On letting your spouse choose your house

Inglenook Cottage

Finally, finally, we found somewhere to live and, oh, the relief. We’d got to the stage where we’d seen almost every possible property on the market, and either they weren’t available to us because of the pet issue or they just wouldn’t work for some reason or another. At that point we succumbed to the pressure on Geoff to start work and so a couple of weeks ago he found a temporary place to stay in Nottingham and began his new job.

The day before he started, he viewed a house that had just come on the market. We were so desperate by that stage that we’d probably have taken it sight unseen had we been allowed, so the fact that he’d have to make a decision without me being there or viewing it seemed a fairly minor issue at the time. He saw it, he said yes to it, and our application got under way.

I’d seen the pictures of it on Rightmove, but I know from experience that these can be highly misleading. Geoff described it to me on the phone that night and I could immediately see some problems. He agreed that it wasn’t ideal, being one room short of what we need and with lots of sloping ceilings that made tall furniture difficult to place, and also being a bit too dark inside for my liking. However, he thought we could manage in the short term – especially bearing in mind that the rent was £150 less than what we’re paying at the moment.

That last bit perked me up a little, and this all sounded fine while I was talking to him, but naturally I went into a mini-meltdown when I put the receiver down and could only see all the things that were wrong about it. Could I really trust him to choose a house for me? I had an ‘oh good grief, what have we done?’ sort of feeling going on and by the time we spoke on the phone again the next evening I’d convinced myself it was all a big mistake.

I calmed down after we talked about it a bit more and the obvious thing was to go and have a look for myself, although it would have made little difference by that time – we didn’t really have any other option, apart from me staying here on my own for the foreseeable future, and I didn’t much like the thought of that either.

So, when he went back to Nottingham on the Sunday evening, I went too, and I viewed the house on Monday morning before coming home by train. And I really liked it! Yes, it is too small, and I have no idea where we’re going to store the pieces of furniture we can’t use, but the house itself is lovely – full of charm and character and with a welcoming feel to it.

The main part of it was built in 1603 and it’s as you’d expect – inglenook fireplaces, beamed ceilings, twisty little staircases, odd nooks and crannies, and general quirkiness. The main bedroom is in the converted attic – it’s a lovely room, with a vaulted beamed ceiling and lots of space. OK, the slope of the walls comes down to about two and a half feet from the floor so it’s going to be difficult putting much useful furniture in there, but it more than makes up for it in character and airiness. There’s a wood-burning stove in the living room’s inglenook fireplace, which will be really cosy when it gets colder, and there’s a fabulous range cooker in the kitchen. And while showers in rental places nearly always consist of horrible electric devices that leave you feeling as if you’re trying to get wet under an emanation of light mist, this one has a power shower.

It turns out that the cottage had been used as a guest house/self-catering rental for quite some time, so the standard of the fixtures and fittings is quite a bit higher than usual. And then I discovered by chance that it has its own website dating back to then, and that’s where I took the image at the top from. You want a link to the site, don’t you? Well here it is, but I’ll warn you that the photos on it are absolutely terrible and make it look a lot darker than it really is – www.the4sisters.co.uk The reality is much more attractive than the pictures show and, while downstairs isn’t exactly full of light and brightness, the upstairs rooms (including my study) have enough sunshine coming in (quite literally, in view of my disposition to SAD) to keep me happy.

I’m not sure who was the more relieved that I liked the place – me or Geoff. I guess I should have trusted him after all.

PS: We move on Wednesday, and I’ve no idea how long it will take to hook me up to the internet again, especially as BT hasn’t even furnished us with a phone number yet…….and there will be a few boxes to unpack.  I may be absent for a little while.