Friday, October 28, 2011

Trial Run

This afternoon we're leaving for Betty's Bay to spend the weekend in our new home.  There's only two beds, a teeny fridge, microwave, and two chairs in the house but you can see above what's waiting for us in the garden.  We're clearing out of our recently sold home so that the youngest daughter can host friends from Johannesburg while we're away.  Fortunately they're not of a partying age so we don't have to worry about huge parties in our absence!

This house is looking forlorn and empty, having been divested of most of the things that made it our home.  Numerous trips out to Betty's Bay during the last two weeks with both cars loaded up with paintings, over a thousand books (no exaggeration) and all the possesions too precious to leave to the removal firm.  I'm no hoarder but it was staggering to see how many boxes of china we packed, just for a start.  Every chair and sofa in the house is being reupholstered so apart from dining hairs and a lone Morris chair, any visitors sit at the dining room table or on the carpet!  The actual move is on Thursday week and it can't come soon enough. Saying goodbye has been heartwrenching but now that the house is nearly empty we've begun the process of letting go.

Meanwhile in our new garden the Watsonias are blooming, the pincushion proteas are flourishing and the king proteas are putting on an imposing show.  The sound of the sea will soothe our sleep tonight and we'll awaken to birdsong in the morning. It's going to be interesting ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reason to Rejoice

The text message arrived out of the blue :

"Hi Mom

How would you like some extra help with the move?"

Would I just! And from the oldest daughter who now lives in Brisbane with her husband and my gorgeous, shooting-up-like-beanstalks, grandsons.  She's arriving in Cape Town on 8 November and will stay for ten days helping with the move to the Betty's Bay house.  If that isn't love, giving up ten days of your precious leave to assist with relocating the aged parents, I don't know what is.

We move on 10 November and I aim to have all the possessions boxed up and ready by the time she arrives so we can have a relaxing two days before the move.  We'll be sleeping on mattresses in the stripped down house with very few comforts but at least there'll still be hot showers, takeaways and a slap up celebration dinner to look forward to.

Life is good !

Friday, October 14, 2011

Seller's Sadness

So much has been happening in our lives during the last three months that it's been difficult to know how to describe it.

We've lived in our big old house on the slopes of Table Mountain for sixteen years.  It's been fun living near a large city in an area buzzing with life; restaurants, coffee shops and book shops and beautiful parks all around, but the time has come to make the move to a quieter and less stressful way of life.  We've always dreamed of a seaside cottage out in the country and for many years Betty's Bay seemed to be a good choice.

So the house went on the market and a few stress-filled months ensued.  Keeping a home in immaculate order, ready for viewing at extremely short notice, at all times of the day is exhausting.  Then there were the show house days with prospective buyers trooping through your beloved rooms and describing how they would decorate, leaving you feeling as if you've been discovered in your underwear.  Anyway the right people came along at last, a nice couple with young children, and the deal was done.

In the meantime we found an interesting house in Betty's Bay, a row back from the sea, so we can still hear the waves and see the ocean from the first floor balconies, but not have to contend with seaspray covered windows.  It's set in a beautiful fynbos garden with magnificent mountain views from every window.  I'm going to have to learn a completely new type of gardening but it'll be a lot less labour intensive.

During all this upheaval, a flat had to be found for the youngest daughter who has been living back at home during her Masters year at Stellenbosch University.  After several nail biting weeks we found a neat little place in Greenpoint, a vibey area (a term beloved by estate agents) close to the Waterfront and the beach, so she'll be able to move in just before we move out.  Moving day for us is mid-November and we're now in the throes of packing up all our possessions.

Do we feel said about leaving?  Yes, this has been a happy house for us.  My first daughter was married from here and I remember occasions like my fiftieth when I made a birthday speech with a tiny new grandson cardled in my arms.  Then there were wedding anniversaries and birthdays, parties and friends to stay.  Sad times when the daughter and her family emigrated to Australia and both sets of grandparents passed away.  The consolation of the younger daughter returning home after ten years in London to stay at home while retraining for a second career, from opera singing to philosophy!

I will miss the days when the city bowl baked in the heat of summer; the times when the wind blasted around the house tumbling potplants and garden chairs; the rains of winter when the garden transformed into improbable shades of green; the soft balmy nights sitting outside in the dark, watching the chain of twinkling lights as crazy people made the new moon ascent of Lion's Head.

In the early mornings when I take my coffee out to the verandah I listen to the sounds of the city waking up while wild ducks and hadedas fly overhead and I hear a rooster crowing in the tiny farm on the slopes of Signal Hill.  The salty fresh air drifts up from the harbour, the fog horn booms its mournful cry and my heart is sad.  I know I will miss this place very much.


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