The House by the Sea

Reader, we moved here.

After three months of senseless commuting and a growing sense of estrangement from a city that I worked in yet never truly saw, we moved here. It wasn’t the perfect time, but it may have been the perfect place, so we did something terribly reckless and horribly mature, and put down a deposit on a place we hoped we might one day afford. We will call it an anniversary present.

It was four years since words and feelings overflowed and chaos became our element. And instead of sitting in a graveyard with a hundred tea lights burning, or lying on a bridge at 4am and laughing into a star-filled sky, we were house hunting. Only to get a taste for the area, mind. Only to know what we could roughly expect to afford, someday in the future.

But there was something about the promise of summer, the tangle of musicians and skaters and walkers on Madeira Drive as we strolled Eastward along the seafront, the gradual slope meeting Marine Drive and the handsome white townhouses that rose beyond it. Something about the blue plaque proclaiming musical heritage, the bluer sea glinting across the way, strewn with white sails.

And that was before we saw the imposing yet cozy regency front room with its marble-fronted fireplace and French doors opening on a secret sunken courtyard. Before we were shown the key to six hectares of gated communal land, complete with a tunnel to the beach. It all spoke of decorous days gone by, and a lifestyle beyond our means. Yet somehow it was only just beyond our means…

We walked back along the beach and found a spot to indulge in our one concession to anniversary romance – a luxury picnic collected from Carluccio’s, complete with antipasti, focaccia, strawberry tarts and red wine (which we drank straight from the bottle). There was something surreally decadent about it all. Something suddenly grown-up and yet terribly devil-may-care.

“We’re going to go for it, aren’t we?” Sam said.

And he was right.

Of course, life being as it is, the moving process has been far from straightforward, but when all is said and done, we have a home together once more.

A home with shelves crying out to unite our joint libraries and a courtyard awaiting lazy espresso and acoustic guitar, and an honest-to-god secret tunnel to the beach.


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