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Going Home

Author: Sarah Graham

Over the years, I had many holidays in Scotland. This was from childhood through to the time I had my own children. It always seemed like a place where other people lived. Somewhere very different.

When I reached my 50’s, my children were grown up. My husband and I had discussed moving to the seaside many times, and in 2013 we put our house up for sale. We had lived in the same house for twenty-seven years, at the edge of the West Midlands conurbation. About as far away from the sea as it is possible to be in the UK. Interest was sparse at first. This was good in some ways, giving us more time to explore possibilities.

The following year, we travelled to Glasgow to see the Commonwealth Games. Accommodation was ridiculously expensive, so we decided to combine the sports viewing with a few days on the coast. We could travel by train to the stadium each time. While we were about it, we could take the train from home too.

On arrival at the station near our hotel, we couldn’t resist browsing in the windows of the Estate Agents. This had become a habit over recent months, just to compare prices and availability. Things had been a bit more active on the house front in recent weeks. In fact, we had recently welcomed a few people to view the house.

In those days, a lot more business was carried out by phone, with emails as a back-up. There was no smartphone for me at that time. I vividly remember receiving calls from our Estate Agent back home. Two offers in one day? Typical, as we were so far away. I struggled to hear conversations in the stadium, and spent a lot of time asking if I could call back later.

In the meantime, we’d arranged to view a house near to the hotel where we were staying. It ticked a lot of our boxes, and, conveniently, was vacant possession. Yes, reader, we bought it! We accepted one of the offers on our own house, so were in a position to make an offer. It looked as if I might become one of those ‘other people’ after all.

I’m not sure how many people buy a house whilst on holiday, but it certainly helps you to remember the break. It was quite interesting going back to work. When the others asked me about my holiday, the reply was, ‘We really enjoyed it. Oh, and by the way, we bought a house.’

The team knew we’d been looking and were prepared for the fact I would be moving out of the area, and thus leaving the job. When it actually happened it was a bit of a shock for some of the team, especially some people who had never moved more than a couple of miles from where they had been born. It was a big move for me, as I would need to find work when we moved. Not so bad for my already retired husband.

The next couple of weeks were a whirlwind of boxes, charity shops, frantic phone calls, and also flat-hunting for our younger son who was still living with us at the time. Of course, we made it through to the other side, but it is not something I would wish to repeat too often. Locking the front door and posting the keys through the letterbox on the last day seemed so final. (The Estate Agents had already been given the spare set). The doubts started to creep in. But it was also a new start.

It proved to be a chance to try new things and make new friends. After the initial settling-in period, I did voluntary work until I could find paid employment. I was lucky to be able to work part-time, so had chance to join the local Writers Group. Seven years later the writing is still going strong, and I even self-published a novel in 2021. I have recently taken early retirement. My life has changed again, so I am waiting to find out what will come next.