In the middle of our street
The second door in from the right of the picture is our front door. To the right of that is our kitchen bay window. We took the Other Half's mum and dad for a poke round the show house today and, while they thoroughly approved of our choice, it felt very odd. The house the Other Half has just sold was his marital home for thirteen years of his seventeen year marriage. Although his parents have known of my existence for some months now, it felt rather odd for us to be showing them round an example of our future home. But ooh, what a beautiful house it's going to be. I never dreamed I'd live somewhere like this - a three storey house where the entire top floor is given over to the "master suite". I know I'd never be able to realise this dream without the Other Half, and I can't help but recall some of the places I've lived on the road to my dream home. I know I'm not alone in this - we've all lived in some proper shitholes, and some of them were even fun....
I grew up in a four-bedroom detached house in suburban, posh Essex. The village was the stereotypical hotbed of alcoholism, wife-swapping and East-End-wideboys-done-good, and I was delighted when my parents moved to Kent when I was sixteen and informed me that I wouldn't be joining them. I moved in with my boyfriend and his parents, and thanked them for their hospitality by sleeping with an acquaintance of my boyfriend. His parents, understandably, kicked me out and I spent the next couple of years living with a violent, psychopathic disaster area. I escaped at nineteen, five weeks before our wedding, and moved to Harlow in deepest Essex to live with a ginger-haired, football-obsessed Mummy's boy. He proposed to me on New Year's Eve of 1993 and I left him in March of 1994 (I didn't really fancy spending the rest of my life cleaning up after him and giving periodic houseroom to his drunken, Scots-pikey parents. Or his seven brothers and sisters and their various children). I moved back to my home town of Chelmsford, Essex and spent the next three years in blissful, pissed-and-stoned oblivion. The Chelmo years warrant a post of their own (as do the at-home years) - suffice to say they involved beer, bikes, drugs, random shags, rather odd parties, some of the best friends I'll ever have and a variety of rundown bedsits. I lived in a house-share where every time someone ran a bath the water would cascade down the wall by the front door. The heating was on between nine and ten am, and four and six pm. When I moved in I spent my first night packing the window frames with newspaper and sellotape, and my curtains were still horizontal on a breezy night. When I moved out of there I spent six weeks on a friend's floor, trying not to mind that she was fucking my boyfriend. I used to ferry him around so he could do his drug deals, and he would borrow my Z650 to "sort out some business" about three times a week which mostly involved him shagging some ginger bird from the pub. We bought a lorry and spent three months or so living in it, during which I laboured under the vastly mistaken illusion that we would travel to India in it. I lost a great deal of money and gained a whole lot of common sense. I subsequently met the Ex and spent seven lost years living in a house I hated with a man I loathed. The past year has, as noted on this blog, been spent battling random noisy neighbours in my rented flat. I am now proficient in Banging On The Wall and Polite Letters of Complaint.
Our new house is, beyond any doubt, beautiful. That aside, I know that the three of us can live there in peace. It's a glittering jewel in our future - somewhere we can all settle and live as the family I never thought I'd have. I know I stole the Other Half from his ex-wife (you've seen the picture - can you blame me?!) and I know I've taken Small Person out of the traditional family dynamic. I hold my hands up as far as that's concerned. Me and her Dad hated each other. These days she lives in an environment of fun, cuddles and laughter, both here and there. She'll always have time with her Dad and I'll do all I can to maximise their relationship.
But I also know that I've never, ever been happier.