Something made me drive the long way home this morning. I rounded the bend beside the estuary and saw that our old house was be-taped and be-coned, there were trucks parked on both sides of the street, and there were hard hats and hi-viz vests all over the place. No 391 is clearly about to come down.
I’ve long expected it. The house (which we sold nearly two decades ago) didn’t survive the early big quakes, probably for a variety of reasons. It was very close to the estuary; it was two-storeyed; it was burdened by really heavy concrete tiles. It’s been standing empty for the last three years, warning tape across the front, the garden overgrown, and the roof open to the sky. Whenever I passed by I was sad to see its sorry state – and sadder still for the people who bought it from us.
Now it will disappear. Only the memories remain.
We bought it as a small two-bedroomed cottage. Bit by bit we changed it, both inside and out. A two-roomed sleep-out – as guest-room and studio/office – was installed at the very back of the section. We created a forgiving kind of garden – one that didn’t demand our undivided attention but remained cheerful and exuberant. And we added an upstairs to the house with two more bedrooms and a second bathroom. Then, not too long afterwards, we sold it.
I feel ridiculously sentimental about the old place. And I daresay I will again when this current house faces the same fate in due course – probably some time this year. C’est la vie.