Our Homes Are Our Castles.

By alison May 2, 2007 19 Comments 4 Min Read

Stresss

And mine needs a new moat.

Home is the place we retreat to. Walls are lined with love ready to cocoon us and always there is a door to close on the ugliness of the world outside.  It is a place where we  are safe, loved and protected by the very act of creating a sanctuary for our soul.
For most of  us,  that security is something we take for granted. Something we hold dear, deep inside and forget to acknowledge until our little brick worlds are threatened by forces stronger than any amount of love or DIY can conquer.

This morning I was lying snuggled up in more quilts than are really necessary for a warm May morning. Busy watching the bright sun paint lacy petticoats on my ceiling, worrying about blackbirds and thanking the Lord that Finley had  obviously  decided to have a lie in. I was calm. Quietly grateful. And Ok. I was Ok.
And then the house shook with the force of a mans fist.

I lay still. Scared. This was no ordinary knock.  No gentle morning delivery from Postman Steven or neighbourly call from a friend. No. There was aggression in every bang. Demanding, threatening and liable to force the glass panelled door off its precarious hinges at any moment.
Creeping out of bed I pulled back a fraction of the curtain and saw a big man  standing in the garden.  Another hammering on the door.  Two gigantic men in mean uniforms.  Ready to have my guts for garters by the looks of it.
My heart was beating so fast I could feel it jumping in my mouth.  You know how it feels to hear a noise in the middle of the night? A
noise that sends goosebumps dancing all over your body and has you
lying so still that even your own heartbeat compromises your hearing?  Petrification in a Eygptian cotton duvet? That is how it was.

So I got back in bed. It seemed the wisest thing to do. I wasn’t wearing any clothes. I was naked. Exposed. And there was a three year old little boy asleep in the next room who must be protected at any cost. All this at seven thirty in the morning.

It must have been obvious to the rest of the street that these men were debt collecters. Whisper it, Bailliffs!  Come in their big van to collect God Knows what and take me, Finley, my nine hundred year old Tv and microwave with them to the poorhouse where they would force feed us porridge and make us sleep on horsehair mattresses.

I rang Mark and shouted in  the kind of whisper that leaves  your throat wretched. I ranted about him leaving which made no sense at all, but drowned out the banging and made me feel better, because for sure I couldn’t imagine what these men wanted and for the umpteenth time in twelve months I felt exhausted with the sheer stress of stitching life together and watching the strain show  in every seam.

And then before I knew it he was there. Standing at the end of my bed. A demand for a parking ticket of old in his hand. A sheepish look on his face. One more nail in a coffin he was banging shut from the inside. I got up and drank the tea he proffered and wondered how much longer I would be forced to wade through the detritus of our relationship.

I don’t know why I am telling you this. It goes against the laws of propriety to discuss financial issues in such a manner. We abhor the stigmatisation of debt and yet turn away from it, secretly appalled when we come across it in others, sipping tea and changing the subject. It is I suspect the last taboo. But I wanted you to know because after Mark had gone, I got Finley dressed and left the house for the day. Though the likelihood of a repeat visit was gone, home, our safehouse was draped in silly shame and I had to escape it.

You see it doesn’t take much for our home to become the enemy. Bailiffs knocking on the door when the rest of the world is asleep. A mouse playing croquet on the rug. History written on the tiles. A leaky roof. Burglars in stripy t-shirts. The stench of discord. An invasion of ants or even the relentless buzz of a single wasp…

So we have to find a way to respect the darker side of homemaking. We have to pay bills, fit locks and insulate rooves. Keep termites and debt collectors at bay and re-decorate when  the scrawl of one  memory  after another  begins to take it’s toll. We have to build our moats with care, foresight and thought for all that goes beyond the next puttery treat or ounce of frilly fripperie.

Life may be hard but we owe it to ourselves to honour the walls that for the most part protect us.     

Other Things To Do At BrocanteHome

19 Comments

  1. Dear Alison,
    What a horrible experience. I hope these men never show up at your door ever again. May the next few days be calm and worry-free.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Oh Alison, my heart goes out to you. I am sure that was an agonizing experience for you. Life's little stresses can really get us down sometimes. After a day or two of wallowing in self-pity we women get back up, put on a happy face for the children and pretend our lives are just perfect. I hope the rest of your week is peachy.
    ~Jen

  3. melissa says:

    This post is so REAL, and it touched a cord with me. We've not had the banging on the door, but our phone has rung and we've gotten the letters.
    Bless you, girl.
    Btw, I've not written here in ages and ages, but think of you everytime I use my Mrs. Meyer's lavender cleaner. 🙂

  4. Sharon says:

    How awful for you Alison ~ I can't imagine how Mark can allow things like this to happen, after all HIS child lives in this house, this sanctuary which should not be violated at any cost. I guess you must be feeling weary, sweetie, but you are finding strength deep inside of yourself even at the times when you feel you have no more left to find. Sending you lots of (((hugs)))

  5. Sarah says:

    Poor you, I know they are only doing their job (although I'm sure some relish it) but they is mighty scary isn't they. The people before the people before me (if you know what I mean) left lots of debt and did a moonlight leaving me to deal with the bailifs. Trying to convince them at 6 in the morning that you are really not Mr Anderson whilst waving your passport at them for identification, particularly when you are a lady (and with a bust like mine could never be mistaken for a gent) ain't fun. Here's hoping the rest of the week turns out great for you.

  6. Sarah says:

    Poor you, I know they are only doing their job (although I'm sure some relish it) but they is mighty scary isn't they. The people before the people before me (if you know what I mean) left lots of debt and did a moonlight leaving me to deal with the bailifs. Trying to convince them at 6 in the morning that you are really not Mr Anderson whilst waving your passport at them for identification, particularly when you are a lady (and with a bust like mine could never be mistaken for a gent) ain't fun. Here's hoping the rest of the week turns out great for you.

  7. Angel Jem says:

    Not a nice experience and, I hope never to be repeated. Will you settle down into happy domesticity again, honey? If you need that sort of thing & believe that the walls hold echoes of things past, perhaps you need to read 'Spiritual Housecleaning' by Kathryn L. Robyn; I know Sarah Ban Breathnach recommends this book & that she has done little cleansing ceremonies to clear out 'bad vibes'. It could be worth a go, if you really feel that your home has been violated.

  8. Amy says:

    oh noooo! I've had that happen before, it's not a nice experience is it?

  9. Amy says:

    oh noooo! I've had that happen before, it's not a nice experience is it?

  10. That would have frightened the life out of me! I am sorry it happened to you and hope you had a nice rest of the day out afterwards.
    Take care.
    God bless.
    Terri

  11. Caroline says:

    Home is our refuge from the outside world, a safe place where we can hopefully shut out unpleasant things. But it only takes something like this to make us realise how fragile that concept is. Hope you are OK now.

  12. Being a grown up really stinks sometimes, doesn't it? I just finished paying what bills I could afford for the week before visiting your blog this morning – I'm not alone, I see.

  13. Being a grown up really stinks sometimes, doesn't it? I just finished paying what bills I could afford for the week before visiting your blog this morning – I'm not alone, I see.

  14. Alison…I'll call you Alison though I don't really know you. You touch my heart every time I come to read your blog. I never had anyone come knocking when I threw out my worthless husband but, the phone did ring. I promise you it gets better. Who knows how long for you but I wish you blessings, my friend!

  15. Grace says:

    This post is neither pitiful, nor inappropriate. It's honest. We all have these small foxes that spoil the grapes – we're all human with our individual battles of the day. Sharing these honest moments of weakness encourages us to remember we can make it through days like this.
    May your moat be wide and your walls be high. May security and peace dwell within.

  16. Grace says:

    This post is neither pitiful, nor inappropriate. It's honest. We all have these small foxes that spoil the grapes – we're all human with our individual battles of the day. Sharing these honest moments of weakness encourages us to remember we can make it through days like this.
    May your moat be wide and your walls be high. May security and peace dwell within.

  17. Grace says:

    This post is neither pitiful, nor inappropriate. It's honest. We all have these small foxes that spoil the grapes – we're all human with our individual battles of the day. Sharing these honest moments of weakness encourages us to remember we can make it through days like this.
    May your moat be wide and your walls be strong. May security and peace dwell within.

  18. wendy says:

    Hi Alison,
    Like Melissa, i am very moved by realness of this post. And the trueness. I've just qouted you in my last post hope thats okay : )
    Paix,
    Wendy

  19. wendy says:

    Hi Alison,
    Like Melissa, i am very moved by realness of this post. And the trueness. I've just qouted you in my last post hope thats okay : )
    Paix,
    Wendy

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