We made a mistake of buying on a falling market, but were committed and had to conclude our purchase.
The property was a repossession and had been empty for over a year, so services had been disconnected prior to our interest, though the Building Society assured us everything would be ‘on’.
Some idiot had forgotten to seal the cat flap, so all the neighbourhood moggies had made themselves at home at some stage and the place stank.
The broken window hadn’t been replaced as promised and we had no water or electric.
I hated it from the moment we crossed the threshold.
We had to pay upfront on an emergency call-out for the electricity to be connected, and Hubby’s trusty hammer sorted out the seized water stop cock.
Over the coming weeks, we cleaned and scrubbed. Hubby replaced the foul rubber seal on the built in washing machine (which lasted the entire time we were there and was sold on with the house), and gradually we started to build a home.
Although there was a fitted gas cooker, it was disgustingly filthy, having a glass door covered in such thick residue, it looked solid, so I was glad of the fifty quid second-hand electric one we’d bought for the flat.
Other Brother’s suite wouldn’t fit through the door, so that was returned and we bought a futon sofa for a hundred pounds which kept sliding us to the floor, but it did us until we could buy something more suitable.
Heat was provided by a gas fire in the lounge, and Hubby bless him, would get up early on a cold day to light it, make a cup of tea and come back to bed as we waited for the heat to rise. At a later date, we had a small gas heater fitted in the bedroom which was brilliantly efficient, even on miser, and were surprisingly cosy after we had the windows and door replaced with double glazed ones.
A friend was vacating their flat and offered us their carpets for fifty quid which were enough for our lounge and the bedroom. We also managed to find a second-hand three piece suite for twenty five pounds which lasted us a few years until we bought our corner unit.
I remember that day so well when they delivered it, the guys and Hubby laughing that it would never fit. With a bit of shuffling and putting our bookcase upstairs, it did.
Oh ye of little faith! Hubby now hates it when I mutter those immortal words ‘Trust Me’.
He got his own back when we were doing the kitchen by sending me out for a right angled bend for the plumbing so that he could swear and curse getting a worktop in.
We decided to lighten the grey painted walls in the lounge, buying a huge tub of white emulsion and a small colour syringe. Hubby drew a smiley miley on the back of the stairs wall in readiness for its new covering.
We actually ended up with a perfect match but at least it looked fresh and clean, though we did it again in clover (PINK! Hubby would shout) which was complimented by our corner suite (navy with pink flowers) and new dark blue lined curtains.
Our secret feature was the smiley miley which continued to show up in a certain light despite three or four coats of whatever colour!
We had our first ever BBQ and despite the rain, sat outside under a brolly to cook it.
We kept trimming the tops of the conifer trees so that they would bush out and eventually had a lovely hedge (swine to keep tidy mind!) giving us privacy in our garden from passersby on the footpath. We never thought to grow our own veg here though.
We built a snowman one Christmas Day and called him Eric, though the snow had all gone by the time everyone else got up and they all thought it was a joke. He lasted until New Year and would have lasted longer had it not rained on Jan 1st.
We had a family of hedgehogs visit in the summer and give us a lot of pleasure in their antics.
I entertained the in-laws, and MIL was most surprised that I could cook.
We made the most of our situation, friends were always welcome, and MOH and Happy Chappy stayed over even though they had to sleep on the couch and floor.
Negative equity hit us big time and it took years for us to sell.
Once the business from my previous relationship was finally settled (useless solicitor), I paid off a lump sum from the sale of that property and changed our mortgage from an indemnity to repayment. That was the year we got married (oh happy day)
This was the wedding gift I left on Hubby’s pillow that morning when I went down to get breakfast.
We finally found a buyer shortly before my father died, and although we still had a fair amount of equity to find to clear our mortgage, we managed to cover that, our legal fees and the deposit on the new house by scrimping and saving every penny and going without luxuries like a decent car or holidays.
My Dad died the day after my 40th birthday and we moved out in June, so he never saw our new house, for which I had such plans!