And just like that, with the stroke of a pen, the push of a button, the top of the hour, our house was no longer ours.
We had a little house on a hill overlooking our farm in the thriving metropolis of Jeparit or ‘Je’Parie’ as I liked to call it to give it that air of affluence. Although I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed the first time I laid eyes on what would become “Serenity Now!” (Seinfeld anyone?) the first, it quickly weaselled its way into my heart.
The outside was a dull green which is more than can be said for the garden which was non existent after the first couple of years of drought and there was an outside toilet. I would have loved to have seen the interior in its prime – purple and blue shagpile carpet and a different but equally outrageous wallpaper in every room. But by the time we were the custodians, it’s fair to say that it was dilapidated.
I could go all English teacher on you and bang on about the symbolism of that house and our relationship over the next thirteen or so years but I won’t except to say that it was a lot of work, blood, sweat and tears and we finally had a home that we quite liked. We stripped wall paper, sanded floors, painted, fenced, renovated the kitchen and finally, tackled the bathroom. It was the height of summer, harvest was underway and we decided to jazz up the washhouse. Well, I picked some colours, gave Shane a vague idea and decamped to mum and dads for the project. It is still THE greatest bath I’ve ever been in.
When I finally moved over to the farm, I was unemployed and didn’t know a soul. I spent hours walking the dogs around the farm, attempting to establish a safe haven for ducks during duck shooting season (an attempt which was somewhat thwarted by Sam, the duck loving Jack Russell) and running a very amateur bird and lizard rescue centre. It started to get under my skin, literally and figuratively.
Time marched on, I eventually got a job and we decided that we were spending way too much of our lives in the car to and from work so after much soul searching, inspecting and check listing, we moved into “Serenity Now!” the second.
We haven’t lived at the farm for three and a bit years but it still had lots of stuff there that needed to be got out before the new owners moved in. So off we went thinking that it would be an annoying and time consuming task. What we didn’t expect, is how many emotions this process would force us to feel. There were cards – so many cards. Engagement, wedding, Christmas, farewell, birthday and of course I just had to read them all. There were photos, paintings, tickets, invitations, books, a representation of my 20s in handbags and outrageous jewellery. In wading through all of this ‘stuff’, the minutiae of our lives, we relived the hope, joy, happiness, despair, sadness, constancy and finite nature of life and I was glad that I was a bit of a hoarder so that I could relive these times – even the bad ones.
I feel like we left a little bit our souls in that place, but also that we carry a little bit of its soul with us. And I’m comforted by the fact that it has gone to a good home, so to speak. The old girl is getting a new family and a new lease on life and so the beat goes on.