This house was what I’d dreamt of, a modest three bed semi with integral garage, large back garden and a patio suitable for putting up a conservatory.
The lounge diner was bright and airy, it had central heating and room to move, breathe, and dance with the hoover should I so wish.
Our housewarming party/my belated 40th celebrations/Bro and family departure for NZ farewell was held shortly after we moved in. It was well attended and more than a few tears were shed.
I entertained the in-laws and my Mum that first Christmas, playing a joke on my MIL over the roast potatoes.
We converted the garden shed to a hut for Barney as he was used to being outside during the day. The only drawback was we had a solid gate and so he couldn’t watch the world go by.
Our next door neighbour liked to feed the foxes and would put out cheese for them some evenings. Barney was very partial to cheese and once she had gone back inside, cleared a six foot panel fence from a sitting position (we saw him do it) to eat his fill.
He learned to ‘sit’ a variety of languages when we had foreign students from France, Germany and Lithuania stay, and friends of FIL also stayed with us when they visited the UK as there was no room in my in-laws bungalow.
Once again we had new double glazing and Hubby built in a fitted wardrobe in the master bedroom. OK, he put one door on upside down and it took a while to work out what was wrong, but it wasn’t a major catastrophe and was soon rectified.
We put in a new kitchen to replace the dated original from the ’60s, and learned about floor levelling paste, how to apply cork tiling to walls, put up wall units, plumb in a tumble dryer (enter chopsticks for outside masonry filling) and had to purchase a new gas cooker because the socket for our electric one was empty with the relevant fuse being used for the shower upstairs.
Having sold my Clavinova 7 to pay for an outside run for the dog in the previous house, we purchased a smaller Yamaha electronic keyboard with 120 voices and 80 odd rhythms.
Shortly after that (and not because of my musical repertoire), our neighbours went on holiday for six months, renting out their home to family, friends and all and sundry who could make our lives a living hell.
They had parties every weekend, slamming car doors in the early hours most nights, loud and different music from every room every day, and when we approached them to keep the noise down, we were ignored.
Their main bedroom backed onto ours, and we had a display shelf over our radiator in the recess. Our little knickknacks were bounced off with the constant and noisy bedroom olympics, and to get any peace at all, we had to go out.
We had no choice but to call in the Environmental Health officials from the council who were totally brilliant, discreet and effective in getting results.
When the owners returned, we had a FOR SALE sign up within weeks.
We made a small profit when we sold to a young family with a two year old child and another on the way.
We had been most fortuitous in being in the right place at the right time to put in an offer for the full price on a detached 2 bedroom bungalow before anyone else had seen it.
And so we entered through the doors of property number four.