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.


rachel said... [Reply to comment]

Sad to leave, but so exciting to move on! Having just moved recently myself, I know how exhausting this process is, but I hope you will find yourselves as happy in your new home as I am in mine. Best of luck; keep us posted!

Karen said... [Reply to comment]

It's hard to leave a well-loved place, but look forward to the new adventures and experiences you will have in the new house.

I've moved 29 times in 56 years. I would love to have lived in one place for 16 years.


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