It’s not what I expected
moving house at sixty-five
And it seemed like such a good idea
to move while we’re still alive!

The thing is we’d been winding down, the kids had flown the nest
we thought that we deserved a break, enjoy a well-earned rest
Why bother with six bedrooms when two up, two down would do?
Three acres and a paddock?  Been there, got the T-shirt, too.

Why not a nice apartment with communal grounds and views
Which others will look after and you simply pay your dues?
Or perhaps a little cottage, in a village, near a shop
Where the pace of life is slower and folks take time to stop

They call it ‘sizing down’, you know and that made sense to us
‘De-cluttering’ was another phrase – get shot of all that dross.

So, that’s the theory, now the facts
Reality’s arrived
It’s not what I expected
Moving house at sixty-five

So, we found a smaller house, a very old one, too,
Within a short walk of the shop, in a village, with a view
But pretty soon we realised that there was work to do
Asbestos in the roofspace, damp and dry rot, too

While we’re doing that, we thought, we might as well arrange
For more accommodation – well, is that so very strange?
We had to go through planning, get an architect on board
Who naturally had his own ideas on how we should go forward

“Change the staircase, move the loo, put a room up in the loft
Change the windows, and the doors, you’ll save on fuel costs”
We said to him, “We’re sizing down!” He said: “You’ll need the space,
Remember you’re accustomed to a much, much larger place.”

Well, that made sense, so off we went on a lengthy rental spree
While builders knocked our new house down (and charged us VAT)

The money’s gone, we’ve spent the lot
We’re struggling to survive
It’s not what I expected
Moving house at sixty-five

It’s not the workers, nor the mess, nor the money that you spend
Nor the architects and planners that drive you round the bend
All of that you knew about, anticipated, too,
But what you couldn’t possibly know is the effect it has on you!

The stress, the silly arguments, what colour for the wall?
How will the cat get in, what flooring for the hall?
Where to put the bookcases, where to hang your hat?
Should we paint the window ledges eggshell, gloss or matt?

How to do the kitchen, whether wood or marble tops
Christiansen or Moben, with white or beigey drops?

Now we’re at the final stage
We’re in and still alive!
But, it’s not what I expected
Moving house at sixty-five

So, two years late, we’re in and everyone is being kind
In fact, we miss the builders, if not what they left behind
Now we are surrounded by all the things we own
there’s no storage space to put them and it doesn’t feel like home

Our whole life’s spread around us in crates and boxes, too
There’s clothes up in the attic and saucepans in the loo
Still, at last we’ve started sorting things with e-bay and freecycle
Yesterday we sold a table to a Polish man called Michael

It can get quite emotional rifling through the trunk
Saying fond farewells to all the things you thought were junk
Things you’ve lived with all your life, memories down the years
That present from a long lost aunt, those family souvenirs

Our little house is now as big as the one we had before
Gone are the proceeds from the sale with nothing left offshore!
We’re not getting any younger our resilience is weak
we’re less prepared to make mistakes, in truth, we’re past our peak

And so it takes a greater toll, the fun’s in short supply
What used to be a challenge becomes a chore as time goes by
Still, at the end of this long journey the load is getting lighter
and as order comes from chaos, the future’s looking brighter

Yesterday we called it ‘home’ (and that’s a major first)
the builders now are all outside so perhaps we’re past the worst!

No, it’s not what I expected
Moving house at sixty-five
But I’m glad we didn’t leave it
Til my seventieth arrived

November 2009