For MMoving home for many people is high on the list of traumatic experiences. I haven’t moved for over thirty years so cannot really remember the trauma, only the expectation of living in a better place, the excitement of something new.
Having said that I realise it isn’t actually altogether true.
I was on my year abroad in Spain – a traumatic move if ever there was one, and came back in May 1975 eagerly expecting to get engaged – it happened; to vote in the referendum so England could become part of Europe – it happened; and to live in my beloved Egerton Court, on the corner of Old Brompton Road and Harrington Road, for the rest of the summer, until it was time to go back to Sheffield.
Now that didn’t happen.
While I was away, my mother had discovered she was eligible for a very posh council flat in Elm Park Gardens, just off the Fulham road. A modern two bedroom flat with vast and pretty communal gardens in an elegant quiet area. No more climbing stairs to the fourth floor for her when the lift broke down. No more battling with mice and cockroaches from the restaurants below. No more leaky windows and shilling in the slot meters. She was in heaven.
But I had had a bedroom in the old flat. When I had left for Spain after Easter I had left everything more or less tidy in my room. But my table top was full, my cupboards were unsorted and the decor was just as I liked it.
On my return I was met at the airport and taken by cab to the new flat. It was beautiful. But where were my things? Where was I to sleep? What was I to do? Fear and panic crept in, but my mother, who had no personal attachment to possessions at all, had utterly respected mine to mine (attachment to my things) and she took me down to the vast lockable cages in the basement of the new flat. “Look, ” she said, majestically waving her arm in the general direction of these lockers. “All you left behind is here. All packed by Pickford. I told them to pack EVERYTHING, even if it looked like rubbish.”
What could I say but thank you?
And yes. It was all there. But it took me months to retrieve it, carrier bag by carrier bag. In the meantime I slept in the sofa, and tried to enjoy the summer in London
The referendum was successful, my engagement less so; we had a disengagement party after three weeks and then went to Italy together on a pilgrimage to San Damiano, near Piacenza. I went back to Sheffield for my final year.
Yet moving from Egerton Court was a never forgotten event. I still go past very wistfully, looking up at my fourth floor windows, remembering the erratic lift made briefly famous in Polanski’s film Repulsion, remembering the Beatles who had friends on the first floor and trying to remember Pink Floyd who actually lived there for a while too.
There aren’t many things I regret, but moving from there is one of them!