Owning an older home (100 years plus), the maintenance often takes on daunting proportions- the sheer height of the house means that simple tasks, such as clearing gutters, painting and pointing, involve working precariously on a ladder. DIY jobs frequently uncover other expensive work which needs to be done and adds little value to either the house or the people living in it. It is easy to fall in to the trap of failing to appreciate what we have ; instead, we are trying to cultivate an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and looking through fresh eyes at our home and village by the sea.
This month we have really made an effort to celebrate the merits of our house and area and to change the shortcomings of our house- its two bedrooms for four people, its older layout (which can be frustrating when trying to keep an eye on the children), and the seemingly endless maintenance tasks which seem to be required.
Although our terraced house has only two bedrooms, it is spacious when compared with many terraces in the UK; it has nearly 1000 square feet of area to live in. We have made plans to knock through our functional but small kitchen into the dining area, put bunk-beds into the boys bedroom and have changed some items of furniture- beginning with exchanging my tiny Edwardian Art Nouveau wardrobe (a gorgeous hand me down which was too narrow to fit anything but a child-size hanger) for a much larger mahogany pre-war antique.
We have made time to get out in our garden as much as possible and conceded that it is now time to take out our vegetable beds in favour of more lawned play-space for our growing family. We have the only green back garden in a sea of concrete garages and yards and, as a result, we suffer disproportionately from an army of slugs, snails, caterpillars, aphids, cats etc ! We have been trying to grow vegetables for over ten years and in most years it feels as though the only thing we are achieving is to feed the local wildlife ( although helping to boost the insect population is no bad thing given the dire fall in their numbers globally ).
Many of our harvests have been barely enough for a couple of meals and I am finally realising that we can make better use of the space.
We have made new efforts to fully appreciate the area in which we live, enjoying the gala which passes our house, taking many walks along the shoreline with its stunning vistas of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District.
Through a new lens, the terraced house has started to feel like our lovely home again and we are able to appreciate all that we are blessed with.