Friday, 20 June 2014

.. tell about our 3rd renovation and introduce our 4th.

Our third house had been part of my life always.  It started life as the village police house, no cells but office attached and accessed via glazed corridor, which we turned into a large and rather beautiful wooden conservatory.  The office became a spacious sitting room.  One of my first friends, Meirwen and her brother Robert lived there, their dad the village bobby.  In time it became a private house and I spent many a Saturday night babysitting for the two young children in residence, both now scarily with children of their own some not much younger than my littlies.

Family life and as ever a lack of funds mean't we spent five years renovating whilst adding two more boys to our chaotic household - who else has hubbie and father fitting windows on Christmas eve whilst they are out doing their Christmas shopping I ask.   Sam, no 3, arrived the same week as our kitchen.  I remember well answering the door to our range cooker delivery guy to be met with a look of horror when he clocked my extended belly and realised he was on his own getting this one into place.  He finally left me with it wedged in the hallway blocking off access to half of my house till dearest hubbie returned from work and shifted it.  I was not impressed. I was impressed however by the efficient arrival of dishwasher next day which was promptly plumbed in by my dad in time for my return from hospital after the new arrival.  Unfortunately his fitting of the bath previously had been less prompt and a mess up by B&Q led to 3 months of being bathless at the beginning of that pregnancy.  Another lesson learn't, do not remove sole bath in house unless in full possession of replacement!   It was a lovely house but with the addition of no 4, Elliot, the upstairs proved too small, the third bedroom 7x7, a tad snug to fit two growing boys.  I still miss the spacious lower floor, with its vast kitchen,once sitting room, and its spacious reception rooms and entrance hall, the perfect place for our much travelled and battered but well loved family heirloom piano. We even managed to squeeze in a snug guest room with ensuite shower in part of the old kitchen.

This house took a year to sell.  Fortuitous because Mike changed jobs and the planned move within the village turned into a necessary move to Gloucestershire.  Timing is all and within two weeks of him getting the job we got and offer on the house.  Allowing us to buy .....

The house I loved,
Ivy Cottage,

Thursday, 12 June 2014

..continue with our 3rd renovation.

Seven months of wasted journeys and trawling estate agents, oh how I longed for a rightmove or equivalent, came to a thankful end one weekend on opening the property section of a local newspaper to find a 3 bed remarkably cheap detached property for sale in a rather nice suburb of Wolverhampton.  Untouched for 20 years maybe but with sound roof and interior bathroom, sheer luxury compared to our first buy.  I viewed it with my mother, babe in arms and 3 months shy of giving birth a second time.  Puppies all sold and re-homed things were looking good.  We immediately put in an offer and Mike was fine about it even after he had seen what we were taking on.

The rub came when the survey threw up subsidence.  Hopes of getting in before the birth of no 2 son went out window as it took nearly a year to complete.  But complete we did and for a year with a toddler, a baby and an incredibly hardworking and super supportive mother and father ( no more builders for us, once bitten ..) we worked solidly on turning this dated wreck into a modern family home.  A year of washing nappies by hand in the bath, stripping, sanding, oh the curse of artex, and painting walls, fitting kitchen and bathroom, replacing some but not all windows ( hate PVC and will always repair where possible), laying floors and cutting back a forest of brambles and weeds to reveal a once beautiful garden.

A year of hard work and doing without but suburbia wasn't for me, I longed for the country, village life.  We trawled again but Midland village houses don't come cheap and I felt a yearning to return from whence I'd came. A bargain for sale in a village near my family got us thinking and so one year on after much hard work the for sale board went up and offers were made.

This next sale was long and arduous as only the British system can be.  We lost buyers we lost sellers and once again we ended up camping out in my thankfully selfless parents abode.  This time myself husband, two toddlers, one cat and a thankfully not pregnant dog but 9 months later we moved rather conveniently next door to this our 3rd renovation.

Google again and not our renovations this time.
The new buyers extended over the garage,

Thursday, 5 June 2014

continue the story, our second renovation.

Hirwaun Road in physical terms was an easy renovation.  A builder did most of the work and we were sans children. I painted walls, made curtains, aquired some modest second hand furniture to bulk up our wedding monies brass bed purchase and one good sofa bought on interest free credit over the two years it took to get plans approved and building work completed. The garden though neglected and filled with builders detritus was small and easily tamed.  Emotionally and financially it was draining, we made little capital on it as the builder was a cheat and a lier, our fingers well and truly burnt.

So three years on Mike left behind his PHd and research and embarked on a job in I.T.  I set aside my teaching career and a newly acquired law diploma and embarked on motherhood. Rather too quickly we sold the house so I decamped to my parents rather snug three bedroom semi, pregnant again plus the baby, a cat and a pregnant dog.  Mike lodged in Wolverhampton returning to West Wales for weekends.  I was in my early thirties many of my friends were already settled into comfortable family homes but I had chosen to fall in love with a younger man just starting out on his career.  Wait I would have to and wait we did.

For this our next house took longer to purchase than we could ever have planned for.

Canterbury Road,