Apart from a niggling worry about leaving my native village after 54 years of living there, and moving 193 miles away to an area where I knew no one, the main concern exercising my mind throughout this process was my mother. Five and a half years earlier, after the death of my father and the break-up of my marriage, we had divided the house into two parts, she living downstairs and me upstairs and we had lived there harmoniously, together but separate, and continued to do so. Although I had told her of the plans that Richard and I were making as soon as we had formulated them some four years previously, I knew it would come as a big wrench to her when I left.
We thought of letting out my flat, but with me so far away that option seemed fraught with danger. It would have to be someone reliable, someone we knew even and no one presented themselves as potential tenants. We thought of her going into the home where her sister was living, but on her weekly visits she tried to imagine herself there and although it seemed a better option than letting the upstairs flat, she just wasn’t ready for that kind of life. Although 90 years of age and somewhat wobbly in the leg department, she had deteriorated very little. The main problem was a lack of confidence because she had always had someone ‘who belonged to her’ there to sort out problems and cope with her affairs. The one thing that she was always adamant about was that she never wanted to live in the same household as either my brothers or me. She had carved out for herself a nice routine after the death of my father, where for the first time in her life she did exactly as she wanted to do and she firmly believed that to join up with any of us would not only spoil our independent existence, but hers too!
There then occurred another of the coincidences that played such a big part in this episode of my life.