We are here.
In our new house.
We moved on Friday. Finally. After half-heartedly shifting half-loads for weeks, we got out our big stick and herded ourselves off and out. Five lorry loads ensued. Me piling the final dregs into bags and boxes as the truck drew out of the gate for the final time: wash bags, sponges, almost empty bottles of shampoo, the Leaning Tower of Pisa pile of books beside my bed and armfuls of back copies of the Spectator.
We just had time, once the last load had been packed, transported around the corner and unpacked, to hastily erect enough beds, sling the appropriate number of nets over each one and fall gratefully into them.
My eyes are gritty from too little sleep and too much dust – the house is full of it.
Our new home is still a building site. What was completed must, it appears, be rebuilt: we are learning which taps drip or don’t turn on/off at all; which wall sockets don’t work (most of them) and which doors won’t shut/open. We provide, I am sure, around the clock entertainment for the askari who peers in through windows naked of curtains as this little family scuttles about grazing on peanut butter sandwiches and bananas whilst unpacking boxes and cursing the lack of book shelves.
The garden is devoid of much except for a spectacular flamboyant in front of the verandah. I long for it to ignite into fiery blooms which will bleed all over the dust beneath it. Nor can I wait for end of year rains so that the sandpit that masquerades as a lawn will support the grass I plan to plant. When it rains. Until then we must endure the dust beneath bare feet like talc and try not to mind that nothing looks clean: Daz-White must wait til Christmas.
The dogs have ceased to tail me anxiously, from room to room. They have stopped trying to clamber into my car every time I go out. I think they have begun to understand this is home. The cats, incarcerated in my bedroom for a week, have lost their wild-eyed stares and are curled into peaceful balls beside me as I write. Under normal circumstances they would not tolerate being in the vicinity of one another but these, they have clearly agreed, are not normal circumstances. They’re not talking. But they have obviously, judging by their proximity on the duvet, made some kind of space-sharing truce. For now. No hissing or spitting or swatting each other crossly.
Whilst literal dust hangs choke-thick, eye-stingingly, skin-sloughing heavy in the air, the metaphorical kind is settling: I managed to find something clean to wear this morning; the television is working; the internet is up.
And the fridge is full of cold beer.