Hubby and I met in May 1989 and set up home together in a rented flat in October.
It had one bedroom and was in a house conversion with a two bedroomed flat above.
Ours had a lovely bright lounge at the front with an archway recessed window, kitchen diner, bedroom (which was the original dining room) and the adjoining outhouse had been converted to a separate bathroom and loo.
Heating was gas and hot water via a combi boiler which proved very expensive to run.
There was no shower over the bath due to low water pressure, so we tried using one of those tap attachments which was good for washing our hair, but not as a shower hose.
I remember his mother’s reaction when we told her we were renting a place together. She was interested in where I was going to sleep, and we told her the bedroom.
Then she asked where her son was going to sleep, and we said ‘The Bedroom’.
‘Oh,’ she said. Then louder ‘OH! But you only have one bedroom!’
We grinned, and shortly afterwards, they left, she in complete silence.
Other Brother lent us a three piece suite, the settee of which converted to a double bed in case we had visitors stay. I had some furniture from my previous relationship, which included a double bed, wardrobe, dressing table and sideboard unit, plus my Clavinova 7 electronic piano.
Our first Christmas was done on a miniscule budget, buying gifts from car boot sales, and we ate our Christmas dinner at the coffee table. Our tree cost £1 being the broken top off a larger one.
It was one of the best Christmasses ever. I have old kodak pictures in storage, and one of the intentions for our new home is to cover a second hand coffee table with our old photographs under a glass top.
In the New Year of 1990, we held a little ceremony over the toilet pan and flushed all my depression medication away. I had so many pills in so many colours, we stained the porcelain and couldn’t get it clean. I started using loo blu after that to colour the bowl water and hide our artwork.
Although there was no need to do any DIY as it was a new conversion, we did have a little problem with an indoor waterfall in the kitchen.
The girl upstairs was washing her hair and the sink hadn’t been sealed in their bathroom so the water started to seep through the ceiling and down the walls.
Basically though, that was the only problem, and we were very tempted to buy it.
1990 was the year the Poll Tax came into force replacing the property rating system. Basically, if you breathed and were over 18, regardless of where you were living or with whom, you had to pay a personal tax cunningly called The Community Charge.
This caused rioting and unrest in major cities (data source).
Our landlord decided to put our rent up by 25% and we simply couldn’t afford it all, which is why we looked at buying.
I was entitled to a mortgage subsidy with the bank which would be included in my wages, so our first house hunting session began.
The flat was devaluing by the day which is why we decided against it, though if we had been able to afford both flats, we would have converted it back to a house and probably never moved!
We ended up buying a cluster home, again one bedroom, on an estate. We had one corner of the four and the largest garden. However, we couldn’t utilise it due to access problems and the puny conifer border developed into a well established hedge over the years we were there.
But that’s my next story.
Funny how some choice or something out of your hands – like not being able to buy the whole house – can change your life forever.
All part of life’s rich tapestry I suppose!