Image from here
My ideal house would be somewhere nearer to the countryside than my present home. There would be country views from the windows - trees, yes definitely trees. Can I be really specific? A huge ancient tree, one of those that just inspires awe in me when I think of the events that must have happened in it's lifetime. Birdsong, too. That's a must - birds and other wildlife. Here in town we get pigeons, some sparrows and just two or three times I have seen a bluetit, but they're rare. I have never seen a squirrel in my garden, though mangy looking urban foxes are a daily sight in the street outside. Since my neighbour moved in with her two cats, the birds don't often feed at my birdtable. I miss them. From my usual seat on the sofa I can see through my kitchen and into the garden and I used to often sit here and watch the sparrows. We do have swallows/house-martins/swifts flying over at a distance, but of course they eat on the wing, so I never get a good look at them. One day I will actually have my binoculars at hand when they go over and I will find out which they are.
When I say I want to live in the country, that's only partially accurate. I do so love the countryside, it's true, and there is something about greenness and trees that speaks to my soul, but I know myself well enough to realise how quickly I get fed up without a range of options of things to do, and frequent buses or trains to take me where I want to be quickly. When on holiday, I find it difficult to adjust to buses that run four times a day, or only one fish and chip shop in a fifteen mile radius. I am used to be being able to get almost anything I need at any hour of the day or night, and to be able to get anywhere quickly and efficiently, without a car. I have lived on the outskirts of London my whole life, and though I have never liked the area in which I live, as I get older I realise how much I depend on London being so near. Even if I don't go in to town all that often, there is comfort in knowing there is so much there that one COULD be doing, if only one wanted to. Does that make sense?
I would love a garden, a real cottage garden with lavender, sweet peas, rambling roses and a white picket fence. Here we have a small concrete yard, overlooked on all sides. There is a green garden seat that belonged to my dear departed Auntie, which reminds me of her every time I sit there reading under the tree (read: big weed that next door doesn't cut down, but not unattractive). Sometimes we eat outside at the mosaic table. In the summer we have flowers in pots and gorgeous home grown tomatoes. I grow sweet peas and lavender in our little front garden, but there's not room for much.
We have two bedrooms upstairs, ours and one for the Young Philosopher, rarely used these days while he is at University. The only other room upstairs is the toilet, separate from the bathroom, which is downstairs off the kitchen. Did I mention it was a strange little house? In addition to the bathroom, downstairs there is a small living room, and an even smaller kitchen and there you have it, home.
Sometimes, when I am struggling to find somewhere to stand a clotheshorse full of washing, or bemoaning the fact that neither the kitchen nor the living room have room for a dining table unless it is one that folds down and has the chairs packed away inside it, I long for a laundry room, or a dining room. When I look at the five bookcases housing hundreds and hundreds of books, or we're sitting on the sofa with our laptops and cables trailing over and between us, I wish we had a library, or a study.
I started out writing about my ideal home and along the way I have been thinking about all the things I like about where we live now. I am also reminded that always, when the Prof and I are out driving, it is he who likes the big country piles with lots of rooms, far beyond our means. I fall in love with tiny little cottages and he invariably protests 'but that's smaller even than what we have!'.
Lately I am thinking that if these are the houses I am drawn to, then what is so wrong with the one I have? I guess for now anyway, I will just carry on trying to live my little country life in town.