Wednesday, June 07, 2017

So many memories…

Yesterday, almost exactly 44 years since we first saw it, our old house up in the hills ceased to belong to us. New owners have moved in, with excited plans and hopes for their life there, and DH and I have been left with our memories of the many years it was our home.

I remember the day in 1973 when we went to view it for the first time and how we seemed to be travelling through a green tunnel as we drove from the village up the sunken road with its over-arching trees and high hedges, until we emerged at the top to a glorious view over the hills of Mid-Wales. 


I remember how we turned off the road and went down a rutted lane until we saw the sagging roof of the decrepit old farmhouse, which was all we could afford, and fell in love with it there and then.


I remember years of scrimping and saving until we had enough money to do the necessary renovations and how we still managed to have a very happy life with our two young children in its shabby rooms and lovely surroundings. 


I remember them playing outside in the summer and sledging down the big field in the snowy winters we had in the 70s and early 80s.


I remember the horrendous months of renovation work, during which we stored most of our possessions in the garage and camped in one room after another to let the builders get on with their work unhindered. It was during those months that one of the most indelible memories of all was formed, when early one morning I raced downstairs in my bare feet to the kitchen at the sound of the telephone and stood shivering on the rubble-strewn floor to hear the news that my mother had died.

I remember, indeed I will never forget, how the new bathroom created by the renovation work gave us one of the most wonderful views any house could have and how this ash tree through the seasons provided a leitmotif for our life there.


I remember our children growing up there, learning new skills, discovering their potential, until first one, then the other, left for university and a new life across Offa’s Dyke in England. I remember how they came to visit, first alone, then with partners and children, especially at Christmas when the dark old beams made a perfect backdrop for decorations and tree, but also in school holidays and half-terms.

I remember the bedroom I turned into a study and how I spent almost every free hour of three hard but rewarding years, studying for ordination alongside my full-time work in the library. I remember DH helping me by typing my essays on one of our earliest computers, stopping from time to time to suggest I rethink or reword sections which were unclear or badly-expressed.

I remember how, after my first diagnosis of cancer, DH suggested we could add a conservatory at the back of the house where we could sit and look across to the distant hills. I remember the fun of planning it and doing much of the work ourselves, and how it was there that we watched Grandson#1 take his first unsteady solo steps one holiday weekend. I remember sitting there a couple of years later with my youngest sister and her fiancé on a sunny summer afternoon, as we happily planned the wedding I would conduct for them.


I remember how we decided to turn the old cowshed across the farmyard into a holiday cottage, which I advertised in the church press, and how for several years a series of tired clergy came with their families to enjoy the peace and the glorious views.


Later, after our six years living elsewhere while I was in full-time parish ministry, I remember how we moved back there when I retired and realised that it had never really stopped being home.


But now it has. Now home is down in the valley, with a view of the hills above us and of the river at the edge of the garden, while a new family discovers the delights of living in that very special place, and we are content.



42 comments:

  1. Wonderful memories of a life well spent in a place well loved. Now you are on to making new memories.

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie. The memories have been flooding back as we got the house ready to hand over and I felt I should capture some while I could.

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  2. That's such a beautiful account of amazing memories, thank you so much for sharing them.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them, Cat. I've been doing a lot of remembering over these past few weeks of preparing for completion.

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  3. It is wonderful that we have memories ... we take them with us and haul them out every so often to 'ruminate' on them, smile or feel sad depending on the recollection. Your house will always be 'your home' and long may you remember and recall your time in the hills, even though it is now relegated to the memories.
    Beautiful post Perpetua:)

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. Yes, memory is wonderful, even though I know mine isn't what it once was. :) Going through the rooms for the last time made me appreciate just how much happened during all those years and how fortunate we were to find that lovely spot.

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  4. Sweet old memories! You all have done a great job. Now the place looks very beautiful:)

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    1. Thanks. It took a lot of time and effort but we enjoyed turning a battered old house into our home.

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  5. Wonderful memories so beautifully expressed. If the new owners experience even some your happiness and contentment as they turn the house into their home. Stunning views...

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    1. Welcome to my blog, Gaynor. :) As you can see I'm rather a dilatory blogger nowadays, but this post just wrote itself as the memories came rushing back. The new owners are absolutely thrilled to be there and I'm sure they'll enjoy living there every bit as much as we did. As for the views, even after all these years they still take my breath away.

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  6. Lovely post, Kathy. What a beautiful place, and so peaceful. I hope the new owners will love it as much as you did.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. Yes, we were very fortunate to stumble on this old house in such a beautiful setting. Like us, the new owners fell in love with it at first sight, so I'm sure they will be very happy there.

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  7. A beautiful poignant description of a life well and happily lived. Thanks so much for letting us in Perpetua.
    It was worth the long wait for this post.
    Welcome back to the blog world, and I hope your new location is as happy as the first.
    Blessings.

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    1. Thanks, Ray. I'm sorry you've been waiting so long for a new post,but life really has been busy. I'm glad you enjoyed it when it finally appeared. :) WE really loved living there, but are glad to hand it on to others to appreciate, while we enjoy life down by the river.

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  8. What a beautiful post. Special memories.

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    1. Very special memories and I'm glad you enjoyed them. They really do come flooding back at times like these.

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  9. What wonderful memories and now you will be making more great memories in your new home. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. They had their ups and downs, but they were very happy years on the whole, Susan, and I treasure all the memories. We're feeling very settled in the new house and the memories are starting to build. :)

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  10. Lovely to have you back blogging, Perpetua and this post is a wonderful example of how therapeutic blogging can be. I don't think I'll be in my new house for 44 years but I certainly have some of your experiences ahead of me, especially re-fitting the kitchen. Certainly looking forward to my grandchildren (number two is on the way), visiting at some time in the future.

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    1. It's lovely to be back, Ricky, and I hope I can get back into the habit of blogging more regularly, now that life is settling down again. I certainly found this post really wanted to be written. :) Good luck with the re-fitting of the kitchen. We installed 3 kitchens in the old house over the years, the last only 4 years before we left in 2014. It never got any easier, so you have my sympathy.
      Congratulations on grandchild number two. Wonderful news.

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  11. Hari OM
    What a delightful snapshot of a home where there was heart... and that heart still beating for a new place! Sending Love... YAM xx

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    1. Thanks, Yam. Yes, it was a happy home, even when life wasn't all plain sailing. I hope the new owners are happy there too, while we enjoy the shelter of the valley now. :)

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  12. What a sweet and poignant post Perpetua, and a delight to see you pop up on the Blog today. 44 years is such a long time, and you obviously loved this house very much. The photo of your little family is just lovely, and the snowy mountains make me sigh with their beauty. It must be nice to know you are not so far away, can always go back for a little look, and it sounds like another family will love your house as much as you did. Thank you for sharing such special memories with us all.

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    1. Thanks, Trish, and sorry I've done so little popping up in blogdom in recent months. Yes, we loved the house and its surroundings very much indeed, as past blog posts show, but the time was right to move elsewhere and pass it on to younger people with the energy to care for buildings and land. You're right that we're close by and will surely visit it from time to time, once the new owners have made it their own. :)

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  13. Not only you, but so many others share your memories of that house and the lives lived in it: so pleased to see that it passed into good hands.

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    1. Yes, I've blogged rather a lot about it and its surroundings over the years, Helen. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the memories and I know its new occupants will love living there and will make the most of all it offers.

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  14. Beautiful and poignant memories. Thank you for sharing. It's lovely to know the new owners sound so excited and happy about the place. Axxx

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    1. Thanks, Annie. I'm glad you enjoyed them. You know all about moving on when the time is right. :) I'm sure the new owners will love living there and they have so many plans for it, which makes us happy too.

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  15. Simply beautiful. I am sitting at my lap top with tears in my eyes over the beautifully expressed memories you have of home. This home. Oh the memories that must have been made there. When one lives in one place from early marriage to later years, so many milestones are reached in that place that the place itself becomes a touchstone, a place where we make sense for the next step in life and reflect upon where we just were in life. Home truly is a place where we establish our grounding, our balance. The home grew and changed as you did. It transformed as you did. I loved this lovely rendering of the place you have now passed on to someone else where they will make their own memories.

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    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful and very perceptive comment, Sally, and my apologies for taking so long to respond to it. You are so right about the way the house changed and grew with us over the many years we lived there. Wherever we went it was home and in a very real sense it will never stop being central to our lives, even in our happy new home down in the valley. We know every foot of the house and grounds and can wander round it in memory whenever we want.

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  16. Dear Perpetua, this is a powerful posting. It encapsulates your life, which is rich in memory. Thank you for sharing your home and your life there. I know that in your new home you will live fully and new memories will come to enrich your life. thank you, too, for sharing your journey with us. It is one of grace and hope, faith and charity. Peace.

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    1. Thanks so much, Dee. How lovely to see you commenting again. Yes, we will create new memories in the new home, but will never approach the number and variety of memories created over the 40 years the old house was our home. It was there our children grew to adulthood and our grandsons came as babies and children and those memories are irreplaceable.

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    2. Dear Perpetua, I know what you mean about living in a place a long time and the memories that abound there. I lived in my 1870 Stillwater, MN, home for 32 years and when I left, I know I left part of my heart behind. Minnesota, I believe, is the home of my heart while Missouri is where I need to be as I age, surrounded by family. But what comfort I take in those memories of Minnesota. I know you, too, much bask in the warmth of your memories. Peace.

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    3. So sorry to be so late in responding to this, Dee. We were without phone and therefore internet for well over 2 weeks from July 4th and I'm still catching up. We too have left part of our hearts in the isolated house up in the hills, but know that as we age, it's better to be in the valley with neighbours close at hand and all our memories to enjoy.

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  17. What a wonderful post! It's like you've written a love letter to your house, describing your relationship with it and all the happiness and memories you share with it. It's a true gift to have a place like that in our history, one we can hang onto in our hearts and always think of as home. I have one in mine as well. It's the farm where I grew up, and even though my parents sold it a number of years ago it is still the place that pops into my mind when I think of home. I suspect your house in the hills will always be that place for you. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

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    1. Thanks, Kristie, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, you are right that some places we live in are a gift we can always treasure. I'm lucky enough to have two - the little cottage in Lancashire where I grew up, but especially this old house where DH and I spent the greater part of our lives so far. I'm so glad you have one too and like me, I expect that you can still see every room in loving detail in your mind's eye.

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  18. So much of our lives is bound to place - it makes me think of the wrench that refugees must feel

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    1. How lovely to see you, Mark. :) You are someone with a very strong sense of place and it comes through so clearly in your writings. Yes, the tearing away from home which refugees experience must leave a lasting scar.

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  19. Beautifully told memoir of your house up in the hills, Perpetua. I hope you will save this, perhaps print it out, take it out from time-to-time, and then put it back where it now rests as you continue on with the rest of your story. Best wishes as your continue your life journey.

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    1. Thanks, Penny, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Your suggestion of printing out is an excellent one, but as it happens I always write my posts in Word and save them on my laptop, before transferring them into Blogger. So a copy of this post is safely stored, along with the photos. As my memory starts to falter, I hope my blog posts will help to keep these memories fresh.

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  20. Greetings, Miss P.... Long time, no see. It looks like you've been very busy since I've been away from the blogosphere. Wherever you are, I hope that you are healthy and happy. Hugs, MM x

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    1. Hey, MM! Lovely to see you. :) So sorry to be late in responding to this. We were without phone and therefore internet for well over 2 weeks from July 4th and I'm still catching up. We're in Normandy at the moment and enjoying being back here after a gap of two years. Life was busy last year. :)

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I welcome your comments and will always try to respond to them. Thank you for reading.