The first rainbow of 2012 and, hopefully, a good omen for the new year. 2011 was a year of change and uncertainty for this family. First there was the completion of building work, renovations and preparing the old house to go on sale. And by the way, why oh why, do we all wait until selling our homes, to get round to doing all those repairs for the benefit of someone other than ourselves?
Then there was the actual staging of the old house. Suddenly you're looking at everything with a critical eye and you notice that curtains and carpets could do with a good clean and window frames and external wooden doors need a new coat of varnish. There's those sticking locks and missing keys, not to mention unexpected plumbing and electrical repairs and that garden wall definitely needs painting. The garden needs brightening up, entailing endless trips to the plant nursery. After that come the actual show days where Sunday morning is spent cleaning and grooming the rooms, arranging flowers and teatrays, followed by a hasty exit from the house, returning in trepidation after six o'clock to find out how things went. It took five months to get a sale after many showings, appointments and disappointments and we were actually fortunate it took such a short time, given the difficult economic climate and recession.
While this was taking place, numerous days were spent looking for a new home in Betty's Bay and becoming quite disheartened at the prices and state of available properties. In the end we finally found and bought a place we both liked, before the old house was actually sold, leading to sleepless nights and bouts of nailbiting, not to mention the intake of large quantities of stress-relieving chocolate. I've read that moving house is right up there on the old stress scale and I can vouch for the truth of this statement. The wonderful thing was that only a few days after moving in we knew that the decision to move to the country as the right one.
There's still a lot of settling in to do, doctors, dentists, plumbers and electricians to find, getting internet access up and running (endlessly frustrating) and getting used to small country shops which, unlike in the city, are not open at all hours. Everything takes more time and patience is required learning to live at a much slower pace.
But there are sunset walks on the beach every evening, the small bokkie (deer) which walks past my office window in the morning and the flocks of francolin mothers and babies scratching through the lawn or taking their luxurious dustbaths under the protea bushes; sitting out on the stoep and enjoying sundowners while watching the antics of the numerous bird varieties and, best of all, no endlessly barking dogs and traffic noises, just the sound of sea, wind and birdcalls.
After reading through last year's worthy but unachieved resolutions, my only 2012 resolution is something simple but doable. I'm going to take at least one picture a day, every day, no matter how uninspired I feel and I will make a photobook at the end of the year.