I can hardly believe that we’re leaving. I suppose that in the great scheme of things we haven’t been here that long. Just twelve years: twelve years in the history of a house that is centuries old. But I like to think that we made our mark, in our own small way, curating a property that we have loved and cherished from the day we arrived in 2006 to that sad, sad moment, just a few days away now, when we will have to shut the front door for the last time.
There’s a lot to do now, of course. The plants are in their pots ready for transportation, the greenhouse has been stripped bare, and the little shed in the garden where I once stored my tools will soon lie empty. No more early morning walks or quiet moments of contemplation on the Lutyens bench on the patio. No more sitting on my chair in the garden room, tapping away at the keyboard with one eye on the screen and the other on the trees swaying in the breeze outside. No more walking around the garden marvelling at the new growth, at the way the Alliums are coming through in clumps, admiring the carpet of snowdrops in the front garden, or the healthy clusters of Narcissus ‘Cheerfulness’ starting to poke their heads through the still frozen ground.
As the clock ticks on and our time at Southleigh comes to an end, some memories start to fade a little, but new hopes and aspirations will soon take their place. Our sweet little cat will lie in her resting place forever more, but we will take with us the small plaque on the pergola, and with it the fond memory of a son lost too young.
I shall leave a vase of garden flowers in the kitchen as a gift for the new owners. There are happy times ahead for us all.