Thursday, May 29, 2014

Finding Nana's House

This is not Nana's house, but it was built in a similar period, and is architecturally similar.

     I write concerning a great many subjects.  I suppose I just never got to a point where I stopped caring about people, and simply centered on myself, as seems to be the case, all too often with politicians.  This week, had some grime removed from my computer, and I was told afterward,  to "try it out".   I actually didn't need to do anything, and so I resorted to running some google searches on addresses that were familiar to me. One of them was the address of my grandmother's home, outside London.   She lived in a middle class neighborhood which was relatively easily commutable to London via train. They owned their home from the time it was built in the nineteen-thirties, until the nineteen-nineties.  I don't know what it cost when built, and I'm not sure how much she sold it for, but when I ran the address, it was up for sale for  five hundred thousand British pounds sterling !     My first thought was how amazed she would be.   It was a tudor styled stone with stucco home, common to the region, with three bedrooms, a sitting room, a living room, an eat in kitchen, and one and a half bathrooms. It had a large private fenced yard and a lovely potting shed. Consistent with the era and the region, it is a semi-detached home, which means it shares a common wall with another home which is very similar to it.   Since my grandmother owned it and raised her family there, there have been some changes.  The lovely front garden she had behind the front gate has gone.  It has been paved to allow off street parking for two small cars.  It also now has a small garage which matches the house, and is located where the gate to the garden at the side of the house used to be.  There are now skylights over the bedroom I used to occupy when we stayed there.  The interior pictures are quite different.  My Nana had some lovely furniture that conjured the days of Bertie Wooster (in the series in which Hugh Laurie played Bertie, called Jeeves and Wooster, yes, after the books)   She also kept the home as neat as a pin.  Today, some of the walls I recall have been removed and it sports a new and open design.  It also has french doors which open to the garden.  The garden does not look as spectacular as it did in Nana's day, though quite pretty and a selling point..
      I do understand that as we live our lives and move past them that the homes we occupied become someone elses, and that their claim on that home is as valid as our own once was.  What I don't understand is how someone in England, in what has always been a middle class neighborhood, can afford to buy a home which in US dollars translates to $835,650  !     How can anyone the ages of my kids purchase a home in England, let alone the London area ?    If I had remained in England following the portion of my youth in which I went to school there,  I would not have been able to afford to buy a home there.   I am well aware of how well Nana's house was built and of the wonderful cold larder she had for kitchen storage.  I remember the storage under the staircase which was a little room itself. In the times I was there, she used it to store the vacuum cleaner, brooms and buckets, but during the war, the entire family hid there during the bombings. I do recognize the value of her home.  I do not recognize why inflation has taken the cost to the equivalent of eight hundred thousand dollars plus !

Sunday, May 18, 2014

On Healthy Perspectives


   I'll grant you that there is a lot to be concerned about in the world.  There is an economic malaise in Europe, and in some nations there are demonstrations against the austerity that was necessary in order for those nations to receive a European Union bail-out.  In the US, we are told that the economy is improving, but people in their thirties and forties are still moving back in with their parents when they haven't been able to get a full time job in more than three years.  People with college degrees who graduated with honors in 2010, still don't have jobs and still haven't started to pay back student loans for college or university.  Homes are still being sold for much less than their assessed values, and although they might sell, most people cannot get a mortgage and therefore cannot make it to the closing of the house, and take occupancy.   There is flooding so severe in Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia that thirty five people have died and they are being evacuated by boats.  There is civil unrest in Libya, Egypt, and in other places as well.  Hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria are still being held by a group of men who think God would be okay with their plan to take them from their families.  Things are difficult for most of the people I know wherever they reside.

             I have no magical words, no great insight or fabulous solutions.  I know only that we are here on the beautiful blue ball until we aren't, and so we should spent each day with those we love.  Find things to do with them that are inexpensive and safe.  Go fishing. Pack a picnic lunch. Braid your daughters hair. Sail a toy boat with a son or grandson.  Play a board game with your family. Help an elderly relative organize their garage or basement.  I guarantee that the time invested with family will be well spent, even if you don't feel this way until one of you is gone.

           Find a way to enjoy your time on Earth even though we are challenged by many things that frighten us or provoke worry concerning the future.  They say that many things of which we worry never come to pass.  In my own life, the tragedies and challenges that actually befell us were things I had not considered before they happened.  The things I planned for have only rarely occurred.

           Have a lovely afternoon.