BTW....I found out that this house was built in 1750 and the original tenants for some time were a family of bakers. There's a weird alcove in one of the walls and it turns out it used to be a baker's oven. Nice.
There's nothing quite as strange as spending the night in a new house. It's almost as if you and the house are in a sort of dance trying to figure out who is the leader, who dances the tango better or, in my case, who has the dodgy back. The creaks aren't familiar. The smell of the house is like meeting a perfumed stranger on the train. Their perfume is exotic and lovely but overwhelming in its lack of familiarity.
I pulled out my favorite stuffed dog tonight. The one I got under the Christmas tree when I was four and who has, since then, made the trips to college, New York, Los Angeles and, now, England. I realized that tonight is the first night in years that I haven't spend the night with another living being in my house. True, I have neighbors across the way (about 25 feet) and next door, but in the house technically I am alone. And that is a very bizarre feeling. Unsettling even. So while this stuffed dog is no Otis, he will, for the time being, do the trick. It's about comfort, familiarity at its most basic level.
Finally today the adventure I started on begins. In some ways the excitement of the move has been tempered with the reality now of 30 days in England - I moved in today, March 5th, exactly 4 weeks to the day that I arrived. And during that time I've gotten a different view of England than I expected. Moldy, dirty cottages that should be sparking and brilliant, hours spent looking for the perfect house to find most of them are not well kept and that heating in general, not just central heating, is in many ways a luxury here. But at the same time I've learned to love sunny days again, because after a couple days of enjoying the rain the sun peeking through is a present instead of monotony.
I've also learned that sheep are fascinating creatures. From my room at my aunt and uncle's house you could see the pasture and I found myself watching them for ages. There's something incredibly intriguing about them. Cows are fine, birds have their charm but there's something about sheep that's mesmerizing. Unexpected and fascinating.
I haven't been writing because there hasn't been much to write about. The thrilling excitement of dealing with the complications of setting up an international bank account or spending hours on the Internet looking at various decrepit cottages really didn't seem to inspire much imparted introspection. But now, in a cottage overlooking a river, in a village full of it seems extremely friendly locals, with a ruin of a castle with a moat in the center, with my trusty stuffed dog at my side and much to look forward to, now, again, it seems I am motivated to write. And, I hope, there will be much to write about.