Sunday 12 April 2009

The importance of being careful

14st 10lb, 4.0 units. So it does work: take more exercise, eat less food, and my weight decreases and my mood improves. What an amazing, life-changing discovery. I have lost count of the number of times I have made it.

This morning we ate the obligatory and eagerly awaited hot cross buns, then headed to church for the greatest festival of the Christian year. I think I can safely say that it was the first time either of us has ever been to church on Easter Day, since I know I have not, owing to an 80/20 combination of indolence and mild agnosticism, while Mrs H is theoretically a lapsed Muslim, or would be if such a thing were possible without attracting a death sentence. There was a good crowd of People Like Us, some hymns I knew (though sung to tunes I did not, in accordance with local tradition) and an uplifting sermon. It raised the spirits, as it always does.

After this, we wandered around to view a house in the village we had spotted on the internet and which appealed because it was available to rent immediately, and would provide us with the extra bedroom we really need to accommodate our expected son. It was all very seductive: newly extended and refurbished, with a fabulous garden offering great views of the church where we were married, and a footpath to the side providing a quick short cut to the village shop. The master bedroom overlooking the garden was a beautiful room, flooded with light. We more or less told the owners that we wanted to rent the place and would be calling the agents first thing on Tuesday morning.

Then we began to think of the snags. Such as the fact that, while comprehensively refurbishing the place, they had not found or left room for any major electrical appliances apart from a washing machine; the complete absence of any built-in facilities for hanging garments in the bedrooms, so that we would have to invest in wardrobes which we would then probably find impossible to manoeuvre up the narrow and winding stairs unless we went for the sort of cheap and cheerful self-assembly flatpacks I thought I had put behind me forever 25 years ago; and the total floor area being, on reflection, considerably smaller than that of the two bedroom house we currently occupy. Added to which, towards the end of last year I spent quite a lot of money equipping said house with a range of integrated appliances designed to make our lives easier, such as a dishwasher, fridge and freezer, plus a tumble dryer. (It may be costing the earth, but would you really want to have to cope with all a baby’s laundry without one?)

So that left only two reasons for moving: it is where we ultimately want to live, and all the individuals we met on the walk to the village shop were nice, well-spoken, middle class People Like Us who said things like “Hello, isn’t it a lovely day?” (a rhetorical question, obviously) rather than giving us menacing death glares and spitting on the ground. I could see why Mrs H would rather push her buggy to the shop here than to the ones where we now live. But then we came to the kissing gate helpfully installed at the end of the field behind the house, and she realized that there was no way she could ever push a buggy along this route unless she brought Geoff Capes with her to lift the baby and his carriage over the bloody thing. Which was, I fear, rather a last nail in the coffin of our renting plans.

Having inspected and supported the village Co-op, we walked back to the pub opposite the church and enjoyed a truly excellent lunch in the garden while talking ourselves out of spending £995 a month to live just around the corner. Or £1,500 a month, if you factor in all the extra money I would spend on Thwaite’s Original, pork scratchings and pub food. After all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with our current house apart from its near vertical staircase and the chance that one of us will plummet down it while holding the baby. We agreed that we would just have to be careful, while recognizing that it was a critical failure to be careful that got us where we are today.

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