Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nothing gold can stay

Three and a half years ago we packed up all of our camping gear, along with dozens of videos, books, old toys and other bots and pieces we couldn't take to Australia, but couldn't part with. We stacked everything in the smallest bedroom in our bach (holiday cottage) boarded the windows and placed two locks on the door to deter the tenants and left not knowing when we would return.

Which was yesterday, in driving rain after weeks of nothing but bright sunshine.

We had decided to sell, but during the familiar drive (we used to spend almost every weekend there) Flash and I pondered the wisdom of our decision, we hadn't managed to get there during the year we have been home, our lives have changed too much and the house needs a family living in it, it is a century old renovated kauri bay villa, it needs constant love and attention to keep it at it's best. But on the other hand we had such good times there, maybe we could find a way to fit it into our lives again...
An hour and a half out of Auckland we arrived to see our pride and joy looking neither, it was sad, lonely and dejected, the work we had trustingly paid for was incomplete, the interior neglected and improperly cared for, and we realised that our decision had been the correct one...a cabin by the beach is one thing, an antique house with original leadlights, ceilings and fireplaces is another, the cabin can be left, the house cannot - the house needs a fulltime family.
So we emptied our room of memories, and marvelled at how lives can change in such a short time, re-discovered old treasures, my sewing box, my stitch portfolio from my tech course. I gathered cuttings from the garden, from the 3 foot high rosemary hedge, the antique climbing roses, the grapes that were the classic taste of summer. We swept, wiped and dusted, and we met with a land agent and signed away eleven years of my life.
I do not wish to return.
And as we left, we kept our old ways, Flash sorting out the car and trailer while I closed up and said goodbye, except this time it was in every room, and this time it was forever. I thought of the house that was HOME for my girls

To the verandah where we sat and watched the world go by, the flooded river across the paddocks over the road, the satelites in the darkest night.

The dining room with the coal range where where I taught them to cook - scrambled eggs and pancakes. It was lower than the stove, easier for them to reach.

the lounge - as big as Texas, sometimes the floor was covered with their toys for a week at a time while they played "gymkhana" 30 toy ponies, hundreds of fences and jumps, water hazards and dressage rings. Other times up to 15 children lay in their sleeping bags watching movies and giggling late into the night.

Life has changed, the children are all grown, the old house served us well, now it is time for us to return the favour and let the house have a chance to be a home again.