Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Everything Changes....

My nan and grandad have lived in the same bungalow for as far back as I can remember, I believe they moved into it when I was a baby which is why I have only ever known them in that one home. Their next door neighbours (my grandparents are the first bungalow on their side of the street) had been in their humble one bed bungalow for as long as I can remember too. They - like my grandparents - were of that generation where you know and talk to your neighbours and so the four were good friends. 

Last year sadly, one half of that couple - Norman - passed away. He had had good innings, I believe he was 90, but even so it is of course still sad when you hear of someone who has always been there, no longer being around. I will always remember seeing him pottering in his garden in his navy grid stitch sweater and green body warmer and I will always expect to hear his old school Essex accent whenever I step into my grandparents garden. Well, until now.

You see, after Norman passed away, his widow Kath decided it was better to sell up and move nearer to her children which of course makes sense. It must seem odd to be in a house you shared with your loved one for so long and then suddenly be on your own but because of her decision to move on, their bungalow is no longer there. Instead, it was knocked down and replaced with a huge, four bed, modern house. A stunning house don't get me wrong, the kind of house that, had I seen it on any other street I would have swooned over, but seeing it tower over my grandparents bungalow in place of what was a sweet, old couples home made me feel very sad and very nostalgic.

If that were my old home which had been torn down and replaced, I don't think I could ever drive down that road again. It was of course her decision to sell to builders, I would guess because it meant a quick sale at a fair price but still, I would imagine there must be a part of her that finds it quite sad. 

I am a sucker for a home, it isn't just bricks and mortar it is a box of memories. The walls, the smells, the decor, it can transport you back to whole different part of your life. Fingerprints left on windows, that slight tear in the curtain from where you caught your dangly bracelet while dancing to your favourite album. The pen mark on the table your friend accidently left over ten years ago, a friend you haven't seen for years now. All of these little marks, the nooks and crannys and the quirks are what makes your house a home. They won't mean anything to anyone else but they are markings of all of your memories. 

While Norman and Kath were not a huge influence on my life nor did I ever step foot in their house, the fact they - and their home - have gone does stir something up inside. They were always there, part of the furniture, part of the surroundings at nan and grandad's. 

There's isn't the first house to be knocked down and a bigger, better one be built in that street. One day all of the houses or bungalows will have been replaced no doubt. That's progress. My grandparents are looking at downsizing and so selling up their bungalow and quite like the idea of selling it to builders as Kath did. That means, like Kath and Norman's bungalow, my grandparents house will be gone forever. No more vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden, no more hall cupboard which was perfect for hide and seek, all gone.

I am aware that nothing lasts forever but it's little moments in life like this that suddenly remind you of that I think. It doesn't have to be something so dramatic or life altering that brings it back home to you, it can be a change that alters in the background of your life just like this. 

To Kath though of course, this is completely life altering so anything that I feel nostalgic about will feel tenfold to her. She probably wouldn't even think twice that I could have felt that little twinge of nostalgia when I stepped out of the car at my grandparents this weekend and saw such a change.

Which just goes to show that what they say is true; you really don't always realise the people you touch in your life.


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