It has been decided that we need to move. My husband needs to be nearer London for work, I’d also like easier access to London, but mostly I’d like to be nearer my family, as there are few things that make me happier than watching my son play with my Dad.
So, our house goes on the market. And it is on the market for one night. Because the following morning one of those stereotypical home counties, posh, older couples come to view it. They love the house.
But then it starts:
They really love the house, BUT it’s soooo much smaller than theirs
But they are downsizing.
My house isn’t small.
The woman re-iterates that they are downsizing
I heard you the first time, lady, and don’t diss my house standing there, on that spot, where my beloved dog died. I can practically feel him snarling at you from the hairy hound afterlife.
Oh, and now ‘apparently’ my garden is a bit small too.
Because they are keen gardeners.
Well so am I lady, and my garden is fine,
What are these people?
Probably, in actual fact – around here
And here we go again, my kitchen is also a bit small. OK, I’ll give them that one, being as I wouldn’t know about that, because I’m hardly ever in it.
Later that day they call the agent and offer the asking price, in cash, no chain, they are mortgage free, no survey needed, but can they come round and measure up BECAUSE THEY ARE DOWNSIZING so they need to work out what will fit.
STOP TALKING ABOUT MY HOUSE LIKE IT IS THE CUPBOARD UNDER YOUR STAIRS.
Also, will we throw in our beautiful hand made blinds, because theirs are (obvs) so much bigger.
And, please can we be out by Christmas, because they want to spend Christmas in our house.
Well, newsflash, loaded old types, so do I, so do my kids.
But what a great offer, how exciting, and how incredibly lucky we are to get a buyer like this, in this market . For our teeny, tiny, small, little house. Oh whatever.
The next morning I take the dogs for a walk. Crikey, it really is lovely here.
Funny how I’ve always taken this walk for granted. How I’ve always moaned about the rain and the mud and the wind from the valley, instead of just taking it in, appreciating this life. On the way home Neil Young’s ‘Country Home’ comes on my ipod. Really, really loudly:
I’m thankful for my country home
It gives me peace of mind
Somewhere I can walk alone
And leave myself behind
I almost start weeping. You see, a magical thing happened to me 5 years ago, when I first came to live in the countryside, I could suddenly breathe.
I embraced country life, perhaps a little too much. As illustrated on my first proper country dog walk, when a local openly sniggered at my attire. Once I got over myself, I realised I was dressed unfortunately similarly to Madonna during that phase of hers when she took country life a little too literally too. I reeked of a ‘townie’ trying to look country.
I love the peace and quiet, I love how the neighbours care, and I love how respectful of each other we are. I appreciate nice neighbours, because when I lived in London I lived downstairs from a woman who loudly shagged her boyfriend to Michael Ball’s ‘Love Changes Everything’
On a loop.
You cannot make this shit up.
Anyway, moving on swiftly from that thought, and still feeling stressed I go to a buggy work out class. Yes, you heard.
A Buggy Work Out Class.
In full public view.
With a buggy.
Clearly, I have no shame. But most crucially, quite why I think this will de- stress me right now, when the last time I did this workout my legs hurt so much that when I got home I had to walk down the stairs sideways, like a crab, is beyond me.
But I go back for more. The first thing I notice is that, as I first suspected, it is fantastically unfriendly. Why are these women so rude? I used to get upset by these types of women, but now I have two words for them:
We do a combination, of running, skipping, lunging and power walking whilst pushing our buggies, then we stop and do some ballet plies, using the railings of somebody’s country estate as a make shift barre. Then we start to do some boxercise, and it is at this point that I can no longer control my sniggering. Ever punched the air over and over again, in public, trying to keep a straight face whilst somebody screams ‘Make It Count’ at you? Trust me, it’s fairly funny. Well, it is for me, because everyone else is taking this massively seriously. Then we run up a very, very long sloping hill. I suspect this is what did my thighs in last time so I take it slowly, admiring all the cute thatched cottages I pass. But here’s the instructor
‘You are looking comfortable’
‘Yes, thanks I am, I’m having a lovely time’
‘You are not supposed to be comfortable, you shouldn’t actually be able to speak, your breathing isn’t even strained’
Then we stop and do a deep squat against a wall. Great. Here go my thighs again. We apparently have to hold this for two whole minutes. The instructor suggests singing a song to make it go faster.
Someone suggests ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’
Someone else suggests ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’
What are we? Three years old?
Any other suggestions? says the instructor
Me ‘Um, Sweet Child of Mine’
Stroppy other Mother ‘I don’t know that one’
Me ‘Really, it’s by Guns n Ro’
She interrupts me ‘If you’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands’
And there I am. Squatting against a farm wall, in public, sweating, my thighs killing me, being blanked by all these other women, singing ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands’
I AM LIVING THE DREAM
In an effort to dull the humiliation I start to think of other things, current affairs . LOL. What about this ‘epic takedown’ of Gwyneth that Vanity Fair is supposedly planning? I once took a rollicking from Gwyneth’s people because one of my clients was launching a range of cushions for luxury yachts, AKA Gin Palaces. For reasons best known to my then self, I thought Gwyneth might like to know about this. So I sent the press release to her home.
Her management office called and complained and said ‘It was dangerous’ of me to send this press release to her home.
‘Why?’ I replied. ‘It’s not as if it contains wheat’
But no time to chuckle at this memory because we are off again, skipping along the country lane, like 6 year olds, except 6 year olds don’t get screamed at to ‘lift your knees higher, come on, really feel the burn’