What possessed me?
I began the day quite normally. Checking animals, being bowled over by the sunrise, cursing as I’d forgotten my camera.
What did possess me?
I’d made the phone calls I needed to. Pressure washed the Bobcat and yard scraper ready for the mechanic to check an irrepressible oil leak and change the scraper rubber.
Splattered with a peppering of FYM I was walking back up to the house for a sponge down and a cup of tea when the possession hit…
The mist had rolled back and the day was ice blue and golden.
Perfect for drying, I thought.
The next thing I knew I was stripping the covers off the sofas, bunging them into the washing machine and thinking ‘what if I move the sitting room into the dinning room?’
And that’s how it started…the rest of the day was spent in frantic, exhausting activity. Everything out of the sitting room, everything out of the dinning room. All out into the yard.
The mechanic arrived and looks rather askance ‘was it the bobcat you wanted me to see to?’ he asked, puzzled, scratching his head.
‘Yes. It’s down by the cow palace. I know this looks rather…drastic? Just moving things around…’ I said rather lamely
I go down with him, but I’m impatient, I need to get back, I don’t have long…I have to get everything shipshape by this evening.
Cobwebs, spiders, woodlice, earwigs, moths, silverfish and dust – our house abounds in wildlife. Husband assures me that’s it’s the sign of a healthy house – I’m just frustrated, annoyed by it.
Olly and I lumber with huge, heavy unwieldy pieces of family furniture. Grandmother’s Dutch chest, the Greenway’s sideboard and chairs, Brandfold’s corner cupboard, sofas, oak table all dismantled, outside through one door around the yard and in through another.
The washing machine is going full pelt, the washing line groans (of course it’s not drying, it’s November, not May). I feel panic rising, why, why ever did I start this? No matter must get it done. I don’t think I like it. What have I done? Whatever possessed me to start?
‘Mum,’ says Olly ‘we can just change it back again – hey, it’ll be okay.’ He can see the panic.
We scrub, hoover, polish, reassemble. Move the furniture. Move the cows. Exhausted we are nearly there. I ache, my wrists are swollen, my back feels broken. The sun sets.
Robert arrives home. He hates change; the sitting room has been a sitting room for over fifteen years, even before the house grew. ‘
‘What, what, what has happened?’ he exclaims ‘what are you doing, why are you doing it?’ ‘Why, whatever for?’
His face droops, his eyes bewildered ‘how can you do this?’ He’s a soul lost.
He’s silent. His shoulders speak a thousand words
‘It’s not the same. It’s not private. It’s cold…and hard!’
What have I done?
I come back from work this evening. The house is warm and quiet…calm. I walk through to the sitting room and Robert is sprawled out on the sofa in front of the fire…’Don’t know why we didn’t do this years ago.’ He raises a hand to pull me onto the sofa. ‘Much more, well, sitting room in here, don’t you think?’