We have spent the past five years travelling, renting and even towing our home behind us around the cities and countryside of Europe. Our children are now fourteen and sixteen. They have had a rich few years of an ever-changing landscape in which to learn and play. Now we want them to have a few happy years in one place, creating memories in a happy home that they can retreat to in spirit and in real life.
The house isn't a home yet. It was divided up into six scarily-tiny-looking bedsits by the council at some sad point in its history, then we bought it. We bought it at an auction. It took five minutes.
No one wanted it.
It might have been the six sad flimsy little kitchens. It might have been those too-tiny shower rooms and the odd smell. Perhaps it was the oppressive false ceilings. But it was this outstanding staircase that made them actually gasp with horror as they stepped through the promising, relatively smart Georgian black door.
That red! Those black 'treds'. What is that linoleum stuff and where did every school/hospital buy it?! But wait. It is rather bright at least. And someone was inspired enough to put in a rather unimpressive but effective skylight.
But we knew it was in one of our favourite streets in one of our favourite cities. It was cheap so we had some money left over to tidy it up. The roof is in good order; the windows need some paint but are sound and even the cellar is essentially dry. How hard can this be? How could we resist having a go? How could we say no to the promise of these beautiful windows.