Heaven knows I’ve moved home enough times in the past. In fact I worked out that both I and my mother have moved so many times about 5 years is the average we’ve ever lived in one place, even though I’ve been in my present flat for 29 years and my mother in hers for 12 years. This is the 13th home I’ve lived in, and I’m now 68.
I have recently been toying with the idea of looking at ground floor, one-bedroom flats with a garden on my estate, and went so far as to email the local council about looking at a one-bedroom flat to see the possibilities. They over-reacted and sent an application form for moving, which I have filed away and have no intention whatsoever of filling out and sending off in the foreseeable future at least.
The more I think about it the more traumatic it would be to move. First off, because I was in a gay partnership before such things were officially recognized, long before civil partnerships or gay marriage, we were allocated a two-bedroom council flat in a tower block in 1978 under the then Labour council’s policy of moving childless couples into such places and families with children out. We were automatically awarded a two-bedroom flat being two adults of the same sex who required a bedroom each. We in fact never used the second bedroom as such except for visitors. When the block was decamped and sold off as luxury flats, we were moved to my present first-floor flat (we were on the 18th floor before), and again were allocated two bedrooms, gay couples still not being officially recognized.
Now, of course, that my partner has passed on the council considers I am over-occupying. We were always over-occupying because of the council’s policy as we always had a spare bedroom, nothing has changed.
Of course over the past 29 years since we moved into this present flat, and in the 6 years before in the previous two-bedroom council flat, we, and now I, have expanded to fill the available space. To move into a smaller flat would involve getting rid of a lot of furniture and possessions, which is why I asked to view a one-bedroom flat to assess the size of the rooms, hallway, etc.
In addition to the problems of a much smaller flat. I have maintained for the last 22 years the wonderful collages my life-partner created in two rooms and one of the store-cupboards. It would break my heart to dismantle them, and also this last home we made together has many emotional and nostalgic memories, so if I moved I might always regret it.
I have the flat much as I want it now. Apart from his collages, I have a memorial banner or quilt for my life-partner displayed in the long hallway, along with some pictures, etc. My bedroom I have also decorated with collages of my own. All the rooms have been decorated to my taste.
In addition to all this, the very thought of packing up and moving, involving getting rid of loads of stuff, is just too mind-boggling. At my age I just can’t face it. My suite probably wouldn’t fit, nor my computer desk, or my sizeable vinyl record collection.
So I’ve decided to stay put as long as I can. I recognize that if I eventually become unable to negotiate the stairs up to my flat I might have to reconsider, but at the moment and for the foreseeable future I will stay here. I admit the garden was the main attraction of moving. I have an allotment plot but it is too big, too far away and too unmanagable for me. I will probably give it up this Autumn when the rent for the next year becomes due.
A Community Garden project was started in the area behind my block of flats, and although this seems to have run out of steam, I’m sure I could plant a few flowers, etc. there, which would be quite enough for me and I could tend to it every day, whereas the allotment I can’t get to more than once a week, if that.
Moving itself is traumatic at any time, but at my age and involving a drastic downsizing and getting rid of loads of stuff just is far too daunting.