Two weeks today we are supposed to move house. Again. This time in the right direction out of the rented house and back into what is supposed to be our Northumberland dream home. Two weeks does not strike me as a long time when I look at the cottage. It still does not have a bathroom although it does have half a kitchen. There are carcasses of creamy doored cabinets but no svelte black granite tops; half an oak planked floor, the rest, polystyrene and wooden struts; half a pantry, that is to say, an alcove but no shelves. The builders have only just finished knocking another hole in a wall to connect two rooms. I was slightly disconcerted because I had forgotten the rooms were supposed to be connected. I said: "Are you sure you weren't holding the plans upside down?" They tell me they weren't.
I respect our architect's talent and creativity. He is also a very nice man who has come up with a design for a family home which works on a number of levels. I suspect he has not warmed to me after I accused him of chauvinism (perhaps I had PMT that day), reinstated the pantry which he hated and which I had agreed to scrap(women can be so indecisive) and, most recently, wanted a forensic analysis of why the wrong sort of insulation was put into the roof space (and picky. They can be very, very picky.). He had specified the type of insulation but local planners do not accept it. He said this was a recent change in planning regulations. I said: "How recent?" (I have no idea why I do not have any friends up here.) To his credit, he agreed to absorb the cost of the £1,500 to £2,000 insulation in his own bill. I am pretty sure he will not want to keep in touch after the job is over.
I am not sure what my builders think of me. I like the fact they take decisions. I just like to know the reasons behind the decisions. "Why have you put the pantry door on that way round?" "Why can we have a flat floor when we couldn't a week ago?" "Why have you knocked down that wall?" The builder looks at me for a split second. Sometimes, I think he is constructing his answer. Sometimes, I think he is thinking: "Why. Do you ask all these questions?" They are very patient with me but I think they like to talk to my husband. I suspect he provides them with answers rather than questions. Maybe they just feel sorry for him. Maybe they think I ask him: "Why do you want sex with me tonight?" Anyway, they have another two weeks to finish off the job and give us our house back. It will not be entirely finished. There is a string of arches in the farmyard which are also being converted. Work will continue on the arches when we move back in but I do not mind that. Frankly I will miss the builders when they leave.
I really want to move back. I feel adrift. It has been nice to be in a village to see other houses and cars drive by but I want to get on with my life. I want to move into a home where we have space, where we can stretch out and breathe. There is a pond in the garden of this rented house. We carefully covered it up. The boys equally carefully uncovered it. I want to open the door and let my sons out to play in the garden without worrying about whether they will drown. I want to fill my pantry with fancy tinned stuff that looks like art and glass jars of fruit we will never eat, not even at Christmas. I want to keep vanilla pods in sugar and have everything just so. For a day at least. That will be a very good day. One to remember. I want to go home.