So, I went to see a house today. To be honest it was WAY out of my price range. I mean a hundred thousand pounds out, but I thought 'what the heck? It's been on the market for over a year, why not?' and off I pootled to check it out.
The estate agents (foul untrustworthy fiends) had painted a picture of a 4 bedroom farmhouse with kitchen, sitting room, dining room and utility room, a couple of acres, stables, outbuildings etc etc. Everything I wanted in my dream world (well, a swimming pool, Library and walk in dressing room wouldn't go amiss either). It looked sort of interesting on the site and over the last year of property searching I have looked at this house over and over again and persuaded myself that perhaps the reason I can't find a house is because this one is perfect and naturally therefore out of my budget. But in these hard pressed times perhaps they would take an offer, a ridiculously low laughable offer. I am an optimist. I booked a viewing.
It was blizzarding as I drove through the lanes, following the directions from the foul, untrustworthy fiends. Naturally these were ludicrous and took me 5 miles out of my way on the most circuitous route possible. Finally I find the house. First problem? You can't turn into the drive. Instead you have to drive past it and reverse in with a lovely three foot drop off on one side of the car. Not encouraging.
The yard was a tip. The 'stables' were a ramshackle corrugated shed, with a second shed randomly placed behind it and then bizarrely a small garden shed with a balcony looking, not at the view, but at the road. Turning my attention to the outside of the house, I see that the doors are painted in seventies brown and the window frames in a shade of yellow that should be illegal. That definitely did not show up on the website but it's all fixable so I refuse to run away and instead, knock on the door.
The man who showed me round said they had lived there for 18 years and had not had to do anything to the house. This might be because it was too messy to see that stuff needed doing to it. I mean in all honesty, it was a tip (I'm always amazed at people who don't tidy up AT ALL when they are trying to sell their house). What I could see was not particularly exciting. The utility room is, well, utilitarian. The downstairs loo had a charming blue loo and sink with contrasting cream loo seat (mmm, nice!). It turns out that if you want to flush the loo you have to run the cold tap on the sink. Really, for hundreds of thousands of pounds, you can get charming personal touches like this.
The kitchen isn't nice or horrible, it's just a kitchen and it turns out to be one of the lightest room in the house. I could see my hands and see that there was only 1 metre of worksurface. However there is a narrow room next door that could be knocked into the kitchen with money I don't have so I refuse to let this get me down. Next we go through a biggish room that is the sitting room but is also the corridor so they have only been able to fit one chair and a short sofa into it. The room is bitterly cold and with no doors on the openings leading out of it, I can't see that getting any better. We turn into the old part of the house and move into what I am told is the 'Dining Room'. The ceilings so low the loyal hound might risk concussion and the walls are painted the colour of an aubergine. It's so dark I trip over a chair. Fumbling towards the doorway on the other side of the room I find myself in a lobby at the foot of stairs so steep I may need crampons to climb them. It turns out that the Master Bedroom is on the other side of the stairs, but on the ground floor. It is also dark and icily cold due to the fact that all the floors are tiled. Now I know that a lick of paint can work wonders but this is all starting to get ridiculous. I feel like a mole, a mole facing the eiger.
I climb the stairs wishing for safety ropes and choose door number two. This is apparently bedroom 3. I'm not sure I'd call a room so small that you can't open the door fully into it a bedroom but there you go. Opposite is a tiny bathroom and then there are two more bedrooms, not small but definitely not big. I take a deep breath and go back down the stairs, beaning myself on the meter box that hangs precariously over them as I go.
Emerging back into the cold wind whipping over the hill I stared across the valley and wondered exactly what I would get for the hundreds of thosands of pounds that I don't have. Concussion? Hypothermia? An inability to see in real daylight?
I know that we all put our hopes and our hard earned cash into our property. It is the ultimate nest egg but this is ridiculous. If that house had been half the price I'm not sure I would consider it and they want twice what it could possibly be worth. They have to be kidding. I'm sticking with the hovel. At least I can see inside it without a flashlight at midday.
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