It shocks me to admit it, but I actually quite enjoyed Christmas this year. I think that the principal reason was the fact that we had a simple few days in this house with just my Dad joining the three of us. Basically, we got up when we felt like it, ate when we felt like it and watched TV, read, dozed and chatted when we felt like it. Seems simple enough, but it’s the first time we’ve done this for at least 10 years and you forget the simple virtues of a Christmas at home. In the preceding few years we’ve always been rushing off to other venues and whilst I always appreciated the hospitality we were offered, it all seemed a lot more stressful, somehow.
The New Year lies ahead and that will bring up a significant anniversary, because next month it will be 20 years since we moved into this house. At numerous points during that time, I would have given you no odds at all on me surviving 20 years here, but it has (somehow) happened. Recently, we had some old VHS tapes from our early years here transferred to DVD and it was shocking to see the house as it was and remember that wallpaper or those light fittings. In fact, the whole back end of the house has been revamped – the original kitchen was the size of a modest wardrobe and it’s amazing to reflect on how we coped with it the way it was.
I sort of doubt that I’ll be here (or anywhere) for another 20 years, but I have to say that whilst the house has its limitations, I am still fundamentally very fond of it, no matter my reservations about Birmingham in general and this area in particular. As a kid, I lived in the same house in Northampton from the age of 5 to the age of 18 and missed it when my parents moved whilst I was living in Copenhagen. Similarly, the Princess has lived here from the age of 4 months until now and I’m happy that she’s had the continuity that comes from living under the same roof in the same area for so long. She’s now embarked upon a period of her life where, if my experiences in my 20’s are anything to go by, she will move often – both between and within different cities. Hopefully, this house will offer her some continuity for a while yet.