LAURA CARTLEDGE: There’s no place quite like your first home...

Marvin Gaye sang ‘wherever I lay my hat (that’s my home)’.

To a certain extent I’ve felt the same.

I lived in five houses before I was 13 and spent my university years in Liverpool.

At one point I had a grandad in Germany, another in Grantham and an uncle in America.

It’s not an uncommon scenario, less so in our fast paced world, and as is often the case I guess you don’t notice it until you stay still.

Recently, my partner and I have had a dual existence.

In fact the last four years have seen me flit between Emsworth and Bognor so much that my usual answer to ‘what did you get up to this weekend?’ Is ‘I spent most of it on the A27’.

But as of Saturday that all changed. It was a big change.

Big, pricey, grown-up change.

But brilliant – we finally have a place to call our own. And all the fun that comes with it.

The second part, I’ll admit, I haven’t spent much time thinking about. My brain has been too occupied with learning about exciting things like mortgages, solicitors, stamp duty and surveyors. So I, naïvely, thought this bit would be a breeze full of fun conversations like deciding which funky shower curtain to get. How little we knew.

It’s only the beginning isn’t it? Which explains the knowing looks on our parents’ faces.

So much so I wouldn’t be surprised if they all set up camp outside the living room window with popcorn just to get best view as the next few weeks/months/years unfold.

If the discussions we’ve already had are anything to go by (about the price of potatoes) it is going to be less glam than I’d hoped.

We are taking it a day, or rather a box, at a time.

By the end of the weekend we could happily declare, when asked, that downstairs was box free. Everything had its place. Even if that place, for the 101 spare forks at least, was in the charity box.

The sphinx heads, wooden elephants, glass ornaments and shells from long forgotten beaches also have found a home – albeit temporary – we are calling it ‘souvenir corner’.

Our main worry for a while, scoff if you will, has been that we ran the risk of the new house resembling a gift shop.

This is a precautionary measure.

And a needed one, if the pile of magnets where the fridge is meant to be is anything to go by.

We need to stop the spread, at least until we have unpacked.

Speaking of which bedroom two has become code for ‘if in doubt’.

‘Pompey tickets?’ someone would shout, carrying a box into the house, and ‘bedroom two?’ was the reply.

Same with spare bedding, lonely bedside tables and anything flatpacked.

There is some method among the madness however. A beacon of hope. And that’s my teapot cabinet.

My five prized specimens have shed the bubblewrap and now have pride of place. For now.