Nostalgia Before the Fact

You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone, or so they say.  I’m currently discovering that this isn’t a wholly accurate statement!

Ever had that weird feeling of missing something before it’s even gone?  That’s me all over at the moment.

It’s no secret that the Wells family will be moving house soon.  In fact, after more than ten weeks of nail-biting, hair-tearing anxiety, we have finally exchanged contracts and confirmed a moving date.  19th June is ‘M’ day for us!

But this isn’t simply a move up the road (not that there’s anything simple about any move, but there’s little moves and big moves.  This is definitely a big move).  The Wells family, including this here author, will be moving to the Middle East.

Eeeeek, got ya! Well, sort of.  Technically, we are moving to the middle east—of England.  Our new home is a three-and-a-half hour drive up north east in sunny (or so I’m told) Lincolnshire.

Even though I’m plenty used to moving, this is a different experience.  I have been settled here like I haven’t been settled anywhere since I left home at nineteen.  Specifically, I will be leaving behind eight years of building friendships.  A house that my husband and I lovingly painted and painted all over again (on the inside, I hasten to add).  A house that saw the arrival of two children, two years apart.  With everything that entails:  wee on the walls (well, how was I supposed to know that a boy infant can pee in every which position, every which way, in every direction?), sleepless nights, first steps, first foods, bumped heads, dents in walls and floors from thrown toys.  Laughter and joy, sickness, tears and frustrations.  Many a tantrum.

Memories, in short.  A house and a life filled with memories, and we’re leaving it all behind.  Although arguably, we’re taking the memories with us–we’re just leaving the setting behind.

So as I go about my daily business, I find myself in the throes of premature nostalgia.  “I’ll miss the walk down the lane to school,” I was thinking this morning.  “Look at those lovely daffs nodding their heads over that wall.”

“I’ll miss the village and the river Trym, sometimes so docile, and sometimes offering a bit more oomph in the fast-flow department.”

“I’ll miss the coffee shop on the corner that does the best tuna melts.”

And so on.  Nostalgia before the fact.  A sense of heightened perception that seems to make everything clearer, sharper, more in focus.  I suspect that that’s the purpose of the phenomenon, a kind of memory-factory to ensure that you take with you all those feelings and impressions that mattered to you in a certain environment (and some that don’t, presumably).

Anyway, there it is, and it’s getting steadily more pronounced as we are counting down the days now.  The children are feeling it, too, probably even more so than me.

So my question to you is:  what’s your instance of nostalgia before the fact?

PS: of course I wiped the wee off the walls.  I even repainted the offending patch, the very same day, having previously disinfected it.  And I fixed all the dents, too.  I’m emphasising this point just in case you happen to be our purchaser and you’re getting nervous about the house!

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18 responses to “Nostalgia Before the Fact

  1. For me Nicky it’s always been related to my boys and the next steps they take (or about to!) from the first day at nursery to leaving school, girlfriends etc. The only home I’ve ever felt like you before was the home I was born in and spent the first 19 years of my life. I still visit that home in my dreams! x

    • Hey Shaz, do you know, I used to get that too, when the boys were very little, and starting school was a big deal! Thanks for adding that dimension, and I think that feeds into my premature nostalgia right now too (new school, new life, new friends….). At least my blogging friends will remain a constraint, whoopeee!! Thanks for your kind words and comment. XX

  2. Aaaah, now I understand all those removal men anecdotes (and housing crises) that you hinted at before! Good luck with your move to … Lincolnshire? I don’t think I’ve ever been there, will have to come and visit.
    I know exactly what you mean about the nostalgia – I get like that even about places I’ve lived in that I didn’t like at the time, let alone a house that has such memories for you!

    • Oooh yes please, do come and visit! For the first time ever, we’ll actually have enough space and a proper bona fide guest room (with bed, not sofa bed!). Glad you too get those rose-tinted glasses on from time to time… and you have a lot of experience moving around the world, too! Thanks for visiting. XX

  3. This post brought me to wistfulness, then to shock/surprise (yes, you had me going for a second or two) then to giggles (wee on the walls), circling back to wistful.
    I understand your nostalgia-before-the-fact, it’s like the start of the goodbyes, isn’t it?
    Most of my nostalgia harks back to my roots – the beautiful City of Bath, and then some of the other homes I lived in (Bradford on Avon etc.) before I moved deeper into the south-west. But it’s usually Bath, and my childhood home, that I revisit in my dreams.
    Good luck with your move – I hope it all goes smoothly and you settle in ‘at t’other end’.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Joanna, and I’m so glad you shared your response to my post: that was exactly what I’d hoped for, and it captures my ’emotional journey’ at the discovery that we are moving, hee hee! Thanks for visiting and oh, I do love Bath, too. Just another one of the places we won’t have time to visit before next week… we’ll just have to come back! x

  4. Moving can bring out so many emotions, depending on how you feel about the place you’ve been living, and on where you’re going. I wish you more happy days ahead, Nicky. You’ll be laying the ground for more pre-mature nostalgia for the next move after that.

    • Ha ha ha, Anneli, you are SO right! I am a bit like that, but it does help me appreciate the moment as well. Thanks for your good wishes, and we are actually really looking forward to it all (when we’re not taking apart wardrobes, sweating buckets, and trapping fingers in doors….) Love that you took the time to comment, thank you!

  5. God, you had me worried with the Middle East reference you really did! I do understand the notion you’re describing. And the reassurance to your new home buyer cracked me up. I dread to think what Dean the 6 year old boy who lived in the Castle before me DID to the walls here. In fact, it’d never crossed my mind until now.

    This might sound weird but the time I get the feeling you’re describing is when I am at an amazing gig and I am already dreading its end because the whole experience is so good and I know it cannot go on forever. Or when I am with someone really, really special and I know there might be a chance, for whatever reason, be it geography or circumstances, I may never see them again. It’s quite hard actually.

    Best of luck with your move, Nicky. I hope the last days are really, really great so your final memories are good ones. xx

    • Awww, Yasmin, I knew you’d understand! Thanks for your wonderful thoughts, and apologies for giving you cause to worry about the substances on your walls… or not! I love what you say about gigs or people, I get the same feeling then too. So glad I’ve met you, kindred spirit! x

  6. Having had rather a nomadic childhood I always looked on each move with excitement and didn’t do too much looking back before or after the event. Having said that, I do have lots of fond memories of living in a small Cambridgeshire village around the age of 12/13 where I had quite a free and extremely fun four years.
    Good luck with the move and all the exciting new things ahead.

    • I guess it’s all a matter of practice! I used to move so much when I first came to England (at least once a year, sometimes twice, bless Halls of Residence!) I was a real pro. It’s only now that I’ve been settled for so long that it feels, for the first time again, that I am uprooting. But in a good way! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  7. Awwwww, it’s sad isn’t it, when you have to leave somewhere you’ve loved….but….. HOW EXCITING! Think of all those great new places you’ll discover and the new memories you’ll make 🙂

    Im constantly going off into nostalgia trips lol. But, sometimes, I find I also tend to wear rose tinted spectacles 😉 lol.

    Good luck xx

  8. Maybe not quite the same, but perhaps that feeling of a good book as it comes to end and you want to remain in that world a while longer. Great post Nicky ~ Wishing you a safe, easy move and tons of new, wonderful memories in the new home ❤

    • Actually, I think that’s a great analogy, just a slightly smaller scale! And of course we’re taking ‘us’ with us so it’s really just a new chapter in the amazing book that is our lives. (Ooooh getting all lyrical now!). Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting, I love it. :-)x

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