Saturday, July 30, 2005

A New Home?

We may have a new home. Fingers crossed.

We trundled down the M1/M69 this morning with five houses to view. We ended up viewing six.

The first was a farmhouse near Harbury, down its own track with two gates to open and close to keep the sheep in. It stands completely on its own in fields, about half a mile from the village. It has quarry tiled floors and original fireplaces – and some serious damp in the cellar that is not so much creeping as gushing up the central wall, giving the lounge a musty smell. And this is the middle of summer! We loved it, but fretted about the damp and the size – really it is too big for just the pair of us. And as we’ve only got one car, I’d have to get my bike out if I wanted a pint of milk – the realities of rural living. Nice though - some part of me dreams of having such a house.

We popped into the estate agent while we were there. Five minutes later, he was in our car directing us to the next village along, where some tenants were just moving out of a property. “They’re from Nottingham!” he’d brushed aside objections from the landlord who was with the tenants at the property. “They’ll understand about the mess.”

We didn’t understand about the dog sick, or the hamster bedding in the downstairs toilet and utility room. And we hated the kitchen anyway, it was tiny and dark. We made polite noises and pleaded lateness for our next appointment.

Which was a new-ish semi. Nice enough. But very small, no countryside views, nothing really to warm to. The letting agent kept checking his watch, so we hurried out, happy to move on.

Next stop – Fenny Compton. Pretty little village, just at the top end of the Cotswolds. We started to see the lovely honey coloured Cotswolds stone appearing, along with a cluster of hills. The keys to the house were held by a local farmer and his wife, so we visited their farmhouse to pick them up. A very large, very friendly dog rubbed its face happily on my trousers, leaving two pale dusty patches on the black fabric. The farmer’s wife told us how friendly the village was, and gave us a copy of the village newsletter. They both wondered at how the property had stood empty for so long. “There was a lot of interest at first, and then it went quiet,” she said. I’d asked the letting agent about that, and been told that some work had been done to it, and that a tenant had been lined up and then dropped out. “Hmmmm,” they said.

The house itself is ten years old and backs onto fields. Someone had left a door open and a bird had got in, which was rather painfully evident from the state of the carpets. However, I had been warned about this by the agent, and promised that the place would be cleaned. Other than this, it seemed fine. Big kitchen, good size rooms, nice views. Quiet road. What, we wondered, could be wrong with it?

We moved on. An old farm workers cottage wedged in countryside between an army barracks and a vehicle testing track (not that you could tell). But it was also beside a busy road and had holes chewed in the corners of the carpets. Mice, perhaps? There was certainly room for them to get up through the floorboards. And the place seemed to be full of dead flies. I had a very uncomfortable feeling about it, although Rick thought it was OK.

Last stop – a barn conversion outside Offchurch that I had been assured would be available in time for us. As we stepped through the builders dust on concrete floors and eyed wires hanging out of the plaster, and no shower door in place …. I doubted it very much. Besides, any views that there might have been were obscured by other buildings and a very large workshop where prototype models are built. Interesting - fascinating even - but also noisy. And there were no windows as such upstairs – just skylights.

We found a wonderful farm shop (Hilltops, I think) with tea room and view over fields. We had something to eat (chocolate cake and cream in my case, I’m afraid) and discussed our options. There was only one that we felt comfortable with – the house at Fenny Compton. We are curious about why it’s been empty for a while, but if we take a six month lease, we are not tied in if it turns out something is wrong with it. So now, of course, I’m just worried in case someone else gets it! Told you I’m a worrier. I can see Monday being a bit fraught, what with applying for this house and waiting to hear whether we’ve exchanged on our sale. I can’t wait until all this is over.


Blogger Sue said...

Carole it sounds delightful, as do the farmer, his wife and their large friendly dog.
So pleased things are working out.

9:20 pm  
Blogger Carole said...

Thanks, Sue. I do hope so.

9:03 am  

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