A little over a week ago we finally closed the door on what has been one of the most stressful years of our life. We finally sold our house.
I wondered if I would be sad to leave the only house our youngest remembers. But despite it being a house that held many important milestones, and saw many memories etched into the very fabric of the house, I wasn’t sad to leave. I look back now and realise that it never felt like home, it was just bricks and mortar, despite me trying to convince myself otherwise. However, I did shed a tear when I shut that door for one last time. Not out of sadness, but out of sheer relief. Perhaps it is the property system that made me fall out of love with owning a house, but right now I am very relieved that we are no longer tied down by a mortgage. That is a whole other post though.
Our History In Houses
Our very first house we bought was a two up, two down end of terrace. We managed to buy it thanks to a 100% mortgage but the reality was we couldn’t afford it. Mr C and I were both in the early stages of our career and the house needed a lot of money spent on it and we simply didn’t have the money nor the inclination. We realised it wouldn’t be our forever home and, therefore, there was a limit to how much we were prepared to spend on it. The house was down an unmade road and over the back we looked over the local rugby pitch and the Bingley by-pass thundering alongside it. We had a huge garden but neither of us were gardeners and so we kept it mostly to lawn, much to the delight of the local deer who used to love jumping up and down the garden. The garden was also populated by a ferocious weed, much like Japanese knotweed, no matter what I did, I couldn’t eradicate it. We lived there for 5 years and that house saw us go through some of our biggest changes. It wasn’t all happy memories. There was a lot of heartbreak in that house, in fact I think the heartbreak might have outweighed the happy times. It was also a house that had its flaws, and at times I loathed that house, really loathed it, but it did feel like our home and I was a little sad to leave it.
The House on Top Of The Hill
Then we moved to our next house. We just scraped enough money to be able to afford it, and borrowed some money from my brother. It was a house that made my heart sing, and on the other hand my husband’s heart break. Whilst I enjoyed the views from being perched on top of a hill, Mr C worried about the flapping fence and the leaking roof. It was a 4 bed but really a three bed and a box room. You could just fit a cot and a chest of drawers in the 4th bedroom. Money was tight, we both worked full-time but after childcare, commuting costs, mortgage repayments, loan repayment and food bill meant we had nothing to show for it. We ended every month in the red. A holiday abroad back then would have made us scoff, no chance. Any sort of holiday was a stretch. During my second maternity leave with youngest we managed to stretch to a 4 night holiday to Centre Parcs. It was out of school holidays and therefore more affordable. It was while we away that we vowed to make changes. We didn’t want to carry on both working all of the hours and never really having anything to show for it. It was then that we decided to try and make a drastic change; Mr C started looking for a new job and that is how we ended up on Jersey.
We knew that it was the right thing to do for our family. We had to give it a chance; moving to Jersey would allow us more time to spend as a family, but I was still really sad to leave. I was sad to leave that house because it had felt like home. It was a house where you could feel the memories embedded in the grooves of the floor. It was a house where I knew just how to wriggle the key to get the back door to open. The house where I had so many baths when pregnant with Youngest that the bath started to leak into the utility room below. It was that very same bath where I thrashed around in silence in the early hours of a cold and icy December morning, caught up in the throes of labour but not wanting to wake Oldest or Mr C. That house was my home, and I still think about it today, I still miss it. I say I miss it but then Mr C points out how I used to get annoyed by the neighbour parking their 6 cars down the side of our house, how I used to fret that the gang of youths hanging outside our gate would wake up Youngest. I look at that house through rose-tinted glasses and perhaps it’s not that I miss the house, it’s more like I miss my old life.
Missing My Old Life?
Missing my old life is crazy though because it was unrelenting and we were constantly worrying. Now we are in Jersey we are lucky in that we have some breathing space, we don’t have the same worries. However, despite us being in a better position on Jersey I still feel like I can’t breathe sometimes. We brought the last house to get on the Jersey property ladder. We thought that it would help us feel settled. Yet, Jersey property is horrendously expensive. This meant we could just about afford a three bed house that looked directly into flats, and had no garden. Don’t get me wrong, the house was roomy and that was what swung it for us. It was also brand new and that is what swung it for Mr C. The upkeep was easier than any other house we had owned. Yet, buying it didn’t make me feel settled. I cursed myself for falling for the idea that we should all own a house. It’s a just a weight tying yourself down. Also, out of all of us, I spent most of the time in the house as I work from home. On the one hand it felt nice being surrounded by so many people but at other times it felt too much. It didn’t help my feelings of claustrophobia. However, for the money on Jersey it was a good price, but it still didn’t feel like our home. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because it was modern, or perhaps because my heart wasn’t in it.
I am pleased that our house has gone to a lovely family. They seemed to love it and I think for them it will work really well. It was just what they wanted. For us, we have stepped off the property ladder and we are considering our options. I will say this though, we might be renting, but where we are living now really does feel like home. It feels like the first home we have lived in on Jersey. Yet, we don’t own it. Would I feel differently if we owned it? I don’t know, but just over a week later and I can’t believe how quickly we have settled in and how happy we all are. I love the sloping roof and the house is bursting with character. I love that from the girls’ bedroom I can see rolling fields and beyond that the sea. I love the lounge where the big sash windows let lots of light in. I love that on a morning I open the shutters and I have a garden where I see red squirrels running around, I feel like I can breathe again. Yes, we might not own it but I feel very lucky to be living here. If we can’t be happy here then it really is time to head back to the mainland, but right now in this house, it feels like home.