How NOT to buy houses.

(Entry IV)

We decided to move after two years and fell in love with still the most beautiful house I’ve ever thought I might actually have a chance of living in, on a quieter road, with a big, safe garden. Womble would have loved that garden, poor little guy…We had our offer accepted, and then were gazumped. Twice. Ugly tears were cried. We had already sold our house, so were forced to move in with my mother AGAIN. So upset by the theft of our dream townhouse, we decided to move to the countryside, where future pets could run free, safe from cars and drug dens, and where no one would feel the need to leave an egg on our doorstep. Or a whole kebab. Still a mystery to this day… 

We found our soon to be next home in the pursuit of our new yet suddenly very important country dream, an idyllic farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, which we viewed on a glorious sunny day. We were transported straight into a scene from the Darling Buds of May. It had it all, an orchard, a greenhouse, a huge established vegetable garden, outbuildings ripe for conversion and character features were in abundance. We were hooked. We then fell into a common pitfall of house searches: not viewing again under different circumstances. That same house, on an overcast day, swiftly showed its true colours as a dark, dingy, bone-cold fortress of misery. And, sadly for me, I am NOT exaggerating. 

Always, always, when you go for a second viewing, go at a different time of day and if possible, in rotten weather conditions. If you can’t do this, then at least do a drive-by at other times to look AND listen to what’s going on. Are the roads that were full of ample parking at 11 am, bumper to bumper with cars at 6 pm when you would be getting home from work? We have since visited a house that, on the first sunny viewing, we were ready to move hell and high water to buy, but on the second, wet weather viewing, was suddenly damp smelling and when no longer viewed through sun-tinted glasses, was actually small and dark. A house you still feel at home in on a bad weather day is a true contender because let’s face it, we’re not exactly known for our glorious weather in this country, are we. 

Anyway, back to the farmhouse from hell. I should mention at this point, that when I’ve got my ‘unattainable dreams of youth’ hat on, I am a singer-songwriter. I know, cool right. Well, the house came with a perfect room to be my home studio/dining room. What could be better than a home studio/dining room in the middle of nowhere? You may ask. Well, this particular farmhouse was a) opposite a dairy farm, and cows, as it transpires, are extremely very loud. And really, really smelly. b) Just down the road was a helicopter and small airstrip with a flying school. Like, two fields away. These are both things that many would simply be able to learn not to hear (like the future time we lived really near a railway station), but sadly, whereas my human ears quickly learned to unhear these things (go me), it turns out that electronic home studios are not yet equipped with such a function, and every single recording I sent to my producer featured an unwelcome backing track. 

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