As of yesterday, my parents’ home – my childhood home – is now defunct.

Mum and Dad moved in to that house 50 years ago this summer, the year I turned 10. It’s changed a lot since then – replacement kitchen, additional downstairs shower room, multiple changes of use of internal and external spaces over time – but still, it’s a bit odd to think of neither parent living there any more.

Dad (who turns 87 on Thursday) now lives in a residential care home – he’s had five strokes and has vascular dementia, so has needed proper nursing care for the last 18 months. Thankfully he is somewhere where he is safe and cared for, he seems happy enough and appears to be settled where he is.

Mum (who will be 81 next Sunday) continued to live alone in the rural home she shared with Dad for all those years, but she too has recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia, so has finally agreed to move from there in to a very pleasant Sheltered Housing development in the nearest town, much closer to Dad.

Her new rented home is much smaller – just one bedroom, a bathroom, and an open plan living room and kitchen – so she’s taken with her what she needs and wants (and whatever will fit) and the rest of the old house and contents have to be cleared and sorted and made ready for putting on the market.

So Mum moved in to her new, self-styled ‘old-lady’ place yesterday, and thankfully slept well on her first night in her new bed. Tomorrow my husband and I will be going out to the old house to look for some necessary documentation I need to complete on Mum’s behalf. And then we can start planning ahead for whatever comes next.

It does feel a bit strange to think of the house not being in our family any more, but neither my brother nor I have ever had any wish to live there as adults ourselves. In our late fifties we each have our own lives, our own families, our own homes. That was Mum and dad’s dream home, not ours. And anyway, it has to be sold to pay for Dad’s ongoing care, and Mum’s new life alone.

I have a lifetime of memories wrapped up in that house, some great, some not so good. But it was our family home. It was where I grew up. Realistically it should have been sold years ago, and Mum and Dad should have moved somewhere smaller and more practical and accessible when their health first started failing, probably about a decade ago.

But instead they chose to sit tight in denial and hold on to the bitter end, insisting that they would both manage to live there independently until they died. However now in their 80s neither are fit to be there any longer, they both now live elsewhere and as of yesterday it falls entirely to my brother and I to sort everything out and sell up for them.

Fifty years of the accumulated stuff of life – paperwork, personal possessions, old photographs, family mementos and memories, toys and teddies. Not to mention all the excess furniture and fripperies, including a full set of my maternal grandmother’s wedding china from the late 1930s kept wrapped up and stored in a box ‘for best’. And Dad’s old army suitcase from when he did his National Service in the 1950s.

Of course there will be some things of sentimental value to other family members that will definitely be kept, but much of what is remaining after everything is sorted out will inevitably be donated to charity. It seems a bit heartless, but what else can we do? Dad doesn’t remember any more, and Mum no longer has any room to keep it all.

I have no idea how long it will take us to clear things away enough to put the house on the market, no idea how I will feel at the end of the day when all is said and done. But right now all I can say is I’m dreading it…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Defunct



I’ve never had a profession, or a chosen career to have a pinnacle of, no shining goal of achievement at the top of the pile to aim for. Instead I’ve had a series of low-paid, low-status jobs, some full time and some part time, and intermittent periods of staying at home in between. I’ve been a mum since I was 18, and became a working single mum at 24 when my marriage to my kids’ dad broke up… or is it broke down?

Anyway, the point is, with no child maintenance paid at all on their father’s part, ever, I necessarily worked around whatever fitted in with the needs of the kids’ schooling to pay our way as best I could, so over the years I’ve worked variously in retail, hospitality, healthcare, the civil service, and education. And as a mature student I also studied for a degree, although I’ve never actually used it. My kids are long grown up, in fact two out of three are parents themselves, and I’m married again – happily, this time.

So here I am at 59, having been made redundant in January for the second time in two years, currently just a housewife. But I’m annoyed at myself for habitually using such a pejorative qualifier – ‘just’ is such a judgemental, limiting term, more of a dis-qualifier, really? I mean, what’s wrong with running a home, cooking and cleaning and nurturing and loving both a living space and the people who live in it?

For some working people there may be paid-for cleaners, or gardeners, or childminders to help them with the upkeep of their home and family, they may live off takeaways and home delivery services, or they may even rush around like lunatics trying admirably to do it all themselves. But the point is someone has to do it, sadly there’s no magic housework fairy that waves her sparkly wand and suddenly it’s all done for you.

Right now I’m in the lucky position of being able, however unfortunate the circumstances that caused it, to afford to stay at home for a few months and enjoy being a housewife for a while, so why do I feel the need almost to apologise for it? Even there I wrote ‘just’ again, so I went back and took it out. Why do I feel so guilty about it, and try to assuage that guilt somehow by effectively demeaning and negating my current life choice?

Who gets to decide which life choices are worth something, and which are not? There’s got to be more to societal value than monetary worth and financial gain, and yet those seem to be the only recognised criteria that count? It’s a bit of an uneasy bugbear of mine, reducing everyone down to a basic profit and loss measure and which side they find themselves positioned on in life’s arbitrary balance sheet? Especially when I’m the one effectively doing it to myself… Grrr…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Profession

Word of the Day: Disqualified

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Bugbear

Home is Where the Heart is…

Fandango’s Provocative Question asks this week:-

Which of these four types of community to you currently live in – urban, suburban, exurban, or rural? Are you happy there? If so, why? If not, why not, and which type of community would you prefer to live in?

We currently live in the midst of an urban community, by choice, and I absolutely love where we live. Three and a half years ago we bought a detached 1930s bungalow with private garden front and back in a mixed business and residential area within the town of Inverness in the North of Scotland. Our intention was to buy somewhere we could grow old in – basically our retirement home, bought early enough that we could do what we wanted to it BEFORE we actually retired.

As a plan, it’s sort-of worked so far. We are within easy walking distance (10-15 minutes) of four different supermarkets and one dedicated freezer store, not to mention our doctor’s surgery and dentist. And it only takes 15-20 minutes to walk into the middle of the town centre, so everything is reasonably accessible for us here. We are also on a bus route so that when walking is not so easy, public transport is an option for us, and there are always taxis to take where necessary.

We are also within easy walking distance of both the River Ness (which we have to cross over to go into town) and the Caledonian Canal (on the western-most edge of town) so have easy access in either direction to somewhere pleasant and tree-lined to stroll along just for enjoyment. Location-wise, then, it’s the perfect place for us, a best-of-both-worlds urban home situated on its own little garden plot with easy access to business and pleasure, amenities and nature.

The house itself is a bit of a fixer-upper on all counts – we bought it understanding that everything would need to be redone or replaced eventually, but nothing needed doing immediately as long as we lived with whatever dated fixtures and fittings and decor were already there. So far we’ve replaced all the windows and the two external doors, have fixed the ageing roof, have replaced the ancient heating/ hot water boiler, and have replaced all the light fixtures.

There’s still lots to do but we’re getting there at our own pace, work and health issues and family and everyday life often taking precedence over the never-ending list of DIY jobs to be tackled, but even though much remains as yet undone in the house, I love it no matter what and thank my lucky stars that this particular house should be on the market at exactly the right time for us to buy it.

I remember the first day we came to view it, I saw a tired but clearly much-loved old house with loads of potential, and the minute we walked through the front door I simply knew it was going to be the right home for us. And there’s not one day since we moved in that I’ve thought any different. I realise an old fixer-upper house changed bit by bit instead of all in one go is not to everyone’s taste, but it has a character and an eclectic style all of its own and it suits us just fine… 🙂

JusJoJan: Amenities

In any home, two of the most important amenities to be found are the bathroom and the kitchen.

In our home, we knew when we moved in three and a half years ago that at some point, both the master bathroom and kitchen would have to be not only updated but replaced. But, oh, how difficult it is to decide exactly what to do with them! We look at kitchen designs and bathroom designs and just when I think we might have made a decision on what may be best, we change our minds again. That level of renovation and remodeling is just so expensive it’s really important to make the right choice – the right style, the right colour, the right feel

Neither room currently works as well as we would like, but neither doesn’t work, either, so in one sense there’s no rush, but in another way we’re in danger of having got so used to it as it is, we almost don’t notice the inconvenience any more… almost… but not quite… 🙂

JusJoJan: Amenities

April A-Z: E is for Eclectic

I seem to have quite an eclectic taste in stuff, a creative mix of old and new, traditional and modern, and I really like it that way. We have a 1930s bungalow that was updated/ extended in the early 1990s and we’ve lived here for two and a half years, doing it up bit by bit. I tend to like to have a reasonably neutral background but love to add bright splashes of colour in an informal mix-and-match hotch-potch of stuff I like that doesn’t necessarily go together in theory, but somehow because each item goes with my taste it all looks surprisingly Ok when put together in practice. No-one would ever accuse me of being a minimalist; I’m quite content with a bit of creative clutter around me when it comes to personal possessions…  🙂

Life events have conspired to pull me away from blogging over the last couple of months, and the idea of taking part in this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge seems like a good way to try to get back into the habit of reading and posting regularly. Originally I thought of just using any old random words to go with the particular letter of the day, but realistically without a clear theme to work towards I’m not sure I’d be able to keep my focus for a full month… So instead I’ve opted for a relatively simple, if slightly self-indulgent work-around: This year I’ll be posting 26 things about me, nothing too taxing to write about yet still fulfilling the brief!

When I’m Sixty-Four…

This week Fandango asks us provocatively:

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Ha, that old chestnut! The favourite career-building interview question that opens up the way for giving some stock smart-ass sound-bite answer that trips off the tongue and tells the prospective employer just how committed you are to meeting their particular needs in the long-term… Well I’m not a career girl, never have been, but when it comes to my personal life maybe I do have long-term plans to think about putting into words?

In five years’ time I definitely see me still living here with my husband, in our lovely little bungalow we bought not quite two and a half years ago. Hopefully we’ll be a lot further along the road in getting both house and garden exactly the way we want it – we’ve done plenty so far, slowly but surely, and have plenty more to do. I find that plans change organically as time passes, imagined ideals are knocked off their perfect pedestals and their more down-to-earth replacements generally turn out to be far more realistic practicalities. And as we like to do the DIY stuff ourselves as far as possible, to date the transformation has not been a quick process, but I’m confident we’ll get there in the end!

In five years’ time I see me still in the pre-retirement stage of my life and still proactively planning for my post-retirement phase – currently I’m on course to receive my UK State Pension at 67, in 2030, so in five years’ time at 64 I’ll still be three years short of that goal. At that point I might still be working part time, health permitting, and I imagine I’ll either have a very crumbly old hip joint or a very shiny new hip joint, depending on the particular level of internal disintegration and current NHS waiting lists. Hopefully my Long Covid symptoms will be a distant memory by then, and surely this God-awful pandemic will have become endemic and managed by annual jabs, much like flu is now?

In five years’ time will I still be blogging? Not sure about that one, I might be, but then again I might not – watch this space, and we’ll find out! 🙂  



A nineteen thirties bungalow in style

Mock-Tudor boards on double-fronted bays

Old paint-peeled rendered walls that made me smile

And fall in love in oh-so-many ways

Its shabby chic and part-neglected air

Called out to me to make this house my own

Look far beyond its age without a care

Ignore its dated décor overtone

And now we live together in this space

Eclectic symbiosis oft appears  

Where partial changes slowly taking place

Bring modern touches to the faded years

I love the way the blend of old and new

Creates a loving home for me and you… ❤

Weekly Prompts: Old and New