Do I dare say it? Shall I whisper the words? In teeny tiny letters so as not to tempt providence and the gods of ill-fate? We have exchanged!
I tried to post the news yesterday but kept being booted out so maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a fanfare. In fact, I didn’t even know it had happened until several hours after the deed was done.
Yesterday I had taken Zoe’s advice and gone off to get myself some serious pampering. South Molton, by some bizarre fluke, has a practitioner of chavutti thirumal, possibly the best massage in the entire world. You lie, butt-naked, with a sort of towel nappy over your bits, on the floor and your massage therapist uses her feet to massage you, while balancing on a rope slung across the room. OK, so it sounds like the weirdest kinkiest massage going, but by heck it’s soooo good. I had my last one twelve years ago and have raved about it ever since (which says something methinks). Anyhow, I was probably having my left buttock poked by a big toe at the moment the papers were signed and a fat dollop of dosh was being deposited into some account somewhere in cybermoneyland.
The run-up to yesterday had been – to put it mildly – fraught. Our buyer reverted to type and didn’t just move the goalposts but picked them up and ran off the pitch with them. At the very last moment he demanded to keep our Aga (having previously agreed that he’d stick by our original arrangement that it would go with us). Pastard. I was so angry I could barely think in a straight line. It wasn’t the Aga so much (to be honest, it doesn’t cook evenly and not sure it would even after renovation) it was the sneakiness and sheer unfairness of it. I will drive a tough bargain but I like to think I’m always fair and above board. He wasn’t. So all our plans of leaving everything tickety-boo with a bottle of champagne and a list of useful people and nice places to go have gone out the window. Petty, I know. But I’m afraid he’s lost our goodwill.
I should be feeling cock-a-hoop, I really should. But there’s a sort of anticlimax about it all now. Having waited nearly three years for this day, it would have been nice to have been able to celebrate it in style. But other events crowded in to nudge the lustre off it. My mother is getting more helpless and frail, and I am seriously wondering how much longer she can remain on her own. A crisis happened over the last few days and so I spent most of yesterday talking to my brother in the US about how to handle it all. Then we got the news that my father-in-law had been raced into hospital with pneumonia. His lungs are shot to pieces so the outlook is not great.
So, all in all, we didn’t really celebrate. Funny, isn’t it, how the rough and the smooth go together – as Faith says, life really is a rollercoaster. Nothing is clear-cut. There are no easy answers. Everything is shades of grey.
The ‘medicine’ of the last few days was that of the ant. We went walking in Horner Woods, where there is a lovely sculpture trail (OK, the sculptures are a bit ropey, but it’s fun finding them). We came across several huge ant-nests among the trees, absolutely teeming with ants - an incredible sight. Ant represents the power of teamwork. It also speaks of loyalty, duty and sacrifice, of learning one’s place in the larger picture –it’s an augury of family and community. It indicates a time of preparation before making further moves – a situation where patience and strategy are tantamount.
I thought it was very apt. Not just the family business that is unfolding, that must be dealt with, even though we would love it not to be there. But also the preparation for moving into a community. Away from our lonely hill, our rainswept valley, and into civilisation!
I also thought about our little purplecoo community and how intensely valuable it is. I can’t tell you how much your support has meant to me – all the way from CL to here. In the scheme of things, our problem was small but nobody belittled it. Everyone gave kind words, encouraging words, tales of triumph over adversity (I am still reeling at AnnaK’s experience!) – some even sent daily emails (Grouse, bless you, as if you don’t have enough on your overladen plate!).
Of course we can’t totally relax until we’re in the front door – if Bradders is out there, sure she’ll tell me what can go wrong twixt exchange and completion! But for now, it is good news and I am blissfully happy to share it with my dear friends. If nothing untoward happens by tomorrow night I intend to crack open the fizzy stuff and raise a glass or two…..(oh, OK, the whole bottle). Hope you’ll join me!
btw, no that's not me in the photo, nor is it Exmoor! It's my dear friend cowgirl on her recent holiday (I know a few of you have been asking after her)....but the pic sums up the feeling!