The 5th November is an important date for The Parents, not because it’s Guy Fawkes Night but because it’s the day they moved into their home 25 years ago. 25 years is a long time, a time when lots of memories, good and bad, are made, experiences are had and large chunks of life lived.
The Parents were younger than I am now (my mum wasn’t even 40) when they took ownership of their run down old canal wharf house that had so much subsidence, walking around on the floors upstairs felt like you were in a fairground fun house.
It was a renovation job of epic proportions, one that makes Victoria Dairy look like a mere redecoration. During a very wet, very cold winter The Parents moved into a small caravan, along with their dog and two cats, while bit by bit the house was pulled down and slowly rebuilt to something much more stable and fit for purpose.
The house came with an unexpected addition – a ghost. During the first 10 years there is no doubt the house was haunted. Nothing sinister but strange experiences ranging from feeling a hand on your lower back to push you forward, to hearing someone walk up the stairs when there was no one else in, smelling bacon cooking (not a normal smell in a vegetarian household), a figure walking past the window, and sightings by people passing by of an old lady stood at the gateway. I was back living at home for a short time with my then boyfriend (we were waiting for the house we were buying to be built) and I woke up one night to find him in quite a panic, claiming he’d been woken-up by an old lady stood over him stroking his hand. It took him years to sleep with his hands outside the covers after that, and he absolutely refused to be in The Parents house on his own. The hauntings stopped after a time, and my mum believes its because the old lady who’d lived there before was hanging around to see if she approved of the people, and changes before finally leaving them to get on with it.
Now, a quarter of a century on The Parents are going to be upping sticks and moving on (if the work on Victoria Dairy ever gets finished – more about that in the next update). And with it they’ll be taking the many memories, happy and sad, that have been made in that time. A time when, as a family, we’ve dealt with the deaths of loved ones and treasured animals, firm friendships have been made, marriage celebrated (my mums brother Gary to Jeannie), break-ups dealt with (mine from various boyfriends over the years), serious illness taking hold, promotions, redundancy, holidays, significant birthdays, car accidents and, unfortunately for The Parents, a bullying neighbour with too much time and money who enjoys pushing people to the limits to see what he can gain from it.
I wonder how many memories we’ll make, or ghosts we’ll experience in Victoria Dairy and The Annex? We can only hope the neighbours will be nice, friendships will be made and the new life will be an uplifting one.