Blog Tour · Guest Post

#BlogTour #GuestPost Open House: A Life In Thirty-Two Moves By Jane Christmas @Harper360uk @RhodaPR2013 #OpenHouseMemoir

Hello, Book Dragons! Today I would like to welcome you all on a late stop (sorry 😦 ) of the Blog Tour for Open House: A Life In Thirty-Two Moves By Jane Christmas and I would like to share a guest post written by the author, with all of you. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂

Publisher: Patrick Crean Editions
ISBN13:  978-1443458764
Genre: Memoir
Release date: 12 11 2020
Price*: Kindle £6.99 (GBP)/  Paperback £8.19 (GBP)
Kindle $13.99 (USD)/ Paperback $14.99 (USD)
Pages: ~ 304
You can get this book here:
Amazon UK
Book Depository

Description of the book: Moving house has never flustered author Jane Christmas. She loves houses: viewing them, negotiating their price, dreaming up interior plans, hiring tradespeople to do the work and overseeing renovations. She loves houses so much that she’s moved thirty-two times.

There are good reasons for her latest house move, but after viewing sixty homes, Jane and her husband succumb to the emotional fatigue of an overheated English housing market and buy a wreck in the town of Bristol that is overpriced, will require more money to renovate than they have and that neither of them particularly like.

As Jane’s nightmare renovation begins, her mind returns to the Canadian homes where she grew up with parents who moved and renovated constantly around the Toronto area. Suddenly, the protective seal is blown off Jane’s memory of a strict and peripatetic childhood and its ancillary damage—lost friends, divorces, suicide attempts—and the past threatens to shake the foundations of her marriage. This latest renovation dredges a deeper current of memory, causing Jane to question whether in renovating a house she is in fact attempting to renovate her past.

With humour and irreverence, Open House reveals that what we think we gain by constantly moving house actually obscures the precious and vital parts of our lives that we leave behind.

This is a memoir that will appeal to anyone whose pulse quickens at the mere mention of real estate.

Guest Post by Jane Christmas

You know how a comment someone made years ago lodges itself in your subconsciousness and bubbles to the surface periodically? At times that bubbling is a low ripple; other times it is more agitated. Well, one such comment has been looping around my head lately. It was made by my mother—I was probably about 8 years old at the time—and it was so utterly shocking that I remember standing before her, dumbfounded, as if the world had suddenly collapsed on itself. I had had a fairly God-driven upbringing: Our family went to church each Sunday, grace was said before meals, night prayers said as we kneeled at our bedside, little fingers steepled earnestly. At Sunday School I gobbled up Bible stories and learned about Jesus’ compassion toward others. The overriding message being that people were paramount and we had to put their needs before ourselves. So when my mother—my devout Roman Catholic mother—said the following to me one day it was as if everything I had been taught was suddenly a sham. She said: “People are important, but they will not get you ahead in life. Only property can do that. Remember that. Property first, people second.”

Those words hit me anew as I wedged the key into the door lock of the 32nd house that I was moving into. And they really began to ping as my husband and I started renovating our home. (I highly recommend the absorbing task of stripping wood chip wallpaper to get you pondering deep, soulful thoughts.)

Moving 32 times sounds like a lot of fun, and to be honest, it is. New experiences, new surroundings. But one doesn’t move 32 times without losing things, and what I’ve lost along the way is a lot of friends and connections with people. My home for 58 years was in Canada: it’s where my adult children live, and where my friends are. Making new friends in the UK has not been easy. Most people already have a strong circle of friends by their 50s and they aren’t terribly keen to welcome a newbie, especially a foreigner. So it’s been a lonely time for me in England and I have had to work hard to forge even tentative acquaintances.

Many decades ago, my mother’s comment drew a snobby response from me. I was proud for having had the guts to move all over the place while friends from high school never moved more than six blocks from where they grew up. How insular a life they lived! How stifling! Yet, lately I have wondered just who the losers are here—them, for not experiencing life beyond their narrow pasture, or me for flying the coop but ending up without the anchor of firm friendships.

The peripatetic life gives you lots of loose friendships, but few solid ones. This was the epiphany I had while renovating my current home. During periods of downtime—waiting for materials to arrive or waiting for a tradesman to show up—I started hunting for one of my childhood friends, my best friend when we were five years old. We had stayed connected in spite of my parents’ many house moves, but by the time we were both 18 we had drifted apart. I hadn’t seen or spoken to her for about 45 years. That search for her, of regaining some of my past, became a thread in my memoir Open House: A Life in Thirty-two Moves.

It’s not just house moves that fracture families and relationships; pandemics do, too. For me, however, the pandemic has had a silver lining. Rather than mope about my lack of friends, I determinedly embraced Zoom. Each Tuesday, I Face Time with Cheryll in Toronto. Each Friday, I Zoom with Nancy, who lives on Vancouver Island, and Jeannette, who lives outside of Toronto. It has not only provided solace for each of us, it has immeasurably strengthened our friendship. Friendships, like marriage, need constant attention and work.

Back to my mom’s comment that property is more important than people: I’m calling bullshit on that. My property nomadism has taught me that a home gives shelter to your corporal self, but friends give shelter to your soul. I know where the true wow factor resides.

About the author: JANE CHRISTMAS is the author of several bestselling books, including What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim, about her mid-life pilgrimage along Spain’s famed Camino trail; Incontinent on the Continent, about a six-week road trip through Italy with her elderly and opinionated mother in the hopes of finding a rapprochement in their relationship; as well as And Then There Were Nuns, which chronicles Jane’s discernment about entering religious life, and was a finalist for the 2014 Leacock Memorial Award for Humour. She has been published in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Germany. Born and raised in Canada, Jane Christmas is the mother of three wonderful adults and the ex-wife of two kind-hearted husbands. In 2012, she moved to the UK, where she lives in southwest England with her current husband.

Instagram: @janechristmasauthor

*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.

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