Some of the walls are over a foot thick, the outside is flint and brick, some of it crumbling. It's covered with vines and roses and wisteria; which I am sure is what are holding the place up. There is a not a right-angle to be found here and some of the walls swoop like a ski slope from ceiling to floor. It's rough around the edges; not all clean and modern, it has exposed beams and water pipes attached to the walls and generally could do with a complete overhaul. It also has some drainage problems outside and in the winter, we pray that it doesn't rain too much so that our pipes don't start backing up. Seriously, having an old house is a labour of love. But we've come to know each other; the house and I.
I know when I come downstairs in the cooler months, that the fourth step will let out a loud creak, so I step over it to give the rest of the family more sleep. The morning sunrises are beautiful - Boo keeps running out early to Instagram them, so I see footprints in the dew as a tell-tale sign. The heating pops and cracks and fizzles. And there is moss growing on the roof and that softens the sound of rain. And when it's really windy outside, because it is surrounded by open fields, sometimes it feels like the whole place is going to take off, such is the noise. Those days it's best to just light the wood burner and hunker down. The garden has about twelve apple trees all of which are prolific and these months I have so many apples I literally don't know what to do with them. Chutney anyone?
|...vines holding it up...|
|...the decrepit cooker...|
|...so many apples...|
So working with an architect is interesting. If you build a house from scratch you can choose anything, build your dream house, whereas we are having to work around three hundred year old chimney stacks but nevertheless it has a fantasy feel to it. I notice that I spend time considering beautiful kitchens and bathrooms, lusting after architectural features, walls of glass and contemporary family living spaces. But I always come back to the fact that it's an old farmhouse and we must stick to the traditional feel of the place. I am having to hem myself in.
We talk about whether it is our 'forever' house and I do wonder. It's a chocolate box place, but it is on a busy road and the only way out is by car. We live just miles from the sea so I still, deep down, hanker after a water view; but you need millions for that! Lottery ticket?! Who knows?! We've spent years making it our own and I can see more of that to come. And maybe when you get it 'just right' that's the time to leave? Or sit back and enjoy? Actually as I write this, I can't imagine leaving! What would be your 'forever' house?