a bath.

And then once in the bathroom trying not to think about the thing you don’t want to think about. Trying to relax in a room where something happened between you and your ex-husband.  An attack that you didn’t tell the children as you didn’t want them to know how bad it really got when the divorce started going through. The lovely silence as your head slips under the water whilst washing off the shampoo. Beautiful silence.

I was classed as having ‘downstairs living’ as the house had a downstairs toilet with 30 cm sink. Which I was grateful for.  Although I lost count of the times I hit my head on the damn thing. The move from upstairs , to the lounge was a happy day. I could now access the kitchen. Reality was I had given up the bathroom (essentially giving up social life as I was to become paranoid about smelling ) to have easier access to the fridge.

My bathroom now is opposite my bedroom, about five paces from my bed. The bath has handles on too. This old tower block is serviced by two reliable lifts, both going to my floor.  The main entrance has this wonderful key fob electronic opening system – no heavy doors to try and pry open on day when I’m struggling. No garden, instead I have a small, totally private balcony.

Here, the privacy is amazing. I havent put any window coverings as no buildings overlook the block. In fact, being almost at the top, I’m pretty much the highest person in my town. The houses look like models from up here, cars are the size of a finger nail. The new build houses I can see from here look too close to each other too. I felt that of the house. The house opposite to mine was about 20 metres away. Towards the end of my tenancy I felt like I lived in a gold fish bowl. My neighbours were all decent people but I couldn’t even throw up without the whole street knowing! Sound travelled too well in that little street.

Right now it’s been one month since I moved home. There is now a reclaimed feeling from my past. As I move around bare footed on the warm floor,  or run a bath with unmetered, communual hot water or just simple luxury of using the rubbish chute I actually feel like I’m on holiday and this is my holiday pad.

So don’t think I’m bonkers for giving up a big house and downsizing to a high rise. I want a home which facilitates my life not imprisons me with it’s high maintenance, costs and memories!