Last night, a friend asked me if I’d ever managed to find the house that I was looking for and it took me until about ten minutes ago to realize where they meant.  A couple of years ago, when I first moved back to my hometown but was working regularly up in Manchester, I became obsessed with a cottage that I passed by on the train (the one in the photograph).  Eventually, I decided to locate the cottage on an OS map & discovered that it was part of the Shugborough estate in Staffordshire.  I had a very jolly day out with my parents visiting ‘my’ cottage; ‘house stalking’ is the phrase I like to use, although it sounds somewhat sinister when written down – I promise that it is undertaken in a friendly & light-hearted manner, purely with the aim of looking at homes that I think are lovely and would like to live in.

Recalling my visit to Shugborough got me thinking about all of my ‘dream’ homes.  They are all small; either terraces or a little cottage.  None are fancy, nor are my fantasy plans for any of them particularly grand or elaborate.  The same goes for my ‘dream’ car – I’ve already owned it, an old Mini.  Maybe I’ll own another one day, or maybe I’ll go for something else.  Even the other cars that make me go ‘Yes please’ aren’t particularly expensive or exclusive; recently I’ve become fixated with an old red Renault Clio that I’ve seen around – I can so clearly imagine myself tootling around in that, a la Nicole in the classic ads.

It seems a bit funny to pause and reflect upon my dreams in such a self-conscious manner; normally they are more nebulous ideas, floating round in a general ‘Hmm, I like that…’ kind of way.  But I feel happy for realizing that my dreams are so achievable – admittedly it’s unlikely that I’ll like in a tied cottage on the Shugborough estate, but once I’m in a position where I want to buy somewhere, then I should be able to afford the kind of home that I desire.  Ditto the cars that I like.  Ditto my ideal holidays.  Ditto my ultimate wardrobe.  

Finishing the thesis in the next few weeks marks the realization of one long-held dream; the next steps afterwards begin the realization of others.  And I’ll sleep well on that thought, with sweet dreams indeed. 

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