This morning I woke with a mixture of excitement and sadness for it is our last full day in our beautiful cottage.
From the moment we pulled into the stone chip drive two years ago, we fell deeply in love with this place. We still love our home and always will. The memories we have made here in such a short space of time will last us a lifetime. They have been some of the best we have made as a family.
It was a big move to pull away from our hometown to start a new life in Cornwall. It may not have been a massive move in terms of miles but leaving schools, family and friends, to make a new life in a new community was a challenge. We have no regrets – it was the right move for many reasons. We intended to lay down some roots here. At the start of 2015, our greatest wish was to stay here for as long as we could…but fate had other plans.
As I prepare for a full day of cleaning, Chris will be making a four-hour trip on the train to collect our new home and bring him home. Today the Cottage is still my home, tomorrow ‘Colin’ takes over and Boy, he has some big shoes to fill!
The walls of a home contain the experiences and memories of its current and past guests – you can feel a ‘happy home’ the moment you enter it. This was, and still is a very happy home. It just envelopes you when you walk through the door.
I shall miss so many things about The Cottage, from the early mornings listening to the radio whilst the family sleep soundly upstairs to the visiting wildlife and beautiful garden.
Quite simply, I shall miss its warm embrace.
Remarkably, last year we kept a memory jar – something we have never done before. We filled it with yellow post-it-notes; each with handwritten scribbles that formed memory pictures in our mind;
“Lola lost on the wrong bus on her first day of secondary school”
“Sledging down the clay pyramids in the snow”
“The kids trampolining in the rain at 10pm at night”
“Applejack, the horse, visits for a week”
“Playing the cheese puff and cream game with great friends”
“Buddy chasing rabbits, without luck!”
“Drunk, listening to old tunes on the record player!”
Our jar was full to the brim. How wonderful is that? I wonder if life knew what we had in store and wanted to make sure we never forgot these simple pleasures?
What I shall also remember so vividly about Cornwall, is the people we met…
Our Landlords, The Jasper’s, in particular, are certainly worthy of a mention. This wonderful family trusted us with their family home and then went above and beyond to help us stay here. When Chris walked from his job, we really did see the best and worst of human nature. Tough times certainly expose the good from the bad. Amazingly, the best came from the unexpected, like the Jasper’s who reached out to us from across the globe.
This past year (and particularly the horrible, dark days) has taught me about the power of human kindness. We all have a choice in how we behave, especially when we see our fellow-man suffer. Do you gloat and take your chance to overpower and exert authority? Or do you offer a hand and help them up, with little reward? I realise, how we behave in these circumstances, is what defines us as human beings. I have to admit, that I have not always been the latter, but I have been humbled by the kindness and generosity of friends and strangers over this past 6 months – and it has moved me, and changed me as a person.
I want to thank our neighbours, who never judged us…the car boot buyers who stopped to wish us luck…the postman and the bank clerk who went above and beyond to help…the guy who bought our TV, who recounted his own tales to help put our fears to rest…to our friends who regularly drove a 100 mile round trip just to make sure we were okay….and obviously to our family – who are a constant source of love and strength in our life. Thank you for being good people.
We have learnt from you.
So, tomorrow as I walk through the empty rooms and close the door to ‘The Cottage’ for the last time, I will take a moment to stop and listen to the echoes of our time here…I shall just close my eyes, listen and smile.
I will then hand the keys to the next family, who will make memories of their own, and the walls will hold more stories for generations to come.
Thank you, Cornwall, and ‘The Cottage’ for an amazing time. And thank you to all who shared our life here with us – either in person or as a virtual supporter.
We take you with us in our hearts,