Well here we are, no longer Tykes but ‘Westies’, Hornsea speak for migrants from the Wild West of Yorkshire. The deed has been done and we’ve moved from our home in Lightcliffe, Halifax to Hornsea on the East coast of Yorkshire. For 23 years we toiled and gambolled in the lanes and fields of Lightcliffe, our happy home and the place we reared three strapping daughters and yet we have forsaken all those friends and happy memories for one simple thing, a mortgage free future.
Imagine a land with a perpetual rainbow, tumbling waterfall and a cloud free sky; welcome to our world or at least the world our mortgage free future promised. The thought of not feeding the ravenous bank monster each month, its appetite rarely slaked as its glutinous dripping maw craved more and more of our hard earned cash. To slay this monster and break free in one bound was a promise hard to resist even though we would be cast into the remote land of Horn and Sea.
And so we trekked for a month and a day until we reached the Promised Land where we now live amongst boxes and bags awoken each day by the ever present cry of seagulls on the wind. Seagulls in the morning must mean holidays*, it’s a childhood memory hard to shake off and yet each day I wake to them wheeling and gliding in the harsh winter winds, perched on roofs, lampposts, fences, they are everywhere, the nascent spirit of a soul unfettered. I love them.
Boxes are strange things, their magic is not confined to the stage, what goes in rarely comes out despite what has been written on the outside. A box labelled ‘Kitchen Stuff’ spews out a long lost collection of plastic trolls, our adult daughter is ecstatic, ‘that’s where they got to’, she exclaims, but how did they get there? Another box has a motley collection of random ‘stuff’ that must have gravitated by some curious force into one box, the electric base of a kettle snuggles up to three of the four parts of a Chinese brush holder, the kettle is nowhere to be seen and neither is the fourth part of the now seriously wonky brush holder. The same box has the passport of a long dead aunt and a Marks and Spencer’s credit card tucked into a ball of wool – nobody knits in our house. What strange force has brought these unlikely objects together, and so we discover eccentric alliances and odd juxtapositions as box after box disgorge their contents.
But as contents appear, so things hide, where does this stuff go? With all this paraphernalia – even the removal men were speechless, no doubt impressed by our vast collection of rubbish. I suppose there will be casualties, some will not make it home and we have to accept the collateral damage inevitable in the conflict of moving house. But why is it some things seem indestructible, unlikely survivors? We have a decorative bottle of Polish vodka that seems to have hung about most of the kitchens we’ve had throughout our married life. Nobody seems to want to drink it, no-one can remember where it came from, the bottle is diabolical and the liquid looks noxious and yet guess what was just about the first thing to be unpacked, you guessed it, Polski Wodka anyone!
Dogs are not good movers, they might like the occasional run in new territories but on the whole they are creatures of habit. Our house move has had the added complication of two dogs, one blind, and the other incurably nervous. Blind dog has suffered most especially from lost food syndrome. He knows it’s there, his nose tells him so but finding it is impossible. The food has to have a precise location which old blind dog will eventually remember, a few inches to the left or right and the chances are he will walk through his food to get to his food, such is life. Most days he has an unexpected paddle in his water bowl, the contents sometimes spilt across the kitchen floor prompting the horrible thought that incontinence is on the horizon. Dog or owner, the odds are even. Yesterday we took him to ‘see’ the sea. We encased his little sturdy frame in a warm coat and watched as he stood on the freezing sand braving the large waves as they roared inwards followed by a bitter wind. Through milky eyes he sensed this maelstrom of water and wind, for a good minute he proudly stood facing seawards, short legs firmly planted in the shifting shingle, finally one leg lifted and the old boy added his considered contribution to the epic North Sea upon which he turned and plodded homewards to find that food.
Like Old Blind Dog, I feel once we work out where the food is and which direction the sea is in, we might possibly have a good life in our new home.
by Tom Wood
*or worst case scenario, a large landfill site nearby!