About three years ago, after almost seven years of searching, my wife finally found a block of land that ticked all the boxes for a “dream home location”.
Quiet surrounds, big enough not to be overlooked, backing onto a view of water and affordable enough that we didn’t have to donate body parts. Two years ago we managed to buy it. Cue extremely protracted and convoluted dealings with banks in attempting to get them to come to the party. We needed them to play nicely so that we could build a house on our lovely block. I know, you’re thinking why not just get a caravan, or a tent… My days of living in a tent are long gone. In my opinion the definition of ‘slumming it’ is a three-star hotel. So no caravans or teepees. We needed a house. Anyway, fast forward almost a year and a half and we FINALLY got the approval to begin the build.
We had previously built with the building company we selected and looked forward to another seamless, easy and enjoyable experience. Ah well, sometime history doesn’t repeat itself. This time round has been fraught with communication problems and “issues”. So much so that I have had to restrain myself from launching into a litany of vindictive and, probably libellous, articles on here. I did actually write them and then, half way through, I would calm down, realise they were boring and banal and would press delete. All I can say now is “O lucky reader, be thankful for my editorial restraint” for now at the “almost” end of the process you will only get to read about the joy and wonder of putting the finishing touches to a dream home.
We took possession of the keys on Friday and spent the weekend pottering about on the land and in the house. There are realistically another four weeks worth of finishing work required. Things like flooring, cabinetry fit outs, alarm systems and then obviously moving furniture but that is the downhill stretch. It’s also the bit we are solely responsible for so we have control. That should be a good thing. I think. I hope?
Anyway, now is the time to revel in our good fortune. I stood today looking at the house and listening to the flapping of a bird’s wings in the blue sky above. Nature, undisturbed, alone in the silence of wing beats. As I looked up a lone Pelican sailed over the house and dipped a wing in what I hoped was a friendly hello. Far, far above was an even rarer sight. Con trails from an invisible and silent jet liner. For reasons I don’t fully understand, con trails are rarely seen in the Southern Hemisphere. I took it as a sign of good fortune (like a cookie but bigger). But, as I relaxed into my contentment, I also wondered if good fortune makes everyone feel the same way.
If you were born into riches do you perhaps miss out on some feelings in life? My wife and I were born into ‘working class’ families. Not poor in a Dickensian way but certainly not wealthy. As were most, if not all, our friends. We all have struggled and striven to make good lives and most, if not all, have achieved it. I have no doubt, my friends and family appreciate every second of where they find themselves now. As do I. I gazed at that bird flying high overhead and thought how blessed I was for having seen this day. I pondered how much fun I would have gazing out from my ridge line and writing. I reflected on how the places I have seen and journeys I have taken led me to here and now. And I smiled. Broadly.
I wonder do the likes of royalty or those born into great wealth appreciate their journeys? I really hope they do as those moments of realisation, those moments of looking at what you have, where you’ve come from, those moments of realising how incredibly fortunate you are, how kind life has been to you; those simple moments are some of the best in life.
A new house on a lazy Sunday, pelicans and con trails, sunshine and blue skies. That was one of those moments.
Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purpose, the detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media: