Getting ready for Christmas I looked over to the house across the road: lights on, curtains open – revealing a scene of mum and children dressed for a party and dancing to decorate their own Christmas tree. But do you know, it did not feel right because that mum and those children are not the family we had got to know at number 50 over the previous eight years. That family had become part of number 50 – number 50 part of them.
We will get to know the newcomers, as will the house. That row of houses dates back to the 1880s and so number 50 has been home to quite a number of families. In our 37 years at number 29 we have seen six come and go. Strangely our house has seen far fewer incumbents: two generations of one family from 1907 to 1984, and then us. The relationship between our flesh and blood, body and souls and the bricks and mortar, garden and park, is strong.
And then I read that David Olusoga has been awarded the President’s Medal by the British Academy Historian David Olusoga awarded President’s Medal | Awards and prizes | The Guardian
And remembered that he has explored the stories of four houses is a series of television documentaries. A House Through Time by David Olusoga - 9781529037241 - Pan Macmillan
Ours are ordinary houses, ordinary homes of ordinary people – but the attraction and importance of the stories is at least as rich.
The other dimension which occurs to me is how we take our feeling of home from place to place over time. So I began with 34 Woodland Crescent – and that remained one version of home until the death of mum 1992. But I was away and investing feelings in a student hostel, flats, hospital accommodation, and then six other places before this family settled and grew in number 29.
Houses live through their people. People live through their homes. Portable Property?
Just a thought at Christmas – and there will be other thoughts of Christmases.