When we lived in Crown Road I could spend hours looking out of the front window at the comings and goings of the street; at neighbours and strangers strolling past, at cars reversing ever-so-carefully down its tight confines. Here in Otford, it's the view from the back of the house that draws me to stand gazing out of the kitchen window into our long, long garden.
We haven't changed much about the garden in the last year - we haven't really needed to; each season has bought a new colour, a new focus, and a new reason to thank our predecessors. The abundant white rose that lit up our first few weeks was followed, as summer drew on, by the lavender that grows so well in this valley, by the honeysuckle trailing over our ramshackle fences and the tall white daisies waving from every corner.
The first winds of autumn brought down the leaves from our neighbours' trees. I'd dreaded the task of clearing them, but the gentle rhythm of sweeping soon became a calming replacement for summer's weekly walk with the lawn mower.
We found just how damp and squelchy the ground could be after heavy rain, then just how pretty it could look after the snow of our very first winter. Spring came and went, with the delight of unexpected daffodils pushing through the cold hard earth, and then the rose bush filled with buds again to herald the start of our second year here.
When we lived in Shoreham, there was a small square table in front of the window. It was there that I'd chat to Philip as we ate our dinner or shared a lazy weekend breakfast, and it was there that I started writing this blog, sitting opposite Philip, with the top edges of our laptops just touching. I spent hours at that table - writing, dreaming, reading of lives all around the world. Every now and then, I'd glance up to my right to look out on the street and all its life.
The table is still with us; it sits in the kitchen now, against the wall. When we first moved here, we adopted our positions each side of it, and for a while, like any comfortable habit, it felt ok. But then I realised that when I glanced up to my right, it wasn't the world I could see, just a kitchen wall. When I looked ahead, it wasn't into the room, but just to the wall at the end. Gradually it seemed as though my world was closing in rather than moving on and opening up.
It's a big thing, the way we arrange ourselves. When Philip and I walk together I am always to his right; when we sleep together he is always to mine. We've never debated it, that's just how it is, and any other arrangement simply wouldn't be right, so it was with some trepidation that I suggested we might try sitting the other way round.
And tonight I'm sitting at the other side of the table. Ahead of me, when I look up, I see Philip pottering about in the kitchen. I love to watch him cook, it's the time when I see all the patience, love and care that are an inherent part of who he is, no matter how cleverly he disguises it. And when I glance up to my right, I can see through the clear glass of the kitchen door, straight into the garden, where the rose is about to bloom.
We're settling into Otford now, shedding old habits and learning new routines. When we came here, it felt such a big move, but I've come to understand that it really isn't the other side of the world.
I never would have guessed though that what could really make me feel at home was just the other side of the table.