Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ju's Christmas Carol - part one

Christmas past, December 2008

I’m sat in the living room of the flat that me and The (then) Four Year Old had shared for the previous couple of years.  I’m surrounded by boxes.  It is a Wednesday, exactly one week and one day before Christmas Day.  I am waiting for my solicitor to call to tell me that we have exchanged contracts on the house we are hoping to move in to in two days time.  Life is feeling a little stressful.  The Four Year Old has been at his Dad’s house for the previous two nights.  He is ill with a heavy cold, a fever and a cough that are causing him to vomit.  Being away from him is tearing me apart, but with the flat all packed up and me recovering from an ear infection and burst eardrum, we’ve all agreed it would be better for him to remain at his Dad’s until the move is complete.  I’m not at my best.  Energy levels are running low. 

The phone rings.  As I’d hoped, it is my solicitor. Finally, I think, the call I’ve be waiting for.  We had been trying to move from the flat on one side of town to the house on the other side of town (which was round the corner from the school where The Four Year Old had recently started in the Reception Class) for a year now.  The sale on our flat had fallen through twice previously so this move had been a long time coming.  As it turned out, it most definitely wasn’t the call I wanted. “I think you need to go and look at the house” says the Solicitor. “I’ve just heard that it’s been stood empty for the last six months and yesterday it was broken into…the old copper water tank and heating pipes have been ripped out leaving a lot of water damage and holes in the floor.  You may not want to go ahead with the purchase”.

My heart sinks.  I make the journey across town to survey the damage.  My mind is in a spin. The current owner no longer has insurance on the property and can’t afford to reduce the purchase price any further.  If we are to go ahead with the move, I will need to cover the costs of a new central heating system.  Despite the damage, the run down property still holds as much potential as it always has to me.  There is no way I’m backing out now and losing this house.  I am determined this move will go ahead.  I find a plumber who can start work before Christmas and then manage to beg and borrow enough cash to cover the additional costs.  It feels as if I am just scraping through this situation by the skin of my teeth

Somehow, two days later, accompanied by one of The (very good) Friends, the appointed plumber and two removal van men, I unlock the door of mine and The Four Year Olds ‘new’ house.  Water is pouring in through the kitchen ceiling.  There is no electricity, hot water or heating.  It is all rather grim to say the least.  Nevertheless, we are here at last.  The heating isn’t fixed for Christmas Day, but in the end we don’t care.  Our Christmas tree is a little ‘bald’ having shed most of it's pine needles during the move, but Santa still comes. Me and the Four Year Old ‘camp’ in the living room where we sleep, eat, and play. We are warmed by the happiness of being together again in our new home.  That, and the many electric heaters we  have borrowed! 

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