The house where I grew up, where my family has lived for 47 years is about to go on the market. It’s where my sister and I fought over a bright orange Dansette, to play our first LPs ; Cat Stevens (me) or Led Zepplin (Nicks). It’s where we swotted for our O and A levels and where I set out on my bike to do three paper rounds a day so I could keep a pony. It’s where my University mates camped out while we toured Irish clubs to earn our Equity cards and where my Mum lavished love on an acre of garden, while my Dad sat on his mower proudly grooming the paddock so it looked like Lord’s cricket pitch.
It sits in a tiny hamlet in Leicestershire. My Dad worked for Co-Op Farms as did everyone in the village. We walked up to the diary to get our milk and had free rein to build dens, fall in ponds and get stuck up trees. It was, as my sister has often said, an Enid Blyton childhood. Time rolls on – our little paddock, empty of ponies is now a wildlife garden, the surrounding farmland is now owned by the Wellcome Trust but some things never change – My Mum’s original sixties English Rose kitchen is still in place.
Our Dad moved out of the house four years ago to live nearer my sister. Since then we have had a series of tenants who have all loved living there. It’s a real wrench to let it go. It’s very strange to think someone else will be sitting under the maturing chestnut trees planted by my Dad when my daughter was born 26 years ago but it’s time to let it go and be enjoyed by another family. There’s an opportunity to extend the house and create an outstanding country home or to enjoy the 18th century cottage which was so very perfect for our family of four.