Our new home

The door closes and the first thing I do is sit down next to Chelsea and burst into tears.
“Oh Chelly,” I say, stroking her soft black Labrador fur.
“This is it then, this is our new home!”
Mum has just left us in our new home in Cardiff. Part of me wanted to run away with her, back to North Wales back to where I know – and feel safe and secure.
However, Cardiff is our home for the next six months at least and I know I have to try and make things work. It’s all new for Chelly as well and I have to remember that.
Chelsea licks my hand tentatively.
When we were at university we lived in a totally different part of the city. We coped with that so surely we’ll cope with our new life?
I unpack the suitcases and put up the cards and gifts I’d received from my friends back home. Home! What does that word really mean I wonder?
The first drama we have happens after we’ve been in the new flat for only an hour. It’s half past four and Chelsea’s food hasn’t arrived. I frantically ring the vet and ask if they have any there. Luckily they do, but I don’t know my way to the vet so I ring a taxi firm and they send a really lovely friendly man to fetch us to collect it.
He ran in and picked up the bag for me and then took us back.
It’s only when I’m sitting in the garden an hour later giving Chelly a brush when my neighbour from the next flat comes to introduce himself.
He’s really nice and tells me there’s a huge box by the front door for Chelsea.
Her food must have arrived when we were at the vets.
He then proceeds to explain the totally baffling recycling system.
This is something I become obsessed with for the next few weeks. I’ve even been known to text my friends down here to ask:
“So, it’s Monday, do we put green (recycling) bags or black) rubbish) bags out?”
It varies from week to week and I was thrown into an absolute panic when it was bank holiday.
“Ah,” said one of my Cardiff friends when I rang him to say the text I’d set up which reminds me which bags to put out hadn’t arrived.
“It’s bank holiday, so you put your bags out on a Tuesday!” That’s Cardiff logic for you.
It’s hard to get used to different places and when you can’t see you have an added difficulty getting to grips with certain things.
I went to find flat five – which I thought, would be on the right of flat 4. It was only when I knocked on what I thought was the right door that my neighbour opened it and explained that flat five was on the left.
I’d wanted to move to Cardiff for so long that I’d wondered if I’d miss where I lived before.
It didn’t take me long to realise that, yes, I did.
The mobile reception was totally non-existent, unless I perched precariously on the edge of the chair by the kitchen window and tilted my head at a peculiar angle.
The flat had been beautifully furnished by the Landlord but I didn’t have a separate post-box for my Braille mail, so the post gets pushed through the main letter-box and it can be weeks until one of the other neighbours or a friend sorts it out.
I missed Mum and my friends in North Wales very much, but it was the little things like having Internet and Emails that I found difficult to cope with. Things a lot of us take for granted. I didn’t have a washing line – because the previous one was broken, Mum and I bought a kettle but I didn’t have the other things like a microwave which make life so much simpler.
One of the things I learned from my move is just how kind strangers can be.
During the first month I met some really lovely people who helped to make the move worthwhile.
Chelsea took the whole thing very well.
She’s quite a resilient little dog.
As long as we’re together and she has toys and carrots, she’s a happy dog.
We settled down for the first night. I was looking forward to the next day as I’d arranged to meet two local guide dog owners and their dogs.
Chelly snored gently next to my bed.
“She’s trusting me with all of this,” I thought.
“She keeps me safe and gives me so much – I know we can make this work together.” And with that thought, I fell fast asleep.

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