It’s been a nostalgic week. After nearly a decade, our parents have packed up our home in the misty KZN Midlands and moved to sun-soaked Umhlanga. Of course, I had to fly back one last time to visit. You know, to touch everything and cry in the garden and carve my name into a wall somewhere. And take photos, of course.
So bear with me while I pay my respects to our beautiful white-and-grey house and endless garden. Whenever I go back I feel like a Pride and Prejudice character (Keira Knightley, obvs). There are fields and forests and orchards to wander around – preferably with a mournful look on one’s face – and a roaring fireplace to curl up next to while watching the mist roll in. (This is also one of the reasons for the move. SO. MUCH. MIST.)
I like to think that Kate and I inherited our mother’s love of interiors. However, our decorating skills rely primarily on second-hand shopping, whilst our mom is on a whole other level. She had a freestanding kitchen made by Milestone Kitchens, just so that she could get exactly what she wanted. It was one of the first kitchens Silvia Miles created and of all the things I’m going to miss about the house, this space might tug my heartstrings the most.
Anyway, I better stop thinking about those rich wooden countertops and Smeg oven before I start wailing again. Because home is not the walls or the furniture. It’s the smell of muesli baking, the sound of three sisters fighting, and it’s wherever your dogs are. Freddy is a twig-legged, half-deaf snow beast and Leo is a crazy, chubby furball of joy – and despite my dad’s best efforts to sell them off, they’re coming along to Umhlanga.
Just look at these handsome little fellas.
Although our new home on the coast has the beach for a back garden (you literally walk through a door and you’re on the sand), saying goodbye to the garden beyond our gate in Hilton was TOUGH. A herd of Ngunis stroll past here every afternoon, you guys. One of them even tried to attack our mom once and she ran like a banshee into a neighbour’s house. The whole village heard her screams. You can’t buy those kinds of memories.
Anyway, it’s time for a change. Weirdly, all five of us in our immediate family have always wanted to live in Umhlanga (I love you, Cape Town, but I am a tropical girl at heart) and it feels like the timing is just right. I can’t wait to go swimming in the sea every morning and sprinkle sand throughout the new house – which I know will be beautiful. Our mom, of course, is building the thing from the ground up, exactly to her taste, with a new Milestone kitchen.
But here I am talking like I’m moving there too. Alas, I can’t give up the forest view from my bedroom in Newlands just yet… but you best believe I’ll be flying “home” at least 5 times a year. And I’m so excited to be able to walk everywhere when I get there. To the shops, to the beach, to my grandparents’ house. The lifestyle in Umhlanga is so laid back and I feel like it’s going to be perfect for my parents, who are literally the most chilled people you will ever meet. (Except when being chased by cows).
So goodbye, Hilton home… you were one of the best. But here’s to the next.