Today, my parents move from our family home, Ivy Cottage, in the little village of Lymm, to their new house in another little village, called Caldy, on the Wirral. I think the downsizing exercise that preceded the move was a bit traumatic given the Byzantine nature of my Dadâ€™s shed and the fact that theyâ€™ve been at Ivy Cottage for almost 20 years now.
Mum and Dad first bought Ivy Cottage when I was 16. When the six of us moved in (parents, Dawn, Nanna, dog and I) it was a tiny 200 year-old cottage in an apple orchard with a falling down barn next to it. The stories resulting from the renovations and extension that followed could be the subject of a book. Anyone who hung around the house for any length of time was enlisted. My sisterâ€™s boyfriend dug part of the foundations, my Grandfather did the bricklaying, my Mum did all the painting and my Dad would come home after working a full day and immediately start work on the house. My Nanna had to live in a caravan parked by the side of the house whilst the building work took place and I distinctly remember a Xmas morning when we came down to find that we didnâ€™t have a kitchen wall, just a big sheet of plastic hanging between us and the milkman.
Living there between the ages of 16 and 18 almost drove me (and, doubtless, my parents) crazy. The bus service to the nearest town only ran once every two hours (and then only if there was a â€˜Zâ€™ in the month) and the local pub was full of farmers for whom the introduction of a new draft beer was the highlight of their year. I remember a lot of teenage hissy fits. But when I got older and left home, it was a great place to go back to. Throughout my late teens, twenties and even into my thirties, Iâ€™d retreat to Ivy Cottage when I had that â€˜stop the world, I want to get offâ€™ feeling. I would eat and sleep properly and â€˜put my head back onâ€™ (as my Dad would call it) and then theyâ€™d send me off into the world again.
Now Mum and Dad have sold up and have moved closer to where their roots are. The Wirral is only a stoneâ€™s throw from Liverpool, where they both originally hail from (get my Dad drunk and heâ€™ll sing his Liverpool Collegiate school song for you). Theyâ€™ll be close to my Aunties, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents. I am told Caldy is where all the footballers live and even Paul McCartney has a home there. Iâ€™ve seen a picture of the view of the sea from their house and it looks lovely. Rob and I are going there at Xmas and I canâ€™t wait.
I doubt very much that it will upset me to spend Xmas in a new place. Ivy Cottage has some good memories, but the reason it was such a great place to go back to is the fact that my parents were there and that wonâ€™t change.Â Besides so far in my life I have never actually met a footballers wifeâ€¦