So I wrote a while back about our house dilemma: stay here or move to pastures new. We’ve been looking around for a while, and a house in the same village we currently live caught our eye. And kept catching our eye. It was in an area that we quite like, a nice size… but there it was, every time we did an internet search – that same house. It didn’t sell. And in a buoyant market that seemed a little odd. We decided to have a look, and oh my. Oh my oh my. ‘The thing is’, said the estate agent, ‘and I’m trying to be tactful here… the thing is… the person who lived there died’. Oh. But hey, not a deal-breaker, we told her, but there was more… ‘it’s a bit… erm… cluttered’. But we accepted that we’d been warned and cheerfully turned up for our viewing.
The first thing that struck us was that you couldn’t really see the house at all – a massive row of those dreaded leylandii trees had been left to turn into monsters and completely take over the front garden, so you could only see the side and a bit of the back, but it looked okay, so we went inside.
Now for those of you of a delicate disposition, I’m not going to go into detail. Let’s just say, things were EXACTLY as they were when the person…left. I’m talking EVERYTHING – piles of plates in the sink,mystery liquids in jars (lots of these), boxes and boxes of stuff everywhere – entire rooms that you couldn’t walk into… every surface in the kitchen loaded with teetering piles of more stuff… We conducted a pretty fast viewing, mostly holding our breath, and got out of there pronto.
I actually felt sorry for the estate agent. ‘It could be a really nice house’, she said, and she was right – if it was cleared, cleaned and modernised, it had the potential to be a such a lovely little house. It’s got a wood burning stove. And a little garden… You could knock the kitchen and dining room together and make a lovely family room where family and friends could sit and chat at the table while I cooked… IT could be ours.
I reported back to my friends and it was nicknamed the ‘House of Bodily Fluids’. Not entirely accurate, but it kind of stuck. We laughed about it, then we kind of forgot about it. We saw another house we quite liked and nearly ended up buying it, but the sale fell through and last week we found ourselves walking the dog down that same road. And there was the house. We peered through the windows. Yep, still full to the brim with junk, weird jars of liquid still festering on the windowsills, still uncleared, still with the For Sale sign…
We pondered. We wondered. We got quotes from removal companies (thank you Robinsons Removals). We did little drawings on bits of paper and little sums on other little bits of paper. We decided to have another look. Our friends joked about hazchem suits, rubber gloves and also – thank you Kate – smothering ourselves in vaseline.
They’d made a start on clearing it. Not a lot, just a few less boxes, a bit less junk (it’s still a HELL of a job, and I don’t envy them one bit) and do you know what? We could see it – we could see ourselves living in this House of Bodily Fluids – with a lot of cleaning, a bit of saving, a new kitchen here, new bathroom there… it would be tough, but it could be done. It could be New New English Towers (we’ll have to work on the name). So we put in an offer. An offer conditional on the house being cleared before we exchange contracts. We’ll see how it goes…