Exciting seeing as our present pad has a postage stamp garden and should you stumble you’ll probably be at the other side in a shot.
The solicitors are working hard and we’ve received the survey report which mentions a few things that will need immediate attention but nothing too drastic.
I want a brand new kitchen and to rip out the downstairs bathroom and I know we’re going to have many a discussion on this.
Oh the fun that lies ahead!
However, we can just move in and live their quite happily but I have never had my very own brand new kitchen. In fact in 2003 I got really really close when we were renovating our house after a fire two years earlier.
It was 8th March 2001. I remember it well as it’s International Woman’s Day and a festa in Italy celebrated with your female friends. In fact I was shopping in Rovereto with Alessia and we were happily chatting about our plans for that evening.
The children were at school and would go to the hotel straight after for merenda, the Italian afternoon tea. So I had time to browse the new spring collections.
I wasn’t paying full attention when Ale answered her phone as I was mesmerised with a fantastic skirt that was sooo me. I didn’t even really notice the worried look on her face, in fact it was the first time since my return from the UK that I actually felt I was starting to relax. Times were tough but I kept reminding myself the children were my focus here.
‘We’ve got to go back’ Alessia said smiling, ‘My mum was on the phone and seems there’s a problem at home’
‘Oh? What’s up?’
‘Seems there’s a fire at your house and the fire brigade are already there, but mum said the children are both fine.’
‘Oh My God!’ ‘My house is on fire?’
The 25 minute journey up the mountain seemed interminable, the pair of us questioning what could possibly be the cause.
As we passed the viewpoint at Serrada we saw a plume of smoke reaching up into the sky.
‘Wow, that looks like a big fire.’
I was nervous and I kept reminding myself that the kids were ok. Alessia dropped me off as close to the house as she could and I pushed my way through the crowds of people standing looking at tomorrow’s news.
The flames were licking the roof. The windows had exploded and the blackest smoke was pouring out of them. You could hear the wooden beams crack and split, hissing as the fire tore through them.
‘That’ll sort the woodworm out!’ I heard myself think to myself. I chastised myself for being so frivolous in such a dramatic moment.
Enrico was standing on the pavement with Danielle watching the fire brigade as they struggled to reach the flames due to our house being in an awkward position. He carried his usual contempt in his eyes that he held just for me and for the umpteenth time I felt like a piece of shit.
I sought out the children and ran to them. Megan was babbling so quickly her words were getting caught up and Thomas was so sweetly trying to be the man of the situation. He would be 15 in a couple of weeks.
Megan had been in the house with her school friend Francecsca, they had been watching cartoons and eating biscuits. They had noticed the smoke creeping down the stairs central to the open plan living space. They had tried hiding in the downstairs bedroom at the back of the house with the door shut but Meg had realised she ought to tell someone so closing Francesca back in the room she ran out of the house and down to the hotel where she rasied the alarm. Her uncle had ran back up and got Francesca.
The following day we went to verify the damage.
The smell of a house fire is strong, acrid and sticky. You can smell it still in your hair after a shower, on your clothes and on your skin and every saved object will carry the smell forever.
Black is everywhere, black soot on the furnishings, black water marks running down the walls from the hoses. Black the mark where ashes had fallen on my prized red leather jacket and burnt holes in it.
There was a hole in the lounge ceiling and looking through it you could see the blue sky through the burnt roof in the bedroom above.
The stairs were still in place and safe and an upstairs inspection showed the roof had gone. Everything that had been in the main bedroom had simply disappeared in ashes up in the sky. My book collection, my papirus from Egypt, my treasured bedcover, my clothes. Megan’s room was gone too, her clothes, toys, books, her school bag with homework! Everything gone. Her cuddly toys, her dolls and all of her childhood memories. Gone.
Basically if the flames hadn’t got to it, the water had and our home as we knew it was no more. Miraculously I found our family photos still intact, they stank of smoke and when I go through them every now and again they still hold a whiff of house fire smell.
Quite apt a fire at this point in my life, destroying everything we had worked for over the years. Was this a warning from the Gods to Enrico and I? If so what were they trying to say?
If nothing else, this was the first chapter of the total destruction of our relationship.