Today I say goodbye to the place I have called home for nearly 14 years.
In 2003 we moved into this house. Among other things, it has seen me through primary school, high school, university, losing our wonderful Chocolate Labrador; Fudge, and entering the big ole world of work.
Moving took a lot of adjusting. For one thing, I’d only ever been on a school bus once or twice, now I’d be taking one every day of primary school. Boys were another adjustment. I’d been to an all-girls school in Glasgow – I was not prepared to deal with boys and their teasing or hair pulling or smell. Some things you just never fully adapt to.
As I grew older, I remember being so ready to leave the tiny town and explore pastures new. But the night before I left for uni I was in floods of tears; the move was incredibly daunting. 150 miles away from my family, no friends going with me. I was comforted with Mamma Mia and popcorn, and the promise of being brought back home once my stuff was moved into halls. After flitting my gear from Oban to Edinburgh the following day, my parents snuck out without saying goodbye to make sure I didn’t jump in the car with them. Soon after, they were the ones asking me when I’d next be home, while I was busy galavanting and studying (yes, really, I did study…sometimes).
Maya Angelou said something that fits my relationship with this house, and Oban, perfectly:
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
I’ve grown up here; played dress up, forged friendships, learned scripts, practiced dances, sprained ankles falling down rabbit holes (not some of my finest moments) and mended broken hearts.
The sea views and home comforts have seen me through many tear fests and giggle fits, sleepovers and all nighters.
From wearing bridesmaids dresses and parading up and down the stairs to hiding in the Tiggy-Winkle cupboard (aptly named after the Beatrix Potter paper that adorned the walls) playing Sardines; I have so many wonderful memories.
I’m still too scared to walk up the stairs to bed in the dark and I will always find that attic creepy as hell. Too many badly lit corners and sloping ceilings and cobwebs. Perfect hiding place for monsters and baddies from storybooks. I have done my best to avoid spending time at there at all costs. Not today, Satan, not today.
Every time my chimney threw down stones in stormy weather I’d get the fright of my life, even when I remembered beforehand that it was bound to happen.
The wee nook in my bedroom window with my beanbag saw many books devoured.
The cupboard by the fireplace hoarded treasures and keepsakes of milestones gone by; from my signed leavers Park Primary polo shirt to painted pottery to photographs of musicals I’ve been in.
I mended my broken heart from within that bedroom. My pillow soaked up so many tears and it was cocooned in that duvet that I wrote my frustrations and hurt and anguish away. I overcame loneliness and hurt and loss of important friendships in that room. Those four walls were the safest of havens in some of my darkest moments.
Now empty, the den holds some wonderful memories too. Phone calls with Cal, Grease singalongs and painting the walls with colours that definitely didn’t match the curtains or carpets.
The front door handle that always came flying out if you didn’t turn it the right way provided lots of entertainment. I always laughed watching others do it and seeing their faces contort in horror, thinking they’d broken our door and locked us in. I still did it myself, even this morning as I was filling up the car.
I’ll especially miss the kitchen. That hob though. And that oven produced some of my finest baking over the years. The corner by the cook book and CD player was a particular favourite of mine. I would thumb through one of the many Jamie Olivers or occasionally Nigella’s latest book, belting out Nina Simone or Harry Connick Jr. Latterly Adele and Elbow made the playlist too.
Takeaways and late nights singing and making memories in the conservatory. Camping in the garden that one time. Naming the back road Sweetie Lane because it came out at the Old Fashioned Sweet shop – I was definitely one of their best (by which I mean most frequent) customers. Managing to sleep 9 people in the house at once.
This house has been the common ground for so many memories, so much happiness and personal peace.
I am truly sad to be closing this front door for the final time.
However, I’m also incredibly excited to not have to travel for 5 hours for snuggles with my dog. I’ll just have to walk down the hill and she’ll be there for walks and naps. (Having my parents closer will be great too, obvs.)
My mum’s family are still in Oban. I will always have ties to this wonderful town. The family I’ve made here, too, from Spotlight and school and other places are just as much a reason to return.
I can’t let go of the sea. I’m a west coaster at heart. I will forever yearn to be by it, be seduced by the serenity of it and miss it massively when I’m away.
It won’t be long before I’m back visiting, but this new chapter is itching to be lived out and I’m ready to see what the future holds for the King family in Edinburgh. New city, new adventure.
Can you believe the three of them copied me, upped sticks and moved to my city? I am a trendsetter, evidently.
No matter where I am in the world, part of me will forever be tied to this little coastal town and I will continue to miss it terribly when I’m not here – pesky seagulls and all.
Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave,
and grow old waiting to get back to.
– John Ed Pearce