CHAIRS, tables, pictures, books, tea pots, cutlery, even wooden spoons - there’s a memory linked to everything.

My family - Mum, Dad, my brother and sister - spent more than 60 years with our house as an anchor. Sitting in the middle of a North Yorkshire village, the former bakehouse has seen families come and go since the late 18th Century. I was just three when I moved there with my parents and brother.

It was always full of life; as children we had friends round to play in the garden, there were permanent bare patches in the grass where the crickets stumps sat. I would play tennis against the back wall for hours on end.

In later years, whenever I returned home, Dad would be pottering about in the garage or shed and Mum’s washing was always billowing on the line.

Being beside a public footpath people often knocked on the door or leant over the gate to say hello as they passed by.

Since the death of my parents - Mum in 2021, Dad the following year - the house has an entirely different feel, as though it has lost its soul. It sounds crazy but it feels like our house is mourning the loss of what has been.

As Philip Larkin wrote in his poem Home is so Sad:

‘It stays as it was left,

Shaped to the comfort of the last to go

As if to win them back. Instead, bereft

Of anyone to please, it withers so.’

Sorting through the house, every item has a memory: the tea towel hanger I bought for my parents from Helmsley Market with my pocket money, the wooden spoons worn away on one side from my mum’s constant cake mixing, my dad’s rucksack that accompanied him on thousands of walks, the thumb sticks he carved from hazel branches and gave to B&B guests walking the coast to coast or Cleveland Way.

Once we kids left home Mum turned the house into a B&B and for years it was filled with walkers, their boots lined up on the doorstep.

One of the most poignant sights in our empty home is my dad’s overalls hanging on the back of his office door. A journalist, he worked from home and if he wasn’t at his desk - as kids we could hear the clatter of his typewriter as we played in the garden - he would be up a ladder painting windows or trimming the Virginia creeper.

My parents were what made the house our home; their presence is still keenly felt throughout each room.

Those walls played host to so much: family nights by the fire watching Morecambe and Wise, birthday parties, Christmases, us kids thundering up and down stairs.

Our dinner table - retaining its polished surface after 60-plus years thanks to Mum’s elbow power - played host to thousands of meals including Mum’s unrivalled beef stews, Yorkshire puddings and bilberry pies.

The wide window sills provided sunny spots where our cats would bask before heading out mousing.

It’s hard to believe that this is all gone. The sandstones and mortar remain, the rooms are still there, the fireplaces, the garden - it’s there, it’s our house, but it’s not.

As Larkin concludes his poem:

‘You can see how it was:

Look at the pictures and the cutlery.

The music in the piano stool. That vase.’

Soon, the house will no longer be a part of my life. I am sad but I know that, for me, leaving it is the right thing to do. It’s no longer the house I knew. I will take comfort in remembering my family home as it was.