I’m sitting on the floor with the contents of my family photograph box surrounding me. My parents are about to move to a new, downsizer pad and, rebelling at their impending old age, are set on a cool, chic, minimalist look. As a result they keep turning up at mine, with more boxes of things I might like to keep: broken lamps, ragged rugs, lumpy cushions, dog-eared books, mindless of the fact that the cluttered 70s feel is not something I aspire to either.
I am not particularly sentimental so have been able to make quick decisions: bin, recycle, charity and, only very rarely, keep. However my back aches, and my legs have gone numb as I realise I’ve been in the same position for ages, looking through decades of photographs, all taken in my old family home, recording moments in time, often in very blurry Polaroid.
Not only that, I’m aware of a sore throat as an emotional lump forms. Because with every picture comes a memory of someone I love or have loved. Black and white, colour and sepia, the photographs have been shoved in a box in no particular order.
The one of my generously proportioned grandmother, sitting at the table in our cosy kitchen, with icing sugar all over her jumper and skirt and on her cheek, brings back festive memories. She used to take up position there for days on the run-up to each Christmas, icing the cake and making mince pies. It took the rest of the year to get all of the flour and sugar out of the carpet tiles.
Then here is one of teenager me in my Laura Ashley bedroom, with Viv from high school, who continues to lead me astray after all these years: we are all rouge, smiles and ra-ra skirts. I can’t remember where we are going, but we used to always get ready together in my room: I had the best full-length mirror and my big sister had a proper make-up collection in her bedroom across the hall. Not only did she let us help ourselves, she must have taken the picture, too.
My dog, Random, will always be my first love. He was handsome, heroic, reliable with a great sense of humour – and when I see the picture of me aged five, cuddling a black, curly mass on a great big cushion in front of the fire, I can remember exactly how the room smelt (of wood polish and mongrel) and how he felt (warm and patient).
And there is one of my second love: now my husband of 25 years. High-school sweethearts, we are in the dining room, dressed in our uniforms. He is looking shy and on his best behaviour in front of my dad who used to call him ‘The Bean-pole’ (he was already 6' 3"). An ex-rugby player who rather enjoys life, he has filled out somewhat in the intervening years, but his smile is just the same.
'A house full of love – in Polaroid' is part of our new series, A Savills Love Story, prompted by Savills new advertising campaign.
We invite you to submit your own Savills Love Story. What made you fall for your home? Was it love at first sight or more of a slow burn? Do you have a 'type' or is your approach to house-buying more pragmatic? Or tell us about your fantasy home – the magical place you've always wanted to live, perhaps inspired by a novel or a fleeting glimpse in a magazine? We will donate £50 to YoungMinds for every story we publish on Savills UK Blog. We'll also make a donation for every story submitted for consideration.