Charleston Was a Rental Property

A friend of mine recently told me that Charleston – the farmhouse where Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell and the rest of the Bloomsbury Lot lived and met, was rented.  It was only bought for them towards the end of their lives.  She said this for my benefit.

We rent.

We have sold our house and don’t want to buy a new one.  We love our house and we are free to be grateful.

Our house is beautiful and slightly shabby, large and oddly organized.  We may not, must not, change a thing here – we may not walk around the house thinking how it might be better or different.  There is no optimum, no ideal house yet to be unravelled from the tangle of this one.  There is only this house here today.

This house is not a reflection of us – it is the house in which we are lucky to find ourselves .

Like our children, like our work, we are not owners we are custodians.  Guardians.  We are looking after this old bird – keeping her warm and happily laying.

Recently, the kids celebrated Harvest at school and they were asked to bring in produce. Tins were to be donated to charity and fresh fruit and vegetables would be sold to raise money for the local Children’s hospital.  So we went into school with two large, heavy bags of grapes and apples, vine leaves with curly strings dragged on the ground.  They were so proud – they had picked this all themselves. I lifted the littlest one up to get apples, they come away so easily at this time of year.  He wants to do the picking.  The windfall is left to me.

The sharing just goes on and on and the kids don’t care that they are part of a chain of beneficence as old as the ground they walk on.