The bungalow was an executors sale so it was a while before things could be processed.
Once we were the legal owners, the first thing we did was to change the locks.
The property only had one door but it was surprising how many sets of original keys had been given out to neighbours in case of an emergency. We received 10 on occupancy and another five came to light over the next few weeks.
It confused the dog who was used to sleeping at the bottom of the stairs, and the layout was a little strange. In later years we discovered that extensions had been added at separate times which explained why access to one bedroom was through the lounge diner, and access to the other through a reception room which was basically a waste of space as the position of the doors made it impossible to utilise it as a dining room or bedroom.
We put a back door in it and converted it to a music room housing my newly purchased piano.
A new kitchen was started and abandoned as our plans were not working and we needed to rethink. We got there eventually, and also revamped the bathroom after an accident with some paint stripper. This also confused the dog who used to hide in the bath during thunderstorms or fireworks and he never quite got the hang of a shower cubicle, bless him.
We had students here too, German, Spanish and Italian this time, so his language sitting skills were extended .
Outside, a fishpond, monkey puzzle tree and dilapidated shed represented our back garden. The pond stood about four feet high, six feet across and eight feet long. We hired a kango drill and wrote off 3 bits as the concrete covered breeze blocks and cemented in bricks! We evicted countless frogs in the process, and sold the monkey puzzle tree for fifty pounds.
Later we erected Tit Terrace with three bird houses. Success was paramount in Tit 1 for several years, and when the council cut the trees down in our road, I contacted them.
We came home one day to find a small hawthorn tree in a pot in our drive.
Our nemesis was the supermarket over the road behind us.
We didn’t mind it going 24 hours, but ‘The Vehicle is Reversing’ at 5am soon became intrusive, so we decided to turn the house round by knocking down the wall between the back bedroom and dining room, and putting up a partition wall between what was the lounge and dining area, thus making a large master bedroom at the front of the property.
We knocked through a new doorway from the second bedroom into the new dining area, and by putting patio doors at the back, we could do away with the back door. We bricked that up and put in a window instead, blocked up the doorway into the bedroom to make a feature recessed bookcase, and created a third single bedroom.
We stayed here for nine years, the longest we had ever been in one property. I was made redundant in 2001 and used my final pay packet to halve our mortgage. Shortly after, Hubby also lost his job, so we cashed in our endowment policy and cleared our mortgage completely. It left us with about £200 in the bank but it was the best thing we ever did.
The supermarket put up an extension, and a couple of years later another which was the final straw for us. We had a huge meccano set behind us suggesting a double storey, neon signage, and the new cafeteria would be directly overlooking our property. We had sheet piling work every day, and it became a nightmare, not just for us, but also the other residents, and eventually the supermarket bosses thought to call a residential meeting.
We were shown into a room measuring about 12 feet by 10, where cups and saucers had been laid out for 6. One hundred and fifty people turned up, views were put forward, and it was decided that piling work would only be 7.30am to 11pm 6 days a week, not 24/7.
We put the bungalow up for sale and had people drive straight past thinking we backed on to the stadium because of the horrendous floodlights that saved me a fortune on my electric bill as we didn’t need to use lights, though I was annoyed I had to buy heavy duty curtains to shut them out.
In a flurry of frustration when someone came to view, I threw back said curtains and said we had a huge supermarket behind us. Our potential buyer said he didn’t care as he had two dogs and we had a secure garden for them to be outside whilst he was at work.
We moved out at the end of March ready for an Easter completion which didn’t take place because there were more people in the property chain than we had been made aware of. Someone was late getting their money in the system so we ended up giving our keys up on a solicitor’s promise despite no money changing hands.
We were in temporary accommodation for a few weeks which didn’t work out, and after a massive argument, we left. I’d already handed in my notice at work so was able to leave after a couple of days, and we, with Maggie now, were on the road in a tent househunting.
We got flooded out so often we ended up buying a small caravan, and continued in that until purchasing our fifth property in August.