You find me sat in the lounge, watching one of those episodes of Location, Location, Location where they revisit couples. I cannot take to tonight’s couples at all. Now before their friends and relatives call me all sorts of rude names, it really isn’t their fault. Tonight is the quiet before the storm. Tomorrow is a point of no return for Pete and I.
Our home is lovely, we did everything to it we could afford when we moved in. Walls out, new wiring, new plumbing, new roof, new flooring, new kitchen, new bathroom, whole house repainted, refurnished….. It was a case of everything had to be done. We had saved, as you do, and the house was perfect. By and large still is perfect. But…..
There is a but. I will get to it, promise. But first, let me take you back to our home search. We were originally gazumped on a house just down the road. Number 3 on the street we now live on. It stung. After this experience we did what a lot of people do in such situations, we retreated. Off the market, flipping the imaginary bird to the estate agents who actively deceived us on that sale. But eventually the burden of living too big in too small a house reared its head again, and the search recommenced. At one point, we saw what we thought was THE house. In an area I loved, and had dreamed of living in, already renovated, compact garden. I thought lets go for it, and lets put in an offer. We offered after just having a nose through the windows and a sneak into the garden. Perfect, great kitchen, lets go for it. The offer was put forward, and then I noticed an open afternoon, and popped over a week later. Downstairs, I was anxious seeing other people there. I don’t know if everyone feels like that when viewing houses they really like in groups with other buyers, but I became almost territorial prematurely if they were hanging around. I ran upstairs. Bathroom, smallish but ok, front bedroom- great guest room, master bedroom…… I looked out the window, and I saw it. My heart dropped. The garden was half the size of next door. And next door to that. And next door to that. They had shaved it off and sold it on to another house. I would never, EVER, have looked out of my bedroom window and not felt peeved that my garden was half the size of everyone else’s. I blurted out to Pete on a drive to his cousins wedding that I didn’t want it. I drove him mad, but over the course of the weekend, and a lot of wine, he agreed with me.
So back to our current property. This time around, we found ourselves with a new home and lots to be done by tradesmen. We cleared the garden early doors and looking back at the size of the garden and the home we now owned, one thing was quite obvious to us- our house was the exception on our street. That exception being that ours was one of only 3 without any extension whatsoever. That’s no conservatory, no full extension, no kitchen add-on. Nothing. So that planted a seed for us- the house can grow with us. It became inevitable we would.
With house prices rocketing, and Pete and I both able to stretch things a bit, it made sense to seize the opportunity to do the work now. I will admit to you, I’m anxious about it all. It’s hard to make the decision, to decide when is the optimum time to face the months of disruption. I also have to bear in mind the additional stress this is going to bring. Can I tell you one thing about my job at the moment- there is so much work to do, and more work waiting behind it I cannot think straight. It feels like my to do list is being ghostwritten by some masochist who hates me, and new additions to that list constantly run around my head. So do you know what, the addition of major building work, a house full of tradesmen, a West Highland Terrier desperate to get to the fun looking strange men in the back garden, a budget that no doubt will end up being stretched, a thousand and one decisions that need to be made, stressed neighbours coping with skips and vans parking on the road and umpteen other things I can’t predict right now? This can only be a positive thing. Please excuse me whilst I have my emotional breakdown quietly in the living room, so as not to disturb the dog.
If I were to look for the flip side in all this, it offers me the opportunity to try some more inventive cooking. And by inventive, I mean cooking that can be undertaken on less than a metre of work surface and can be cooked on a two hob camping stove powered by a calor gas bottle. So yes, we are talking about a challenging prospect here. I have a lovely fitted kitchen, I honestly do. The only issue is, its no longer fitted. Two thirds of it is in the little bedroom upstairs, having been carted up the stairs by Pete and I. A situation that has thus far a 100 per cent success rate in ending up with the two of us telling each other much we piss each other off.
This was my expression all weekend long. It’s pure joy. And this 80’s style cut off t shirt was the only item from my working/gardening clothes collection Pete saw fit to keep for me when he packed them away. He hates me, I’m sure of it.
For context, this is what I’m cooking in for now.
My favourite touch is the little plastic bowl in the middle of the floor to catch any drips. The glamour.
So welcome to my next 4 months. I don’t kid myself it will be challenging. But the outcome will be rewarding, A fourth bedroom, a bigger kitchen and living space, bigger shelves for my cookbooks, a big centre island unit that screams for me to knead my bread on, gorgeous lighting already chosen, wallpaper in the living room I’ve had my eyes on for ages. The positives, gotta keep those in mind. Because when I’m getting in from work after an hour in the gym to a house full of dust, with dinner ahead of me and a sit down seemingly far out of my reach, such things will need to be my mantra. “American style fridge freezer” I shall chant. “Banquette seating at my dining table” I will repeat as I mop the hall for the 4th time this week. “Space for a full sized Welsh dresser” I will silently say to myself on days where the heavens open and very little progress is made. I cannot control much in the world, but I can manage my own expectations. This isn’t me being cynical for comedy purposes. Its self preservation. Heaven knows, enjoy any mirth right now, the rest of the my posts may just be me posting this image below saying “still not finished”. You’ll LOVE those blog posts, I’m telling you.