5,7,5 – 365 19th January 2016
A haiku and a diary entry, every now and then, for a year
Yesterday, when I started this, it was Blue Monday, allegedly the most depressing day of the year and something apparently dreamt up to sell holiday bookings. Whatever its origin, the concept works for me, January is to the months of the year what Monday is to the days of the week.
Christmas was special this time round and as a result I am experiencing that Monday feeling all the more. We were very nearly at home the whole way through, and these days more than ever The Old Pump Cottage feels like home. The repairs, refurbishment, renovation and redecoration of the house are still ongoing but after eleven years here, we can now really see what’s possible and where things are heading. With the windows all now properly fitted and sealed and the new boiler working efficiently, it’s warm and draught free. Insulation in the loft and eaves keeps things comfortable at night too. But there is much more to it than that, something that drew the kids home. Melissa, now finished at university and working in Manchester as a teacher, came home with boyfriend Jacob. Jacob is every bit as much a part of this family as Melissa or Harry and it wouldn’t be Christmas anymore without him. Our Harry also came back home from his first year at university and the house and bathroom was properly full again.
Christmas Day saw all five of us spend the entire day in a tasteful selection of plaid pyjamas, not something pre planned or arranged, just a happy coincidence. The log burner was lit and got going before breakfast, making it too hot for the dogs to do anything other than flop in front of it. Melissa’s gift to us, a wreath of fir tree branches, holly, cinnamon and oranges, hung over the fire and filled the house with the scent of Christmas. We did presents, ate too much, popped a bottle of Rimbaud Champagne, ate too much, watched TV and ate too much.
The following week provided Laila and I with a few days at home alone together. I had run Melissa and Jacob back to Manchester and Harry was seeing the New Year in up in Scotland with girlfriend Alex. We had breakfasts in bed, managed a few chores and made a start on the Northern Exposure box set but generally just took things easy. On New Years Day we were joined by best friend Lynne, who hadn’t visited The Old Pump Cottage before – the state of the house has previously deterred us from inviting guests. We told Lynne to help herself to anything and make herself at home. When she curled up to sleep on the sofa in front of the fire on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons we thought we must have gotten something right.
On the drive to Manchester Melissa had asked me what we were going to do now it was just the two of us rattling about in such a big house? Well it’s simple, we are going to live in it. After all, it’s not a house, it’s a home! Besides, I’ve already booked two weeks off work for next Christmas but recourse to a Blue Monday travel agent will not be necessary.
Something we already knew
This house is our home