This is my last morning in the house I've lived in for twelve years. I moved in at the end of 2001, halfway through writing a novella called Until My Darkness Goes, which appeared in my first story collection. I remember that because it's a ghost story, and on my first night alone in the house, as I was writing a suitably creepy scene, a floorboard creaked somewhere and terrified the bejazus out of me. The next night I put some music on, only to switch it off when other sounds intruded. After a moment I realised it was the couple next door. Making love. Very, very loudly. I managed not to bag on the wall and tell him to give her one from me.
I was twenty-seven when I moved in here. Last month I turned forty. I spent the last of my twenties and all of my thirties here. For most of that time I was single, and on occasions despaired of ever not being alone.
Not that I was. I've made good friends living here in Swinton; the guy over the road is one of my best mates. My next door neighbour, a former lodger, is someone I knew at college.
I learned to be happy on my own in this house. While I've lived here, I saw my first books published, and my stories appear in annual 'Best Of' collections. I wrote Tide Of Souls here, and The Faceless.
And I fell in love while I lived here. And that love has deepened, and now I'm moving to another city - Liverpool - to be with the woman I love. A new life begins, exhilarating and scary all at once.
I will miss this house. I'll miss Swinton. I'll miss the little Chinese takeaway up the road where I'm on first name terms with the owners. I'll miss the nature reserve ten minutes walk from my front door and the country park up the road, and all the bits of green belt and natural beauty I've come to know, living here.
But it's time to go.
This is a good little house. It's taken care of me, far better than I've taken care of it. I'm glad that the people buying it from me are friends. I'm glad it will be in good hands.
This might be the last post here on this blog, too. I'm hoping to set up a WordPress site. This blog has been good, but I think I need something different now.
Thanks to everyone who's been following me since I set it up six years ago. Take care, be well and be happy.