Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Looking Back

Over my shoulder, I can see that look in your eye.

My apologies, chose not to resist that one.

We have lived somewhat of a nomadic existence since my wife died. First living with my parents, then experimenting co-habiting with my sister, briefly back to my folks, then into rented accommodation while the house we now call home was built.

Home is the important word in that sentence, as while we have always been together, and been each others’ home, we have not had that 100% comfort of living in a place we did not expect to leave, even in the relative short-term.

Everywhere has been a stop-gap, a step along the way, somewhere that was fit for purpose, but only in the shorter term.

This place may have also headed that way dependant on many things. Cost being one of those, and also place. As while we have only physically moved around 20 miles from our martial home, we are a million miles away in terms of environment, feel and neighbourhood.

But now, it looks, and certainly feels like we are not going anywhere fast.

I am not saying we will never move, as we can not say what tomorrow will bring, but this certainly feels like our place now.

And to that end we need to put more marks on it. Make it say it is ours.

We have been here since July last year, so nine months, but it has still been taking shape in that time, and there are still tiny snagging jobs to do. However since Christmas it really has been ‘finished’.

All the rooms have worked out really well, better than anticipated in many cases, and have our overall stamp on them.

We have a great big chair-and-a-half in the living room, which my son and I ward others away from. His room has perfectly fitting furniture, a cool book shelf, a space theme and various different bed spreads that turn it from Ben 10, to a Walsall fan’s room.

The garden is brilliant too, we have a trampoline, a climbing frame, vegetable patch – presently growing potatoes and strawberries – a barbecue, and some garden furniture.

One of our close friends, the one we went to London to see, brought Max a cherry tree when he was born, and that has safely been transported from our old home, via its temporary custodians, my parents.

And it is those types of touches we now need to make.

I have recently bought some artwork, to supplement the stuff I got for my 30th, and we also had some pieces from our first home. Samantha’s own creations amongst them.

And I am considering a commission for an idea I had, but just need to run the numbers a few times in my head.

Yesterday I got a rug, and I am on the look out for a nice wall clock, and something else to hang on the wall, other than paintings, prints or pictures.

Ideas most welcome. I have looked at cuckoo clocks, moose heads and some other sculptures, but have yet to be convinced.

But the real point to this post is my presentation of my own pictures.

Since Samantha died I have hauled and backed up as many images as I could get hold of, without assembling them into any order. Others have given me pictures they had taken, nice ones that they thought I would like, especially to show Max as he grows up.

I did consider an acrylic montage of Sammy pictures, but dropped that idea as being a bit of a trashy tribute, one that would quickly age.

Instead, and inspired by a post over at Modern Single Momma, who herself had been accidentally prompted from random sources, I put together and ordered a mosaic, that work out really well, incredibly well, they sent two in error, so the second will be up at my sister’s.

The mosaic is 36 photos, including all of my close family, and some of our great friends. There are a couple of shots of the house build, and a couple of scenery shots of places important to us.

Not so trashy, in my opinion.

Now I am putting together a, sort of, hall of fame gallery, along my landing, and stretching into my bedroom.

I think it will be nice to have a set of changeable photos upstairs, so not to be in the faces of everyone that visits us, just those welcome enough to get permission to go up a floor.

And I love our landing, it is one of the favourite parts of our home, and I am often brought to raise the corners of my mouth as I go to it, so will now perhaps have an even broader beam.

So, it was time to filter through all my photos, and make my initial choices. Not easy. But once the gallery exists I can remove, replace and swap as necessary.

I have bought six frames, which each hold three 5” x 7” traditional photos, so I need SEVERAL 18 images by my reckoning.

And the image below has to be one of them.

I believe this is the last shot I have of Samantha, or the last quality one at least.

This was taken the day before she died, and she was so, so happy.

You can see it.

This image always makes me smile, pained a little, as always, but I CAN NOT look at that image and be glum.


Being a fun shot, it is also one that my boy definitely relates to, for reasons a short further scroll will uncover.

I hope this idea flies like all my others seem to have done, and that it further puts an Ian and Max shaped stamp on the place.



Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

It sounds like you are really making the place your own and I love all the personal touches you are adding! Good for you! Remember, the only thing that really makes it home is that YOU guys are there :)

Liz@Violet Posy said...

I have a gallery wall in my lounge of all our loved ones and it never fails to make me happy when I see it. I hope you enjoy yours as much.

That picture of Samantha is lovely, she just looks so happy, Max looks just like her :)

More than Just a Mother said...

I love those photos - wow that cow is big!
Don't be in a rush to add special touches to your house. These things are built up by time, by accident almost. One day you just look around and realise you've created traditions and heirlooms without even trying. The rogue's gallery sounds great :)

Maternal Tales said...

Sounds like your house is coming along beautifully. I'm sure Samantha would approve. And yes, that cow is HUGE!! Great photos.

Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? said...

The house sounds great, you've done a great job.

Lovely photos ... Max will really appreciate them as he grows.

Photos are something that I hold dear, each one a link to the past.

Canadian Bald Guy said...

First off... Mike & the Mechanics?? Holy crap...haven't heard these guys in years. Good performance, too. Nice song.

Second, it's great that you're finally able to call where you live home now. That's so important.

I'm actually looking around my small city for a new place to live. I bought a small home with my ex-wife five years ago and now, with the economy the way it is, I think it's just time for me to start over...someplace that I can truly call my home.

T said...

Ok, I cried.

First of all, I LOVE how you documented the building of your home. That is awesome!

Secondly, gorgeous garden and rug. I love color myself!

And that photo... what a beaming happy wife! Then Max! Oh, I couldn't help but tear up.

Thank you for sharing this with us. What a wonderful tribute to the past and the future.

Cjengo said...

I found your blog through Matt's. I will be sure to catch up on your posts. So far you soung like an amazing person with incredible strength

Lola said...

Your home sounds wonderful to me, and I love the milking photos.

Yummy Mammy said...

That cow is HUGE!!!!

It's hard making a home and getting everything just right and how you like it. And I've moved loads but current house is standing the test of time (for now)

Photos are gorgeous xx

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Your house is beautiful. I love the kitchen. What matters most is that you are comfortable there and have the things that matter most like your son. And the priceless photos you cherish.
It takes time to get the right feel of a place but it gets there in the end.

SciFi Dad said...

The mosaic sounds like a really cool idea.

As for other suggestions for wall decorating, I'll leave that to people who didn't keep a velvet Led Zeppelin poster up until well into their 20s.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Home is definitely where your heart is. You have a big one.

CJ xx

Badass Geek said...

Great ideas.

We move around too much to decorate, so I don't really have any suggestions.

Not a soccer mom said...

I think it is great that you are putting so much thought into making your home personal. and making it not just your taste but also Max's taste.
It is also so sweet to put pictures of your wife and some more recent shots together. The past, present, and the future...
I cant wait to see more of your artwork
(your wife is/was beautiful- I see her in your son)

dadshouse said...

That's awesome. I moved all over the place as an adult, and am finally settled into one place where I am single parenting my two kids. It took us a while to get our own stamp on things, but we did so by framing my kids artwork and putting up photos. Feels like home.

MarmiteToasty said...

Ive just stumbled through the door of your blob...... beautiful.... truely beautiful....

I will be back with a cuppa tea and a good read....


Zoeyjane said...

I'm pretty sure you're meant to be an interior decorator - just in case you're still floundering on that whole, "what am I going to be, when I grow up?" scenario.

I crave a place to call home, that isn't an apartment I know we'll soon outgrow (as if we're not already too big for its smallness).

Mostly, I just wanted to say that I love those photos, but you know, they kind of belong in the bath, above the toilet, right?

Single Parent Dad said...

Petra - I know, and thank you. It is the touches that are us.

Liz - In your lounge? No, some of my family would do my head in if I had to stare at them all night!

MTJAM - Big. I agree, but photos need to be done, and rush, I've been here since July 08!

Maternal Tales - Give the cow a break, she'll have just given birth. ;-)

Laura - That they are.

Canadian Bald Guy - You go for it.

T - Sos. And no worries.

Cjengo - Good. I am glad that you have found it, and thanks for your kind words.

Lola - I like it.

Yummy Mammy - It takes time doesn't it? And is ever evolving. But this needed doing.

Blogging Mama Andrea - Thanks. We were happy in our last place, but it was a bit of a box, this just feels right.

SciFi Dad - It is, although my son did ask why all the photos were not of him, and *cough* I have framed print of Danger Mouse on my landing, so you're probably better placed.

CJ - As do you.

Badass- Thanks.

Not a soccer mom - I look forward to sharing it with you.

Dadshouse - Framing Max's stuff is a great idea, I have a piece in his room, our first drawing together, but apart from the fridge all his other works are boxed up.

MarmiteToasty - One sugar please.

Zoeyjane - You reckon? Sweet. But one question, where would I then put my signed photo of Britney?

Bee and Rose said...

A lovely, lovely post, SPD!

Samantha's photo (which is fantasti!) clearly shows the joy she was feeling:) And Max...he is just the bee's knees! Adorable, as always!

We have a family photo gallery in our main hall with photos scattered around the house. They are, by far, my favorite pieces of decor. I've also had my kids paint on canvas and hung them. Again, favorites!

I actually stopped the other day for a moment and realized that every piece in our home has a story behind it. That made me very happy indeed:)

Jo Beaufoix said...

Don't know how I missed this one but you made me cry. I love that you've made such a beautiful home and are filling it with your whole family. Samantha had a wicked smile and it's brilliant that you two will always be able to see her looking so happy. That picture of Max with the same look of just pure glee is gorgeous and I bet that one of Sam doing the same thing (albeit with a real cow) makes Max smile too.

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