“But your old house was so nice!”
“But your old house was so nice!” That’s what my friend said as I enthusiastically gave her a mini tour around Starre Corner. It was just a month after we'd moved into our forever home. I don’t think that I will ever forget the look of horror as I guided her from room to room of my dilapidated dream house. Thankfully most of my other friends hid their horror well and offered us words of support; generally along the lines of if anyone can pull this off it’s you. That was almost three years ago now. She hasn’t been back since but I fear if she did she’d be even more alarmed. (Just for the record we are still good friends).
My journey of getting to Starre Corner was a long and stressful one. I’ve moved a fair few times before but this time the housing market was tricky; mortgage offers had shorter shelf lives and house prices had begun to sore. House sellers were being greedy and buyers jittery. Skill-less estate agents were stirring the housing pot and making matters ten times worse. I am truly thankful I don’t see myself moving again.
Hubby and I searched high and low for our forever home; from Northumberland all the way down to Lands End. The brief seemed simple but our budget was tight and our search requirements a little unusual; a detached house with a garden which hadn’t been modified, bodged or ‘enhanced’ for the past 40+ years. We wanted a project with potential but shuddered at the thought of 1970’s Artex or 80’s MDF built-in wardrobes. We viewed one beautiful house after another with our hearts sinking the moment we stepped inside. So many houses ruined by dodgy DIY attempts and low budget makeovers; character and original charm had been ripped out and replaced with MDF and woodchip. I’ll never forget almost dying with laughter as a proud home owner demonstrated with pride his 20 year old tilt and turn plastic window. It was the best thing he’d ever done to his home (in his opinion at least). I fled in despair and crossed another one off my list.
I’d cancelled my appointment to see Starre Corner three times even though we’d earmarked Norfolk as one of our top target counties (Yorkshire was a close contender). On paper it just wasn’t right. I couldn’t get my head around the online floor plans; access to the middle bedroom was through one of the outer bedroom. Each outer bedroom had its own Norfolk winder staircase. How could that work for a modern family? Eventually viewing it came down to fate. After a mini diva meltdown, induced by overbearing officious estate agents and unreliable buyers I declared I needed a walk on a windswept beach to clear my head. Every obliging, Mark bundled me in my car and drove to Norfolk. With no expectations I casually called Starre Corner’s estate agent to see if anyone was free for a viewing. Amazingly they’d just had a cancellation, making a last minute viewing quite possible. “We’ll just take a look” I muttered to Mark. “We won’t like it. It’s not right for us at all”. I wondered why we were even bothering.
Love at first sight has happened to me twice now. The first time was when I met Mark. I knew I would marry him the minute I walked into The Cock and Bull pub in Stoney Stratford and saw him (he didn't feel the same - in fact he thought 'frosty old cow'). Despite the same emotion when I viewed Starre Corner I was less convinced of the outcome.
That’s where I leave this blog post here. The road to happiness is never quick and easy and the story is too long for one short blog post. TBC……