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Monday, 25 February 2013

Musical Statues

The day came to say goodbye. We left the old house pared back to it’s bones; a series of bare and naked rooms. Quiet. Still. Footsteps echoed as I wandered through the hollow space that was once our home, taking photographs to capture the ‘before’, preserving it for posterity.  As the morning light streamed though the mossy roof panes of the old conservatory I felt warm; buoyed with gentle hope and optimism for the future.  I closed the door and walked thirty doors north, the bright red removal van trundling along the road beside me. We arrived in tandem at our new abode, barely a time lapse between packing and unpacking; then began the task of squeezing our possessions into every spare inch of available space.

Our temporary home has a lovely ambiance. Lots of natural light, clean neutrally decorated walls, a power shower with a never ending supply of hot water.  Soft beige carpets; immaculately clean.  I’d forgotten how such simple things can make a big difference.  After two years of living with flowery wallpaper and navy blue carpets the excitement I felt at having a cream backdrop for my possessions was immense.  As we hung pictures and filled shelves, a vase of anemones; a gift from my mother, lifted my spirits at times when the unpacking seemed unrelenting, like cheerful flags waving through the chaos; they spurred on my desire to paint a beautiful picture on the clean canvas we’d been given.

Husband and I decided to sleep in the converted loft.  After the rattling windows and sub zero temperatures at Faulty Towers, I hoped it would be warm, and it was.  I awoke our first morning with a smile on my face. I hadn’t even needed a blanket on top of the duvet, or had to lie shivering as I breastfed EB at 2.30am.  Bliss.

It became evident that our de-cluttering efforts had been far too tame; that still we have much to do.  Even so, a lot of our things are likely to remain bubble wrapped for the next year.   The storage space, from the roof eaves to the small under croft, has been crammed with brown cardboard boxes, packed together as tightly as the squares on a Rubik cube. Getting them all out again to sort through them is a task I can’t face at the moment, so for now they will stay where they are and we will focus life around the essentials.

On our journey from old house to new, a few things have made it out of the recesses of dark cupboards and enjoyed a renaissance.  Music being one of them. As I sorted through box upon box of old CD’s, 4 different generations of ipod and an unused ipod dock,  I wondered when and why I’d stopped listening to music. Once moved, I resolved that I would recharge the ipod battery and let the melodies play once more.

I can remember dancing around the kitchen with Pip when he was a baby; at the house we owned before Faulty Towers.  In his babyhood, he and I regularly grooved to Marlena Shaw - California Soul. It was our song. He loved nothing more than being jigged around in Mummy’s arms to the ‘cheesy tunes’ playlist on my ipod.

But then, at some point, the music stopped.

These last few weeks I’ve wondered why. Possibly we had nothing to play it on, the old ipod dock died, it was years before I bought a new one, and even then it lay unopened in it’s box. Motherhood overtook me; Ladyhawk was swapped for lullabies and concerns that a little voice wouldn’t be audible from the cot took precedence. Other interests; writing, came to the fore and occupied precious moments of ‘down time’.  Singularly focussed, I need silence to concentrate when I read or write.

Unconsciously I allowed my music collection to be frozen in time. The gaps on my ipod show the missing years. I wonder, am I the only person in the UK not to own an Adele album?

On our second night in our temporary house I put the ipod in the dock and cranked up the music.  Bands and songs evoked memories of time gone by. Good memories, happy times. A little wine helped me open my vocal chords and shimmy across the smooth wood of the kitchen floor.  Darkness meant that the french doors became mirror like and casting the odd sly eye at my reflection, I threw my shapes, dancing and singing like a woman who thinks she’s still in her twenties (but isn’t).  Husband, mid sort out, was waltzed round the kitchen before making a hasty escape. Then he returned, and observed;  "This is like the old you". 

I knew what he meant.
 
The uplifting beat of old school disco had found a little bit of the carefree old me. I hadn’t even known she was missing, but perhaps she was, smothered in a sea of muslin squares, lost in grown up-ness and the daunting task of being responsible for someone else. 

These things take time to get used to, but maybe I’m there now, or have just finally relaxed; having two children makes having one seem easy.

This weekend I showed Pip some moves. The moonwalk and ‘Michael Jack’ are his new favourite thing.  It’s time to update my ipod. The kitchen here might be small but it's definitely good for dancing in.

18 comments:

  1. I hope you never stop writing. Your blog is the best written that I follow. Like a chapter in a novel. And I think you might be the only person in the free world not to have an Adele album. lol

    Congrats on your de-cluttering process and you temporary move!

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    1. Such a lovely compliment, thank you. Think I will download her album, I love some of her songs.

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  2. Very true! I always listen to music when I'm doing housework and sing loudly in the car. I go to dance classes and my daughter and I dance at home. She's not embarrassed by my dancing and we enjoy dancing and music together :)

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    1. I think it's great for children to enjoy dancing and music - already I can see Pip enjoying it and expressing himself. It makes me feel so content to watch him dancing without inhibition.

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  3. My heart went out to you several times during that post! You always write so beautifully and I love your pace - perfect for me. I don't have to re-read anything and it all makes sense. I had a freezing kitchen with wires hanging out of the ceiling which I no longer even noticed when no 2 was born. A good friend gave me a kindly nudge, telling me I couldn't live like that with a baby and she was right. We lived in our hall for weeks while having the work done - and it was worth every moment to gain what we have. I know your wait will be worthwhile too - to enjoy breastfeeding your baby, being a bit part, I expect, when you look back on it.

    I also have a gap in my music - I still don't own an ipod, but my 7yo has one - bought by the same dear friend, funnily enough. I have introduced him to the Saturday Night Fever album and he has taken to the Bee Gees. We all dance around the kitchen madly, which has brought me alive again too - again, like you, I didn't realise that part had disappeared.

    Have to join you in the not owning an Adele anything yet, but if she's on our radar, we ain't completely lost the plot!

    I wish you every happiness in your new, albeit temporary, home and look forward to your real one taking shape - just as you form your new life! XX

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    1. Living in the hall must still have been tough! I love the fact you dance around the kitchen to the Bee Gees - they've had some fabulous tracks! And yes, you're right...at least Adele is on the radar :0). x

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  4. You are writing so beautifully. I love resping your post and I shod confess that I weeped. It's like a saw myself in your place. I forgot how to be me...I'm a mum.
    Wish you all the best my darling x

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    1. Thank you so much. I think it's easy to forget bits of ourselves when we become a mother. I'm sure they resurface somewhere along the line, even if it is when they've left home! x

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  5. Oh this is lovely, like a chapter of a novel. And I saw so much of myself in this. I really think houses affect us - and as for music, why do we let that happen? I'm exactly the same. A lovely, inspiring read, thank you x

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  6. What a wonderful post, and like so many of the comments above, it was like having a mirror reflecting back something I have lost - or has gone missing over the years - music, which is embarrassing given what I used to do! And no, I don't own an Adele album either, and like you, I have to read and write in silence - need this to concentrate. Right now Younger Dad is watching TV with the headphones on! But all of a sudden, and I guess it's writing this novel, I'm getting a real urge to get back on my decks again - I'm going to have to anyway for the research! Your new temporary flat sounds lovely and I really enjoyed how the blank canvas made you feel when you were unpacking. A lovely, lovely post! X.

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    1. Thank you. Going back to the decks - what an adventure!

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  7. Music has disappeared from my life a bit too, but mainly due to storage problems. We don't have enough room here for much and all the CDs got shipped into storage when the little man was very little (to prevent him having them all out). But now he's older, I want them back. Just have to organise the space for them. Your new place sounds lovely, I hope you are very happy there.

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    1. Organising them all might be quite fun, I'm sure sifting through them all will evoke some memories for you too x

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  8. How lovely. You can't beat a bit of a boogie to pick your spirits up and remember good times. Really enjoyed picturing you having a well deserved bop!

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  9. Mummyplum!

    I've been away from the blogosphere for a few months and am so pleased to be reading you again!

    Did I read correctly? A little baby,EB? How wonderful!

    Good luck in the temporary abode - it sounds blissful!

    mammasaver x

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    1. Mammasaver - hello! Yes, EB, born in November. Just been over to your blog and see you've also been busy. Congratulations! Hope it's all going well.x

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