A friend of mine is moving house next week. I know he’s dreading it, he’s told me several times that he hopes it will be the last time he ever moves.
I understand that quite clearly. Moving and life insurance policies must surely be the worst two things on earth.
When we moved to Geraldton, in the last century, we seemed to have moved a thousand times before settling on Champion Bay, or Jambinbirri as historian Howard Gray appropriately suggests we call it.
And we moved into an old house, just as my friend is about to do, not because of any reason other than it was affordable.
We’ve stayed in the same place now for nearly a quarter of a century. That’s a record for me. Knocked a few walls out, created other rooms, different spaces, tried to make the place work better. It takes quite a while to get used to a house.
I feel lucky to have had the money to buy a house. Some people have mortgages all their lives, others end up renting for the entire journey. But yes, owning a house is different, a man and his castle and all that. And I need to add a woman and her castle too in this age of equality.
But former houses I’ve lived in never leave my mind and sometimes when I am looking for a lost book or different saucepan I realise the last place I saw them was in that house in Hobart or Mount Gambier or Bayswater.
A bit of the house coming with me, barnacles on a boat that are never removed.
We bring or take things from house to house to make a home more familiar, more comfortable. But it is often hard dragging them all the way, loading them into different boxes marked kitchen or bedroom or office.
So I don’t envy my friend in his move and if I were any closer I’d offer to help, but fortunately for me he lives on the other side of Australia, a long way from Geraldton.
I expect I’ll get an update in the next week or so describing the trauma of his trek from one part of suburbia to another.
But I hope it goes well for him. I read many years ago where a home is not a place, it’s a feeling.