So, the house that we built - at least, the house we paid someone else vast amount of money to build for us (he may even have been called Jack, I can't remember) which gave us a very small say in the design - is no longer ours.
The house that hosted many parties - children's parties with puppet shows and games on the lawn, teenage parties with swimming and "movies", adult parties with music around the piano, is no longer ours.
Someone else's plates and cutlery and cooking implements will now be gracing the kitchen cupboards, someone else's furniture will now be hiding the scratch marks on the floors. Their dog will be mooching around the garden, sniffing the grass, perhaps looking for that big black dog who owned the lawn for five years.
Will the new people fix the broken tiles outside or will they sincerely mean to, for the next ten years? Will they paint over the Moroccan tile stencils with which I adorned my pillars? Will they manage to get the fruit trees to fruit, will they enjoy our mango harvest?
The funny thing is, that it's the little things that get to me. When sweeping the cupboard under the stairs, for instance, I came across two broken Christmas tree ornaments and was flooded with nostalgia, for this really is the end of an era. We are saying good bye, not only to a house, but to a stage of life, when our children were sweet and full of joy and all ours. (And used to drive me nuts and kept me in a state of sleep deprived near hysteria all the time, yes, but we will gloss over that.) I choose to remember the times when they were big eyed with wonder at the sight of boiling black clouds streaming in from the mountains, the wind tearing at the trees as the storms arrived; or the times that they stood, holding their breath and watching the flock of deer in the garden, or the huge white cockatoos feeding at the bird table, the Rosellas chirruping in the grevillea; the times when they would spend hours digging in the mud, faces shining with concentration; the soccer matches with friends or Rupert or the boys next door, the badminton games when Guinny would try his best to join in, rendering further competition impossible; the Christmases when their faces would light up at the sight of the tree and their eyes would sparkle as they sat and listened to the pregnant air, boiling with the scent of jasmine and mangoes and pawpaws and magic.
We are on to new adventures now and life will be exciting in the new ways, but there are certain things that we will never replace. We will not have friends who have known them and cared about them, all their lives. Our family traditions - favourite restaurants, favourite camping spots, favourite parks, will all be changing.
By the time I had finished cleaning the house on Friday I couldn't have cared about any of those things, but I had to go back on Monday morning and made the mistake of wondering through the rooms one last time, going out into the animal-empty garden to admire, for the last time, the hot pink flowers of the bougainvillea as it exploded into the air. And there was a deer, a spotted fawn, standing fifteen feet from me, staring.
So I said goodbye to it and left, drove to the estate agents and handed over the keys. Thanks for the memories - cue swooping strings and muted trumpets........