Thursday, August 27, 2009

House 7

We moved house last week. This is the 7th house I've moved to in 17 years, which means I move house on average every 2 and a half years. My fella hurt his shoulder last month, so wasn't able to participate in moving day at all. It was probably just as well. I tend to go into Typhoon Lubin mode anyway, so it's best just to leave me to it. All the boxes were unpacked and disposed of within hours. The only thing I couldn't locate was the power cable for my electronic piano. I lay awake in bed, visualising where it could be - until I deduced that the only place I hadn't looked was under the lid of the keyboard. I checked in the morning and it had been placed there by the removal men.

Moving in day is relatively easy. The hard bit (for me) comes in the month afterwards. I tend to over-focus on everything that's new. If there's a slightly odd smell in the bedroom, I get a sore throat. If there are unfamiliar noises outside the window, it freaks me out. Tiny things, which most people wouldn't notice, become enormous obstacles in that first month and I convince myself that I've made a huge mistake in moving. My fella finds all of this annoying - in comparison to me, he is like a robot - with barely any sense of smell or hearing, while I'm like a wild animal, with all my senses far too highly tuned.

For the first time since I was a student, we are living in a house which is directly onto a pavement, so people pass by almost constantly. The woman who lived here before had put net curtains up, but I don't like them (they make me feel like I'm living in an Alan Bennet monologue). So I've bought some sticky mirrored film which I've stuck over the two front windows. I can see out, but people who look in just get their own reflection. I feel almost like a ghost, watching people walk past, oblivious of the fact that they are being scrutinised (and judged on their hair and fashion choices) by me. I can get really up close to them. It's also had the effect of making the living room like one of those rooms in Psychology experiments - with the whole of the outside world as the experiment.

I have a lovely view of the castle from the front rooms of the house. Which is nice if you discount the fact that the castle is also a working prison. My sister lived next to a prison in Leeds for a couple of years (her furniture was stolen the day she moved in by locals). My parents also live next door to a prison in Durham (and have never reported any trouble). The houses round here are all quite posh, so there is an unusual social mix - with people dressed in full tweed popping out of their huge, film-set like Georgian homes with their whicker baskets, bumping into upset-looking young women in tracksuits and push-chairs, off to visit their boyfriends who are doing 18 months.

We got home internet yesterday - you don't realise how much you miss it until it's gone.

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