Monday, 22 February 2010

House Hunting: Moving moments


We moved into our fnal resting place in 2001 on Halloween to be precise, six years later as I contemplated calling the builders in  for Phase II of the R£NOVATION, I spent my time day dreaming especially about those little ways and means of making the budget stretch just that little bit further....
"I swear the chimney creaked today. So I have been eyeing all day. As the winds howl round it and sleet slaps into it horizontally, I swear it must be moving - I actually want it to fall down! I long for it to fall down.
Just think of the damage a nine-foot chimney could do. Not those tall skinny ones on the more modern house such as a Georgian or Victorian one but a good old Tudor/Jacobean one, which houses an inglenook the size of a highly desirable London bed-sit.
Bearing in mind the Westerly gale, it should fall down the eastern part of the roof smashing through the attic, crashing across the small room, hopefully catching Charlie’s bedroom window on the way down. Wrecking the render perhaps? A good honest bit of damage. Roughly, what? Say £30,000 - £40,000.
I almost feel like walking along the roof ridge to give it a bit of a nudge. However, after some 450 years of being up there, my hopes are hardly likely to come true – I’ll just have to resort to the Lottery again.
Oh, how happy and na├»ve we were when we heard that the house was ours. The euphoria carried us for weeks and then the business of moving again cast a cloud over my existence. This would be the third move in two years – I suddenly realised just what my poor mother had to put up with following my father round the world with increasing regularity.
Whereas the move from London had been organised and slick, the move to Rookyard from rented accommodation was anything but. There was no Charlie to help; he was too tired of an evening to pack everything away. So it was left to me. I tried to put everything back in the right boxes but this time instead of knowing where everything was I didn’t and I didn’t know where I it was going either!
The pressure was increased when our landlord kindly informed us that he had already let the house we were renting to the underbidders – the family that had gone on holiday.
F**k!!
So, there I was, frantically packing and cleaning and longing to get out of there before the Underbidders turned up. They were due to come round the house on the day we moved out. With luck we shouldn’t meet.
Luck’s not like that.
In the middle of slapping post it notes on the boxes, scrubbing the banisters, stuffing the cats into their basket, the Jack Russels go off in paroxysms of barking.
And there she is getting out of her gleaming brand new navy blue Volvo – the wife of the Underbidder.
As she stalks her way to the door she barks: “Well we made you pay for it!”
She enters: “Well, you haven’t done much with this place have you?”
She stomps upstairs: “Well, we’ll have to get them to make this room up, I’m not paying all this rent for that.”
I haven’t uttered a word, my mind has atrophied with shock and all the things I should be saying just don’t.
Me: “Well, umm, would you like some tea?”
To my horror she says yes and then as I heroically scramble about and search for the kettle among all the newspapers, cardboard boxes, crates and suitcases, the removal men turn up and it’s all systems go, but she’s still there. Still wanting tea. Running from Kitchen to drawing room I manage to oversee a semblance of packing and at the same time carry out teatime inanities.
It is such a relief when she leaves I don’t notice that the removal men have completed the packing without me and suddenly the house is empty - everything is gone.
The relief is huge – then I remember that they don’t have a key for Rookyard and where the hell are the cats? Packed!

7 comments:

Mud in the City said...

Phew. I think I need to sit down and have a drink after reading that! Here I sit at the other side of the world as builders do Stuff to my flat in London. Slightly nerve wracking really!

Heather said...

goodness me that sounds like a lot of work.

Blossomcottage said...

The best thing anyone who has an old house can do is keep their rose tinted specs in pristine condition. My ex husband used to say that old houses were concrete lions they would eat every bit of income in sight, but the he would a nice bungalow recently built was more up his street.
As for under bidders mmmm we have just bought a holiday home and we got into a bit of a price war with some people who have a house up the road, we won but oh dear they are still up the road! will have to soon go and make my peace! Good lucck with the chimney

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I've learnt a lot about old houses these past few years, and a lot about the maintenence which comes with them. Money and patience.

CJ xx

Preseli Mags said...

Still laughing at the bit about wanting the chimney to fall through the roof. I wonder if ours could contrive to give the roof a good thwack and then take out the horrid extension on the way down? Not a chance, but I have thought about it!
PS: Were you too polite to spit in Mrs Underbidder's tea? It would have seemed appropriate under the circumstances.

Tattie Weasle said...

Mud - sometimes it's better you don't see what the buildres are up to....!!!
Heather - it was and is but seriously we're nearly there just another decade and we can relax..
Blossom - but where's the romance in a bungalow unless of course it was in India! As for the underbidders they're still in the area but luckily I forget who they are each and every time I see them.
CJ - ooodles of patience!
Preseli Mags - I was so sorely tempted by that chimney now you would never know and it does look so beautiful. I swear it has a fan club. People actually stop at the end of the drive to admire it!
As for Mrs Underbidder - oh I wish I had but will remember for next time...if I deign to actually recognise her! (It drives her bonkers....)

Diney said...

She sounds such a baggage - I wouldn't have been as polite to offer her a cuppa! I've learned much about old houses too - they eat money! Especially in this Baltic weather, as we aren't able to have double glazing on our windows (a listed building) so we suffer for our heritage! Poor cats, by the way!

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