Now we are a family of four and suddenly our house is feeling a bit cramped. We think through the options and decide we will get an extension and also make our living space all open plan. We start getting involved with architects, builders, structural engineers, interior designers etc etc and quickly realise that
1) These people have much higher hourly rates than we do.
2) Managing some of their egos in itself could require a project manager.
3) We have quickly become the bores at a social event who talk endlessly and passionately about the downfalls of the Party Wall Act. (Who am I kidding, I have a four month old, I do not attend social events.)
So, planning permission granted (it only took almost a year and please, let me take this moment to thank Hounslow council wholeheartedly for their incredible efficiency and effectiveness at all times) and designs done, we have to find alternative accommodation and move out.
This is tricky. Can’t move too far from my lovely high street. I need to be within 5 minutes of an artisan bakers for goodness sake.
Actually, the house finding is left to me and I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but registered with the agents Monday, found a place by Tuesday, deposit paid by Wednesday. Well, I didn’t need his opinion anyway.
Next thing. Moving out. Obviously I decided that only the weak take time off to move house. I am strong. I do not need this luxury. So Monday morning, I go to work and Monday afternoon I go home, have lunch, feed the baby whilst shouting instructions to the removal guys, express breast milk for the next day then help the removal men pack the truck before we get a parking ticket. Drive to flat. Unpack everything. I have three hours until the nanny brings the children back home and I want to get Lauren’s room nice, so unpack all her things first. At 6pm the phone rings. I am told both children are in the car crying (Hamish is screaming for food.) I rush down to get them and the door slams behind me. My key is inside.
I am not one to panic but honestly, I was so exhausted at this point I nearly lost the plot. All possible solutions to do with Estate Agent keys (they’ll be closed), other set of keys to house (an hour and a half away with Richard) , neighbours (not in), wall jumping to get round to open back door (wall far, far too high) are running through my head and being rejected in turn.
Then, wait, better idea! Bang on neighbours door and attempt not to look how I feel (like I am about to have a breakdown). Introduce myself as quickly as politely possible to a lovely teenage girl and ask to look in garden to see if I can scale fence. Luckily, she is revising and probably welcomed the break and ridiculous spectacle.
‘Do you have a ladder?’
No, they have no ladder. She does have a chair. It’s not very high but fine. Driven, I can only presume by some deep rooted maternal instinct, I stand on the chair and throw myself, in a commando style roll, over the fence landing in a well positioned bush on the other side. Mission accomplished and Hamish is happily feeding a few moments later.
Then we have a few days of box hell. There are boxes under my feet every time I take a step. And every time I open one I just look at all the clutter inside wonderingly. We do not need all this complete rubbish. Bin it, bin it says a voice in my head, while my eco-conscience says /no, no, it might be useful!’
Anyway, a week later and we’re in, unpacked and happy. The other people in the flats are lovely and fortunately, very patient. We share a little roof terrace with one neighbour. I didn’t know the neighbour was sunbathing out there. I was putting away some washing and could hear Lauren chatting. I assumed she was talking to some of her ‘sweeties’ (her stuffed toys) but then she comes running in from roof terrace and says ‘Mummy, I will show you Lyndsay’. Oh no! She has been chatting at the neighbour, who is trying to relax on her bank holiday weekend. New neighbour luckily, is very kind and does a good job of reassuring me it is fine and she has enjoyed chatting about which vegetables Lauren does and does not like. An important topic I am sure you’ll agree.