“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Two phone calls in one day, each of which meant my life had changed, as they say, forever.
The first was to say that our offer on the bungalow in Staunton, Gloucestershire, had been accepted. We – Cecilia and I – had sold our house just outside Reading a few months earlier, and had been living on her parents’ farm in Carmarthen, Wales. A beautiful location, but not ours: we were ready to move back into a house of our own.
The bungalow, “Woodlands”, wasn’t perfect. It had been extended twice in the past without any real thought: a confusing maze of a house that consisted of rooms and corridors surrounding a central room that was difficult to find a use for. It was cold. There was no mains gas, only oil heating, which, we soon discovered, is expensive.
It had a huge, mostly grass, lawn, so not all bad. Even the moles liked the garden. And across the track, a 4.5 acre field for Cecilia to keep her beloved chestnut Arab, Archie (that’s a horse: I wouldn’t have worked it out from that description).
Location, Location, Location
If the house wasn’t perfect, at least the location was. On the edge of the village and overlooking it, and right next to – literally a few yards from – the forest. Out the door, turn right: village. Out the door, turn left: forest. It was beautiful.
There was a concern, of course: moving into a village in the Forest of Dean with a population of, apparently, 265 might be considered invasion by the natives – but it wasn’t. We were made welcome, more than we could ever have expected. Lovely neighbours, a friendly village pub, beautiful scenery and the best sunsets ever. Shame about the house…
Love’s Labour’s Won
There was a second call that day. “Mr Edmunds, you’d better come back to the hospital: we think your wife is going into labour”. And she was. After just a few seconds, and no (well, very little) bad language, Lucy swapped the warmth and comfort of mum for this big, stark, scary world (but once you’re out, there’s no going back). Five weeks premature, she weighed in at just 1.98Kg. But she was fabulous, utterly fabulous (and still is).
We moved in during June, 2007. That night the three of us slept on mattresses on the bedroom floor, and Lucy slept through the night for the first time.
We were family, in our own house, in the stunning Forest of Dean.