I wrote yesterday about the urge to clear up the garden. Needless to say, the nesting instinct did not stop there. By the end of Saturday, I was physically exhausted because I could not stop myself clearing and tidying and rearranging the whole house. It was not just an instinctive thing, it was the practicality of fitting another adult in the house, one who has not lived here fully for a couple of years at that.
There is no doubt that the uni student is grateful he has a home to come to, that he was able to decide quickly that he wanted to come home and that his parents were happy and able to collect him. We were able to be so last minute, simply because he is living at university merely miles from our home.
The logistics are not all that simple though, we never did get around to extending the tiny bedroom that the now not tiny human occupies when he is here. And in a couple of years living away from home, the belongings have extended beyond the capacity of his genuinely small room.
That combined with the fact that we now have four adults living in one house and there is still work being done and courses being studied, conference calls are happening all over the house, all through the day.
After a fair amount of furniture shifting we have created four work stations in four different rooms and most of them have a door and some privacy.
It was another exercise that helped us appreciate what we do have. We have enough space for us to live comfortably for the foreseeable future. And there is always something refreshing about moving furniture around and seeing rooms in a new way. Maybe we’ll be doing this every month or so?
I do love having people here to stay or for a day. This was a non-hosting weekend, but it gave me some time to think about the differences between a houseful of guests and one without.
I do make more of an effort with the physical environment when visitors come. So, yep, I clean if you visit, not so much if you don’t. This became a bit of a joke when the children were very small and I would ask people over for coffee explaining that nothing else would motivate me to get the vacuum cleaner out.
My house is not huge, but it’s not tiny. Having people here to stay or even just for the day is an exercise in re-enacting A Squash and A Squeeze by Julia Donaldson, one of our favourite children’s books. Well one of mine. I early on recognised the joy of cramming lots of people into a house and then the realisation when everyone leaves that there is plenty of space really.
Over the years, having the aim of inviting people over has led to certain decisions in arranging the house. A small extension now houses a large dining table. We replaced two chairs with another sofa in the sitting room, as that gave a bit more space for people to squish in. For ages there was no coffee table, because playing room for children was much more important. There is a variety of spare beds stashed throughout the house. The garden was changed to add in sofas and a few extra seats, recognising that our garden is a place for people much more than plants really.
I enjoy the challenge of catering for groups and am rarely happier than when the house is full at breakfast time. All of which makes me think I need to plan in some weekends hosting folks. Off to the diary I head.