The further adventures of Stan -19
During last week, I viewed each of the houses that I had pinpointed as being suitable, and found that there was one that I felt I just so much wanted. I almost made an offer as I went out the door. The man who owned it showed me around, and you could tell how proud he was of his workmanship, as he had done the extension and revamp of the property. All the plaster was new, and all the paint fresh. All the windows and doors had been replaced with huge modern doubled glazed varieties. The roof was new, and although I didn't care much for the way the yard was paved, it was all recently done. All the doors were proper oak – beautiful wood. The wooden floors were clean and polished.
But I wanted my girls to feel that I had made the right decision, so I invited them to come with me today, to view it again. They both love looking at houses, so jumped at the chance. I chose Wednesday for a reason. Today is the day Stan was supposed to be coming home, and I don't want to be there waiting for him.
My elder daughter, Sarah, was the first to arrive with her daughter Susie.
“So what has made you take this decision, Mother, in such a hurry?” she asked. “I know you love this house and of course it was home for all of us kids – so it will be hard for us to say good bye to it.”
“I've been thinking about it for a long time, Sarah, and really feel it is so much bigger than I need. And now that I have made my decision, it really seems like it is the sort of thing I should have done years ago.”
“And what will happen to your lodger?” she asked, as I knew she would.
“Oh, he can find somewhere else,” I said casually.
“What does he think about all this?”
“He doesn't know yet. He's still on holiday, but should be back tonight.”
“So you are going to greet him with the news that he has to find some place else to live?” she asked. “I do think you are making a very sensible decision Mum. As you know, I never did like the idea of you having him here with you, and although you never acknowledged it, he was taking advantage of you.”
“I think you probably were right all along, Sarah. I don't mind admitting it now. And having a smaller house in the middle of town will make me feel much more relaxed about living alone.”
My younger daughter Angela and her daughter Natalia arrived, as always on the last minute, and we got into Angela's car to drive to our house viewing.
Marple isn't a big town – only 25,000 or so inhabitants – so by moving a mile or so into the centre of the town wasn't like moving to a new town. I would keep all my same activities, church, doctor, and I had friends all over the area, so no doubt would know some of my new neighbours no matter
where I moved to.
Our drive was only a matter of five minutes or so, and when we arrived outside the house Angela spoke first. “This is a very odd house,” she said. “It doesn't have a front door, and it looks from the road, as if it is a continuation of the other bungalow that it is attached to. But I suppose you can change that if you decide to buy it.”
The house not only had a huge untidy eight foot hedge around it, it also had high wooden gates and fencing panels, making it look rather foreboding.
“Are you sure you want to move to a place like this?” put in Sarah. “It sort of looks like a prison, and so dark.”
“It's much better from inside,” I said. “Take a look anyway before you condemn it completely.”
We went through a small gate, and up to the back door, which was obviously the only door, and
The owner, Mr. McGinnety, came to the door and asked us to come in.
It was a cool day, and as soon as we stepped into the front hall, we were greeted by lovely warm air. It seemed very inviting. And the front hall, although rather small, was so pretty. There was a wooden floor which we could see extended to the rooms ahead and to the side, and the staircase was spiral, with a lovely wooden balustrade.
The man opened the solid wooden door into the kitchen and we went in. It was delightful, and very bright. Reaching perhaps 24 feet long, there were windows on three sides making it very cheerful – which put paid to the argument that the girls had had about it being dark and dreary.
The kitchen units were in black and white, modern and shiny – and the girls were both very impressed with the range cooker – something both of them would have liked in their own homes. The wooden floor extended the length of the room, and a huge mirror placed strategically about half way along, cleverly reflected more light back into the room. There were blinds on all the windows, but no curtains.
The far end of this room was furnished like a lounge area – and almost seemed like a conservatory. There were double glass doors into the dining area. Again this room made the very best use of the patio door by having a huge mirror on the back wall. The dining room table and chairs showed that six could easily sit in the room, but at the moment, the man, had one of his paintings in progress on the table, leading to the obvious question, “Are you a painter?”
“I only dabble in it as a hobby,” he said.
But when we went into the living room, which was the first one with carpet and curtains, we could see the extent of his hobby was quite far reaching. There were large portraits of very pretty young girls on the wall. “Are those your children?” Sarah asked.
“Yes,” he replied, but without adding any details.
The rest of the walls were covered with a variety of brightly painted oils – depicting bits of cars, as far as I could tell, although they were very modern in their presentation. The living room was disappointingly small, but bright and adequate to my purposes. He had installed a system whereby music could be plugged into any room in the house which he was very pleased to tell us about.
Having done the main living areas, we now backtracked and he showed us the bathroom, across from the front door. It was large and contained a huge claw foot bath, as well as the usual bits and pieces.
"The children could almost use it as a swimming pool," said Angela, obviously impressed.
Next we went into his bedroom, a large double room, again beautifully furnished. I wouldn't have minded one bit if he was selling the house as it was, as I really appreciated his choice of furnishings and decorations. He showed us his en suite – which had two large sinks – and again a mirror that stretched for six feet at least above the sinks. The shower was large and of the walk-in variety.
Next we went upstairs, and there was a small landing with little areas on each side where things might be stored. The first bedroom was the full length of the house again – so 20 feet long, and although bits of the ceiling were sloping, they had been built in such a way that they looked attractive and there seemed plenty of head room. The single bed had a teddy on it, and Natalia made a bee line for that, and picked it up.
“Oh, no, you don't,” said her mother, trying to get it off her.
“This is where my daughter stays when she comes to visit,” said the man. “so it's her old teddy, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you played with it for awhile.”
There was an en suite in this room too, and the glass wall tiles were green, as were the overhead
light fittings in the room. Even though the windows were small, they produced sufficient light. There were radiators on both ends, making the room very cosy. The en suite had a velux window.
The opposite bedroom was a mirror image – except the tiles and the lights were orange.
I was absolutely in love with the house, and I'm sure my face gave me away. And both my daughters were smiling and making the sorts of comments that led to me believe that they thought this house would suit me very well.
The man then showed us the garden – which he admitted was not an interest of his. It was overgrown, and with the high hedge, very private, and although it wasn't a feature, I was sure that with a bit of care, it could be a very pleasant place to sit out with its south facing aspect.
The garage was detached and the man 's black sports car was about the only thing in it, except for a few gardening implements.
“I love this house,” I said to him as we shook hands, “and I would love to buy it. I will be in touch with the agent.”
“I'm pleased that you like it,” he said. “Having put so much of myself into it, I want the person who gets it to love it as much as I do.”
The girls and granddaughters came back to my house for a drink and piece of cake before they went back home.
“Are you going to have your boarder in one of those upstairs rooms?” asked Angela, who hadn't been around when I had told Sarah my decision.
“No, he'll be finding some place else to live now,” I said, without going into details.
“Oh, I am pleased about that. We could come to visit you, and the grandchildren could have one of the upstairs rooms, and we could have the other. They would just love to drive their trikes and cars on your very long passage from the front door to the dining room and back.”
“It doesn't need much doing to it either,” added Sarah. “You could paint it and put up some Roman blinds, and maybe change the kitchen units, but the basics like the beautiful wooden doors and floor are really very nice indeed.”
“I like the white walls, and I have plenty of curtains I can use if I decide I want them. The blinds seem to work for the short term.”
They soon had to leave to avoid the motorway rushes, but I certainly had their blessings both in regard to buying the house, and in getting rid of Stan.
During the viewing of the house, my phone rang several times, and I noticed a few texts all from Stan, and not being ready yet to confront him, I turned my phone off.
But when I got home and all the excitement had died down, I suddenly remembered that I hadn't switched my phone back on again. So when I did this, I saw the last phone call attempt had been from Stan's step-father. Now the only reason I could think of why he would be contacting me was if there was a problem. And despite my annoyance with Stan, I didn't want him to be in trouble.