I had a old house in South Africa.
But I loved her and I cared for her and she looked better and she felt like home. I dont like new houses. I dont like modern and am highly suspicious of white walls. They look like they come out of a box. I dont like chrome and gleaming metal. I like old counters where other people have leaned on their elbows and made peanut butter sandwiches and drunk tea. I like old baths that have been well soaked. They feel welcoming.
Likewise I dont like gardens that look too well maintained or neat. With colour blocks. And raked paths. I like chaos and leaves and birds and vegetables. I like gardens that look shabby but loved. Because the one thing that I have learn't is that if life is to be lived, really lived, it has to be messy.
I have an old house in Australia. She looked very tired when I moved in. She was shy at first, but she opened up to me slowly. She started chatting to me one day when I was sitting drinking my early morning tea. She whispered, I really need to be painted a bit. So I did. I wasnt very good but she was very understanding and even laughed softly under the tickle of my brush. I started feeling her groove as I cleaned and dusted, slowly, slowly. I felt comfortable in her passage, up and down, carrying laundry, toys, clothes, towels, the discards of life. I found nooks that I dont think anyone had looked at and hung pictures there and I packed clothes in her cupboards and washed dishes at her sink and watched the red wattle bird that lives in her tree on the fence.
I like her more and more. She is too small really for us. I have too much stuff but she feels right. As if I needed to be contained on arrival. Perhaps she knew that too much space would make me feel more lost. She is a wooden hug and I like her cracked step and front door that sticks. I feel the echoes of others here and I like it.
Its taken six months but I finally feel like I am home again. I have spaces for things and know how things work. I know where the creaks are when I sneak off from sleeping babies and I have her oven figured out. I have waist high tomatoes and rows of corn and the neglected roses that I pruned down have rewarded me with blooms.
I have a good home in Australia.