Hard days. I have been visiting the town where I grew up. It's the last time I will ever stay in my childhood home. Being there is hard but I have found the setting easier than expected. The house is nearly empty so it doesn't feel much like my parents' house. It feels more like a shell. There aren't things everywhere that speak of them, just bare walls, bare shelves - at least where there are still shelves.
My brother and I have a table. We have a chair each. A bed each. A fridge. A kettle. And not too many other things. Once we're gone everything else will be cleared. The house will be sold. And hopefully someone else can enjoy living here. It's a good house. If it was in Newcastle rather than Crawley it would be a much better house!
I knew the visit would be difficult for quite a few reasons and as I type this, a couple of days before I leave this town, my head is struggling to keep going. I'm glad that today is quieter. And I am glad that it's a sunny day too. It means I have a day when I can be quiet and be out doing things on my own. I've been masking like crazy, hiding my head and forcing myself to be appear functional and happy. I hope that I won't be collapsing afterwards, especially since it turns out I have a single day to recover when I get home before going to spend a few days somewhere else unexpectedly.
Hard days. And there was some shock family news too just a few days ago that has hit everyone pretty hard. But there have been plenty of good things. Today there will be more, especially as I go and visit the nicest park in the town. I am looking forward to that. I always liked wandering there. Today I can take Blob Thing and Winefride with me and they can visit the nice animals.
Grateful to have made it here without melting too badly.
Grateful that I won't be here for very long.
I grew up in this house. And this is my final visit to it.
Grateful to have brought down a few little happy making things from home.
I am allergic to Crawley. Not grateful for that!
Grateful that I won't be here long.
Grateful too for unhealthy giant chai latte.
For wandering in a Catholic cemetery.
And that my friends enjoyed the driverless train at Gatwick Airport.
And for cheap eyebrow waxing and a pretty roof in the shopping mall.
Grateful to have sorted out my travel arrangements to leave here next week.
Grateful to have sorted boxes to be couriered back to Newcastle.
Almost my entire physical inheritance from my parents in two boxes. That's okay. There isn't a lot from my past that I want to take into my present, let alone my future.
[Note - I've since sorted out two more boxes that should be in Newcastle by the time this is published. They're mainly filled with photo albums. There were many photo albums. Between the four boxes there are some old things I'm glad to have and some useful things too. Forks! Because for some reason our forks keep vanishing. I'm also taking back some pictures in my case and a very pretty piece of wood if I can get it to fit. Some of the pictures are prints my dad made when he was entering photographic competitions. They are good prints and some of them won prizes. I think these pictures will finish my job of filling the walls of the new art room. I'll have filled all the walls with good things for less than ten pounds including a very expensive picture that cost me three pounds!
We visited a relation last night (as I type this) who now has quite a lot of furniture and useful things from my parents' house. She is very welcome to it all. It's good to know that they will have a life there rather than being thrown away. It was nice to use the plates I grew up with for one last meal. My relation has also been able to take some furniture and household things for refugees who have moved into the area. I think that's pretty brilliant and I know my mother would have completely approved of it.]
Grateful that today we went to the South Downs and managed to do something we've needed to do for a while.
[Panorama of a view from Ditchling Beacon. Last time I was there was with my child and my parents. That was a happy day - at least, that's what the photos suggest. I'd post one but my laptop is missing three or four years of photos from my parents.]
Later we saw my dad, who was able to say some words. Just knew that even at this stage of his dementia he would still have opinions on the best route to an uncle's house.