Some people make resolutions for each new year. Others try not to. I fall somewhat in the middle, tending to reflection on the previous year and thinking of hopes for the year to come.
Six years ago in February we moved to Marburg, loading all our earthly possessions into a truck and grinding for the first time up “the driveway.” It wasn’t yet the driveway from hell that it is now, but my mum who was driving my car did manage to stall it halfway up and had to be rescued. I didn’t even know how to drive a manual car at that time and was no help at all. Blithe Girl had simply fallen asleep in the back of the car from exhaustion. Now I tackle the driveway with vigour if not aplomb.
Last night, Mr Blithe and I sat on our steps overlooking the Marburg valley and had an evening cup of coffee in the slightly cooling air. When we moved here, the house didn’t have a view of the southern end of the valley. Tiny windows at the back of the house gave onto a lean-to laundry with a view. Now the valley and surrounding hills seem to leap into our living room.
Those six years ago, we came back early from our Christmas break to look for a house. Everywhere we searched was too expensive or awful or both. One day driving around Marburg, we spotted a road and went up it just for a look. At the top a magnificent fig tree guarded the view. We sat under its spreading branches and I nursed Merry Girl and thought how lovely a spot it was. We drove down into Marburg and the agent asked “Do you know where X Road is? I think there is a house there that you would really like although it has a dump of a kitchen.” And yes, it was the very road we had just visited for the first time. And we loved the house from the first minute even with the kitchen. Kitchens after all are fixable.
These holidays we took a short break with family and came back early to work on the extension. Mr Blithe is off to the United States in a few days for a work trip and we wanted to make the most of our time. We’re not officially “in residence” but the extension increasingly feels part of our house and not something tacked on. We’re hoping to have the final inspection on Mr Blithe’s return. He feels that he should be here for such a momentous occasion.
At the last midnight of 2008, the dark hills foregrounded the lights of Ipswich and fireworks bloomed silently along the horizon. We could see four different sets of fireworks and the sky was full of stars. In the time we’ve lived here, we haven’t been able to see the stars from the house at night and didn’t even know that the Ipswich fireworks would be visible. It was magical and peaceful and hopefully a sign of things to come.
2008 was for us the year of the house. My hope for 2009 is that it will be the year of living: in the house and doing new things; having time for friends and doing things on weekends; more time for gardening; new opportunities with work; finally finishing the book; having some time to write; and in the short term, cooler temperatures.
And for everyone, I wish a year full of hope and good things.