Weeza wanted to show me the new house of friends, who have just moved to a lovely riverside house in Norfolk’s Broadland. It was still up on Rightmove and it is, indeed, lovely. And it got me thinking about where I’d like to live.
We have been here for 28 years and, as you will know if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, the house was bought by R’s parents when they were newly married, back in 1928. We moved here, on my suggestion, after his father died – the annexe was built for his mother, after she died my mother lived there and after she died, Alex (and later with his family) did. So it’s very much a family home – but it was always clearly Russell’s. His mother gave it to him by a Deed of Variation on his father’s will (we had to spend almost as much in repairs as we sold our house for) and he never would add me to the deeds. Our last house was in our joint names, but he considered this place his and his alone.
I’ve been happy here, on the whole, but I’m now overwhelmed by the chaos that Russell has left behind. I’ve been begging him to get started on the sorting out for years, but he hasn’t addressed the real problems – that is, he’s done a bit, but he’s been buying as much as he’s been selling, never telling me about either, never sorting out the real mess either, though I and the children would have given him every support and help. I feel a bit miffed. Over three Saturdays, it’s cost me over £500 already to do what we have. I am certainly putting aside anything that’s worth any money, with the aim of defraying the cost of clearing out his mess.
Even if I stay here, it needs to be done. I don’t want to live like this any more. But I can’t stay here in the long term. I like a big house in its own grounds, but it’s fair to say that my affection for this place has been severely affected by my anxieties over the last few years and since his death. In any case, it’s not practical. I have to get in a house-sitter if I want to go away at all and it costs all I can throw at it to maintain the grounds. I’m so sad about this, I used to love it here, even though I never felt it to be mine in any way.
I really have always been the devoted type. As I said, I suggested we move here, though I loved our previous house dearly and was very happy there. I spent decades supporting Russell in his business, unpaid and, until recently (when I didn’t want to do it any longer and he realised he couldn’t manage without me) unacknowledged. The time will come, however, when I must put myself first. And I’m already starting to think about how. It feels a bit bleak at present, but it’ll get better in the end.