When I met Kevin, a friend of mine, Mark Matthews, asked whether Kevin knew I’d dump him within a year. We laughed about that. Kevin laughed too. I think.
Six months later
Kevin and I had moved to Auckland. Set up Transcend there. Renamed ourselves Uniform. Became addicted to Kingsland coffee and brioche. Got ourselves a little cat family. Bought a house. Decided to move back to London.
Two years later
Kevin and I were back in London. I was studying aromatherapy and oriental medicine. We were back living at Kevin’s brother’s place in Baron’s Court. The cats had to stay in Auckland. We missed them like mad. We even visited them once that year from the UK.
Three years later
Kevin and I were back in Auckland. Reunited with the cats. I was pregnant with Astrid. We were back in our old house. We sold it. We moved to a big amazing family home in Mt Albert. Our forever family home. The unborn daughter enrolled already at my old school. Life was looking nicely mapped. Astrid was born. My mother died. My UK visa expiry date was moving closer each week I was away. Edith was conceived. Six weeks later we flew back to London. Our beautiful home rented to friends. We were going back to Roderick Road, where I used to live when I met Kevin.
Five years later
Kevin and I were back in London. Overjoyed to be back in the wonderland of NW3. So happy to be back in civilisation. Wondering at the hot London summer. Pregnant. Astrid was 18 months old. I had to start working again. And Astrid went to Lorraine’s during the days. Amazing to think Astrid didn’t speak back then. Let’s see how many paragraphs till she can talk. I remember the little house was so tiny we used to cram in the kitchen at a little IKEA fold out table, the Edith-bump dangerously aimed at the table corner. When my maternity leave started we were so poor we lived on tuna, pasta and bread for months. I have such fond memories of our time at 47 and a Half. Time spent with Astrid before Edith. Time spent sewing and blogging. We started meeting people in the area. Shopkeepers say hello to us. Matthew and Marie and Annie are our neighbours. Those were the end of those days. The dawn of Edith brought a much deeper responsibility to provide for the family. It was the winter of our discontent when Edith was born. I’ve never finished writing her birth story but it was the worst night of my life. Apart from her. A few weeks later we booked our tickets back home – a journey that would wait six more months until we could take it.
Six years later
We arrived back in Auckland. We stayed at Dad’s for a night. We had all caught the flu in Hong Kong. It was cold and damp. Dad had moved from warm and dry to cold and damp. We got the ferry to Waiheke and moved to really cold and damp. But ours. I loved walking down the hill to Little Oneroa in the early morning moonlight to wait for the bus to the ferry. I adored Waiheke. We had to wait for our house. So we moved to Parnell. We had cats and no garden. Rufus escaped. I came home from work and got him back in. I used to walk to work in my Muji raincoat each morning. My hair was an inch long. I’d had it all cut off. Eventually we got back home to an overgrown garden. I cut and cut and hacked and chopped and clipped and chucked. And then planted and mulched and tidied and landscaped. Then we painted and carpeted and had the kitchen fixed and we sandblasted the deck and washed the house and then not that long after we’d moved back and we were so happy back there and we bought amazing furniture from Malcolm and we had two saabs and I had an amazing job. I then didn’t get the CD job I so nearly had so then fuck you Auckland we booked flights and four weeks later we were in Singapore signing papers selling our house. On our way back to London. The last time we move back to London. It was a very deliberate house sale.
Seven years later
we were back in NW3. In Estelle Road. A few months later we found our house. A year and three months later we are still in the same house. We’ve looked at other areas. We could buy a house but not the neighbourhood we’re in. We’ve looked at renting houses closer to the school. We’ve looked at schools closer to us. More expensive schools. But things now just won’t shift. We tried to move schools and it refused. We looked at buying a house in East London. It’s refusing to happen. We don’t want to go anywhere.
Eight years later
We’ve been wrestling with the idea that we need to buy a house even in a place we don’t like because that’s somehow better than renting in a place we love. We had a neighbourhood party. Yesterday our neighbours all came. Our new current street neighbours. And some old ones too. Lorraine came. Matthew came. We’d be mad to leave. We don’t want to leave.
We’ve found our place we want to be. We are here. We are here.