The house I wanted to buy last year is back on the market.
I found out a couple of months back, through an innocent listing in an email that made my heart stop beating for a second. I spent the next few days mentally reviewing the floor plan, analysing it from different angles. If we shifted the bathroom from here, or converted the store room into a bedroom. If we put a table in the kitchen… until I’d exhausted all the possibilities. It’s not so much a lack of space, more that the space is in all the wrong places. There’s enough square footage, but whichever way you slice it, not enough room.
Last weekend I went out on a country walk. As we slogged up and over heather moors and picked our way along a muddy forest path, I knew the moment was coming. I’d made my decision and I could live with it, and I was looking forward to gazing down on the little house that could have been ours and admiring that view that really is to die for. And as we stepped out onto the rocks that gave the cottage its name my heart stopped again, just for a second. True, from up there you can see how close to the farm it really is. But the view really is breathtaking.
We walked on and we talked, my mind obsessed with calculations that, if the sums added up, would equal the word ‘home’. I noticed all the footpaths that criss-cross the hills – if we bought that cottage we’d be exploring them on summer evenings, walking to the second highest pub in England for lunch and all the way back home to our front door.
If we moved the water tank. If the hallway could be my office. If we slept above the store room. If only we could knock down a few walls or build an extension. If we could dig down and build a cellar. But we’ve been through all this before and however we lay it out, the right spelling never appears.
It’s never going to be that.
We wandered on, along dry stone walls covered with moss and lichen. Along the ridge path, splashing through the peat moorland and the conversation turned to other things. We discussed ideas for walks, took a few photos, and strolled down and had lunch, admiring the view of the reservoir and the hills beyond.
And as I savoured that vista the letters came together in my head. Home. It’s not a place to live, it’s more a state of mind. A feeling of rightness, of belonging. The moment I moved out of Salford and came to live in the High Peak, that’s when I came home. And finding the right place to live is just the full stop at the end of the sentence.