Dear Philip, January 2011
January 25, 2011
Welcome to my new house. It's been a year since I put our house on the market, but never once did I really wonder whether I should do it or not, and I am so pleased now that I am finally in my new home.
The last few weeks were pretty traumatic, with the person at the top of the chain dithering and messing us about. It turned out that she was in rented accommodation, and had a four month commitment, so no wonder she wasn't in a hurry to move. But pressure on her prevailed in the end, I guess. It certainly was a stressful time - as they say - up there with death and divorce.
Let me show you around. This room I am in at the moment is my bedroom as well as my office. It is big enough for both - 20 feet long - and the kids even managed last weekend to get the big bed upstairs (which the removal men refused to do) by chopping off part of one of the legs. It is the bed you made for us, forty-three years ago, and it is important for me to continue to use it. I slept on a single bed last week, before the bed was manhandled up - and I nearly fell out countless times.
If I try really hard and look out of the dormer window at the far end of this room, I can see Mellor Church. That was part of the view from both our other homes, and also the place we walked most Sundays - so that is important to me too. The trees will block my view in the summer, but at least I will know it is there. That was the one regret from moving from the other house - losing the wonderful views. But this place has enough advantages to make up for it.
Because of the limited clearance of the stairway, the removal men couldn't bring up any wardrobes or dressers either, so my clothes are hanging on ironing rails over the two beautiful wooden doors. There was no way I was going to make a hole in that wood, and although I have been warned that hanging things from the door might hurt the hinges, it is only a temporary solution, as Stephanie has
promised me her hanging rail.
My en suite bathroom (each bedroom has their own) is carpeted. You would have thought that was so stupid - and it probably is in some ways. But the shower is water tight (unlike the shower in the downstairs bedroom which doesn't have a carpeted floor). And there is a velux window, and expel air and a radiator to make sure the room doesn't get damp. It is so lovely to get up to the loo in the night and not get cold feet.
The bathroom is quite small - but long, tapering so much of the space isn't terribly useful. But it did occur to me, when I first used it, that if I needed to, I could use both the toilet and the sink at the same time - like in an extreme of stomach flu. Sorry, if that image is distasteful - and it wasn't one of the selling points on the estate agent's brochure - but I am glad to know that, just in case.
The room opposite this is very similar, but slightly narrower. I have said the grandchildren can use it when they come to stay, which pleases the girls no end. Their loo has orange glass blocks for the shower, while mine has green. All the rooms are painted magnolia - which suits me for the moment.
The staircase is beautifully done - even with the low clearance for furniture. The railings are the same beautiful oak as all the doors and floors in much of the house. You can tell the man who extended and updated it (while he was living in it and also doing a full time job) was an artist. I don't think much of his paintings, but I do like his taste is house design.
Then we come to the front hall - which is large enough to do all that needs to be done. I have put the coat rail and a small table there. One room opening off it is the downstairs bathroom, with a huge oval bath. I can vouch for the fact that it is long enough to submerge one's head when shampooing, which I was somewhat concerned about, having developed that habit in our old very long bath. But there is also a very efficient shower head, so that isn't necessary. The floor in there is wood, again which seems somewhat impractical, but it looks nice.
The downstairs double bedroom - also entered off the front hall, is currently being used as a place to put anything and everything that I can't fit in anywhere else - so there are two wardrobes, twp dressers and a desk in there. And when I find the bolts for it, I will put a single bed in there too. That will be the guest room, although I will be using that en suite (which has two tank like sinks in it) as a utility room for the time being.
The other door off the front hall goes to the room that makes the house special - the kitchen. There are three windows and French doors - so it is wonderfully light, and with the oak floor and pretty units, it just looks such a tempting place to work and live in. The bottom part I have furnished with the couch and chair, so I can use it as an entertainment room too.
The dining room, which opens off the bottom of the kitchen, is just a room - but I have put our old kitchen hutch, dining table and chairs in there, so it almost looks as the one we had in the old house. Except the view out of the French doors is of a very small garden - rather than the huge one I left behind. But it is a pretty garden, and the birds have finally condescended to try my offerings. (The man next door has loads of bird feeders and even a dovecote - so I had to try ham rind to entice them.)
The best thing about the house is that it is warm. I keep looking at the various thermometers. Unlike our previous home, if they read 17º or 18º, I am very comfortable, and if the house ever gets up to 20º, I am thinking it is too hot. I haven't used the electric heaters at all, and we have had some cold days in the last 10 days since I moved in. So I am thinking my gas and electric bills will be far lower.
The garage, which is large and unattached, is chock a block with boxes and bits, which may well stay like that for months if not years. The removal people couldn't believe all the junk I brought with me - years of accumulated memories not only from us, but from our kids and your parents.
The neighbours have been very friendly - and each day so far, I have walked into the town for something, so I am sure I will be healthier as well as happier here. You wouldn't really have liked this house all that much - but it suits me just fine, and it is nice to have something that I chose myself this time. There are lots of memories of you that come with the furniture and pictures, so you don't need to worry that you will be forgotten. That could never happen.
And by the way, thank you for the beautiful sunset on the day I moved in. Now that you are in charge, in heaven, as I am sure you are, it was a very nice house warming gift.
Lots of love,