I'm about to move with my husband and toddler son from a much loved house that we own, in a city we know well, to rented accommodation in a town we've visited once.
We are nervous, excited, and deeply nostalgic. I keep trying to pack things into boxes and getting distracted by the fun things that I find shoved in drawers or tucked away in the back of cupboards. I can often be found sitting on the floor, surrounded by photo albums and smiling at some of the great moments we've had in this house.
These are the items that make our house a home — and will make our next house a home.
We love our rugs. We've got two beautiful wooden floors in the house, which we had sanded and varnished when we moved in…and then promptly covered up with our big, patterned area rugs. When I first met my very-Virgo husband, he had a special comb for keeping the fringes of his rugs nice and neat. Now he's just grateful to get to the end of the day without having milk or juice tipped over any of them.
The cat. I may lose readers over this, but I'm not a cat person. I'm not just ambivalent; I actively dislike most cats I meet. Partly because I'm allergic to them, but mainly just because I think they're horrible — and they don't like me, either. But this little metal guy is the exception to my cat-hating rule; he sits in our kitchen and keeps an eye on things. He has attitude. I like him a lot.
The table. I'm not being boasty (well, I am a little bit), but we have the best dining room table ever, which we found in a wee second hand shop in Edinburgh. It's ridiculously big and heavy and, as you can see from the photo, has had the crap beaten out of it. It was origianally used as a cook's table in an old school, which is why there are so many knife marks and chunks missing. It's coming with us, even if I end up sleeping under it on a pavement somewhere.
The lamp. This was a present from me to my husband. It's an old Cadillac headlamp, which has been fixed on top of a wooden tripod. For some reason it also has a built-in compass. For months, when we walked past the lamp in a nearby shop window, my husband used to say how much he'd like it. Then one day it disappeared and he was very sad…until he discovered that I'd gone in without him one day, haggled down the price, and hidden it for his birthday. It's kinda kooky.
The candlesticks. These were a wedding present from a friend in Zimbabwe. I haven't been able to find candles dinky enough to fit in them recently, so we haven't lit them for months, but I still like having them around.
Dominoes. These live in an old wooden cigar box. I am totally an old lady before my time; I love playing dominoes, especially by candlelight, with a glass of wine and some music on. I get ridiculously competitive, and take enormous delight in sending my husband 'down to the boneyard'.
Bed. Comfiest bed ever.
Paintings. Our house is chock-a-block with art, none of it valuable, but all of it well loved. We are lucky enough to have some ridiculously talented family and friends, and we've also picked up some beautiful pieces at the Edinburgh College of Art degree shows. A large proportion of our paintings, including this wooden lizard, are pieces of Gullah Art, from the Red Piano Gallery in South Carolina. They are all non-negotiable; they're coming with us.
Harmonicas. Because no home is complete without some sweet music making machines. Both my husband and son are fans of playing the mouthie. Me, I just like to take photos of them.
Toy Cars. Only a fool would try and part my toddler from his red Chevy, his purple Carmen Ghia, his yellow Beetle, or any of the other several hundred cars and trucks in his possession. He knows where every single one of them originally came from. And are they coming with us to London? Hell yes.
Blue vase. This was a present for my husband from some of his very best friends, when he moved house previously. Having fresh cut flowers in a house always helps it feel like home, never more than when they're placed in a beautiful vase.
Notebooks. This is a family of writers. We are note-takers, journal-makers, scrapbookers and photographers. We are surrounded by paper. We may have to do some filing, but we gave away our shredder last week, so all the papery stuff is here to stay.
Centrepiece. The clock, the painting, and the marble fireplace in this shot are all wonderful… but the real star of the show is the Monster. He is very old, and is part of a great story, which I probably can't tell without getting my husband into trouble. But wherever we go he will be coming too. He's our protector. If he's coming with us, I know we'll be just fine.
I feel a little better knowing that wherever these objects go, I'll be at home.