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I have recently returned to work after being signed off sick for three months. During that time I spent many hours in our flat on my own. It is lucky that I love our flat and it is one of the favourite things in my life.
Mr H and I bought our place in the lovely Medway town of Rochester three months before we tied the knot. We had previously lived in a shabby rented flat in Chalk Farm. We had loved living in Chalk Farm and leaving London was quite a wrench. However, moving to Rochester was one of the best things we have ever done.
|Beautiful Rochester cathedral – the second oldest Cathedral in the country.|
There are many reasons that I love our flat. I know that is not the best decorated place in the world. I am sure that Laurence Llewelyn Bowen would walk into our flat and be traumatised by our mis-matching furniture. But I don’t care because every item in our flat has great meaning to Mr H and I. So let me share some of the selected highlights of our humble abode:
The 1970s TV Cabinet
This cabinet used to live in the family room of my childhood home. It used to hold a tiny TV, a huge record player and an eclectic collection of vinyl records. When Mummy S and Daddy S held dinner parties I used to lock myself in the family room and put on my favourite records. One of these was the soundtrack to “Flash Gordon” and the other was the soundtrack to “Grease”. I used to turn up the volume and belt out “Hopelessly Devoted”. I am sure that my singing was a highlight of the parental’s dinner party.
The fridge art gallery
Our fridge is covered with the art work and baby pictures of my nieces and nephew. It also features some baby pictures of Mr H. One photo shows him as a cute and slightly chubby baby in his cot with Panda (more about Panda later) and the other is a photo of Mr H on his fourth birthday with a herd of dinosaurs before him.
My Grampy M was an engineering draughtsman and an amazing painter. He loved painting photos he had taken when on holiday with Nanny M. One of these paintings is hanging in our spare room. It is a painting of a cafe scene from Greece and if you look carefully you can see that Nanny M is one of the ladies standing in front of the cafe. Not only is it a painting that I love but it also reminds me of my lovely Grampy M and how talented he was.
Mr H likes to write songs and sing. The tool of his trade is his beloved guitar. I now believe that this guitar is an extension of Mr H and that they are symbiotically linked. When Mr H is stressed the guitar remains silent and echoes Mr H’s unease. But when Mr H is happy and relaxed, the guitar purrs with happiness when it is played.
My favourite evenings out are when I go and watch Mr H play a gig. He seems so content when he is playing his songs on his guitar. He is in his own world and nothing can touch him. It makes me so proud and makes me love him even more than I do already. Plus, his guitar has flowers engraved on it – so it is pretty!
We are lucky enough to have some very gifted musical friends. One of these is our lovely friend Matt, who is lead singer of the very talented The Lucky Strikes. Matt played Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on Mr H’s guitar as I walked down the aisle on our wedding day. It was beautiful and I remember that wonderful day when I look at Mr H’s guitar.
|Mr H’s guitar on our wedding day; being played by the very talented Matt. (Photo by Tara Lee)|
Panda holds the position of Highlord Commander in our flat. Our home would not be the same without him!
Panda has been with Mr H since the day that he was born. However, when I started going out with Mr H, poor Panda was kept in a wardrobe. Not a suitable habitat for a bear of Panda’s calibre! He now lives on the book shelf in our spare bedroom and is Lord of all he surveys.
|Everybody loves Panda!|
Panda is a little like Dr Who; he has had many regenerations. When baby Mr H was asleep, Mummy H used to take Panda and make him new fur. So when baby Mr H woke up, Panda would be all sparkly and new on the outside but it would still be the same Panda on the inside. As we all know, it’s what’s inside that counts.
Panda has always been a large part of Mr H’s life. He used to accompany Mr H and his family on all their holidays. He especially loved trips on the Norfolk Broads because he was presented with a new knitted outfit that matched the colours of their hired boat.
So when Mr H and Panda turned the grand old age of 30 it seemed fitting to throw Panda a birthday party. We ate Party Rings and jelly and ice cream and Panda wore a special party hat. He struggled when he had to blow out the candles but apart from that the party was a great success!