Monday, May 29, 2006


Diary extract from 27.5.05
Cardiff, UK

9.30 am and I am here in the empty, silent house, waiting for the solicitor’s call.

I have just taken a photo of Giley’s rose and hopefully that will help me leave it.

As my friend Jane says, it is all about “letting go”. My mother was very good at this; I am not. Yet we all have to “let go” in the end, don’t we?

I was thinking the other day that what I am doing is letting go not only of the house, but of Cardiff. The city drives me mad at times, but, wherever you live permanently, you know how it works. Now I am letting go of my parameters of safety and familiarity. However well you know a place from numerous visits, it is not the same as living there and so, even with the friends and support I know I will have there, this is partially a leap into the unknown and unfamiliar. I am sure that the familiarity and security will come, but it will take time.

Partly I am writing this now because if I stop writing and sit here thinking I will cry again! I am perfectly all right in the apartment, because it is a stage on my way to a new life and there I am looking to the future. But here I am, inevitably, looking back. In this house I have loved, lost love, pined, laughed, been afraid and grieved. I have hidden from creditors in it and I have also sorted myself out – emotionally and financially – in it. And in this house I took the momentous decision that I cannot hang on to it any more and that, at 55, I shall follow my “sogno d’Italia”.

Yesterday, after the study had been emptied, I sat in its hollowness and remembered when it was 2 small rooms rather than 1 large one, and the larger of these was Mum’s room. I again cried my eyes out. I looked out at my ash tree, the leaves of which seemed to salute me for the last time and I thought, “How strange not to see this view again”. It was such a pretty little house when I moved in so long ago. I didn’t think I’d be able to hold on to it for a year, let alone 21 years! All gone now….

Friends will not “let go”. I think some of them are worse at it than even I am! It is as if everyone wants to hold on now that I am leaving. Yet many people don’t bother the rest of the time. Of course, my good friends always help if asked – but it is hard to ask when you are on your own – and they don’t say routinely, “How about a change of scene tonight?” or “Come and have a cup of tea”. This is partly to do with busy lives again, but it is also to do with the fact that there are very few people who have lived on their own for any decent amount of time – or who even spend 24 hours completely on their own.

How many times have I looked out at that ash tree and felt aching loneliness? I am good at being on my own and happy in my own company with a book but what people don't understand is that it would be nice to have a choice in the matter!

Come on, solicitor! I want to get out of here. It is not good for me to be hanging around in this shell. For the house is only a shell, just as our bodies are. “Moving is grieving”. I have concluded it is more like a kind of death.

On Wednesday night, Sue and Liz came to view my “exec-pad” and then we had a meal in “La Tasca” (below the apartment). Nice to have the company. They said I was being brave and that they are impressed at the way I’ve organised the whole thing! (I must admit, I’m quite impressed by me myself!) It felt very odd not to be going back to Grangetown with them afterwards.

12.45 Have to break off as Anita has arrived with an armful of cleaning materials and screwdrivers!

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