Season 1 Finale: Home
How do you live a normal life?
By the time I was 14 years old I had moved house 14 times. Surprisingly, it wasn't a damaging experience as Mother’s sheer strength of personality held it all together. Mother would catch a new enthusiasm and within moments we'd be packing up a few treasures and several thousand books.
Each new place was held together with rituals. Every home was stuffed with flowers and candlelight. Friends and feasts brought laughter, warmth and talking into the early hours. Piles of books would be consulted as an eclectic mix of people flocked to join in my Mother’s curiosity. Mountains of home-cooked food would be consumed accompanied by glasses brimming with wine.
That was my normal.
'LILY!! Stop trying to kill your sister with a hammer!!'
'I'm hanging a picture.'
'NOT on your sister's forehead, you're not!'
God give me wine. It's only 10 am but bloody hell. Remind me again what possessed me to move into a ramshackle house with two untamed kids?!
Love. Oh yeah.
Well, today I'm not feeling the warm embrace of Monsieur Love.
Today I am attempting to get this house into a habitable state. When I viewed it I was taken in by its charm. Over three floors with sea views and a quirky layout. Amazing how charm and quirk can turn to headache and fucking annoying. The power goes out every few days, the top floor bedroom roof leaks, taking a shower leads to icicles hanging from your nipples and the kitchen has a mysterious coating of an indeterminate blackishness.
Add to that getting the girls up and running for school. Not just any school. But homeschool. Oh yes, I am a special madman. After my divorce, it was wise to create some consistency as we had to move areas a few times. The experience has been wonderful and the bond the girls have is beauti...
'Do not cast hexes on your sister!!' Daisy comes through with red stripes across her face, a twig in one hand and an Encyclopedia Botanica in the other. She wears my black velvet evening dress and sparkly pink wellington boots. And she is chanting. She is part witch, I'm sure.
She smiles sweetly - don't be fooled. To be fair given her head was about to have a nail hammered into it, the hex might be appropriate.
These creatures that I spawned need some education to beat them into submission. The task of educating two children of wildly differing personalities is fun with a: Oh my holy! Why am I doing this??
Daisy is curious and wants to know EVERYTHING. Especially those unanswerable questions. Why do humans exist? Where do we come from? Who was the first human? Why are bees fluffy? You know, all the questions. She gets frustrated when her failure as a mother doesn't have the answers.
Lily is not curious. Or at least not about our world. She does want to know everything about elves, unicorns and when she can practise her archery skills. Trust me, wedgying algebra into elven mythology is harder than you'd think. Our lessons consist of rephrasing questions to have a fantasy angle. Turns out Lily can tell you the conductivity of silver but only if it's the exact silver mined by the dwarves of the third age.
With the girls settled with some school work. I try to turn the kitchen into a liveable space. Scrubbing the walls I realise that they are actually bright white and not dove grey as I first thought. Off grey was more accurate. What is this film of stuff?
A knock at the door reveals the neighbour. She of the crow.
'Hi, the postie put these through our door but it’s for you.' She hands me a stack of mail. We chat for a little, thankfully, falling on my arse in her kitchen at the first meeting seems to have been forgiven.
She tells me that my house has been empty for some time after the previous tenant left in bad circumstances. Turns out he had installed a wood-burning stove. Only forgot to put in a chimney. That would account for the black stuff on the walls of the kitchen. Soot. One mystery off the list.
Ok, the move wasn't as organised, relaxed and in control as I had originally hoped. But we here are in our house and it was in danger of becoming a home with a successful Christmas under our belts. My anxiety about the Reunion had been off the mark, as it transpired my friends didn't think I'd been a bad friend after all.
Then there was Ross.
The girls have found their new favourite person mainly due to the laughter, warmth and ice cream he brings. He brings care into my life. And love. He seems to be unphased by the mayhem. The enormity of encompassing a madwoman, her kids and her unconventional way of living is taken in his stride.
Whether by divine provenance or sheer dumb luck we have managed to get the beginnings of a proper relationship going.
Sign up for Season 2 coming on 3rd May.
Apart from Emma and Ross. All other names have been changed for privacy. This memoir is set in the city of Aberdeen, UK but I have altered some of the place and business names.
Looking forward to the next instalment! I remember a voluntary group I was in as a teen was asked to repaint a pensioner’s living room - darkish blue walls and yellow ceiling. Once we’d washed off the nicotine, and he had paler blue walls and a white ceiling again, he decided it didn’t need repainting after all 😁😁😁