No, I haven’t got a new house, but in Night Vision, my characters go house hunting; they view a lovely old house right by the sea; it is huge, too big for just two people, and the two couples begin to wonder whether to buy it together…
Neil knocked at the door and after a while it was opened by a very tall old lady with her hair furled in a curious roll like a piecrust around her head. She wore a white blouse with a pleated front with a gold chain hanging low down her flat chest. She had a long grey skirt and looked like an old-fashioned school ma’am. She had gold-rimmed spectacles and peered through them. Beulah felt about ten.
Neil was suave and charming, as he introduced them but Mrs Carnforth was unsmiling as she asked them in.
The door was on the side of the house facing across the road to Coastguard Cottages. There was a low wall against the pavement and a path between it and the house. They stepped into a large hall lit by windows on either side the door and above on the first floor. A door opened on either side and they stepped into the one to the right. It was a large and lovely sitting room with hideous old furniture.
“As you can see this is the sitting room,” said Mrs Carnforth, speaking for the first time apart from murmured greetings. She had a low gloomy voice. “If you would prefer you can look round the house yourselves and I will wait in the sun room. Or I could show you around…”
“Oh we’ll be happy to wander, thank you, if you’re sure that’s all right?” Neil asked smoothly.
Mrs Carnforth nodded like Eeyore and withdrew.
“What a lovely room,” Beulah exclaimed and went to look out of the window which faced the sea. The paved area outside was dingy, mossy and grey. It would be transformed by pebbles and large pots of crimson geraniums or cheerful spring bulbs.
“It’s very near the road,” Annie looked out of the other window at Coastguard Cottages.
“There’s another sitting room, isn’t there?” Austin pulled the estate agents details from his pocket. They wandered from the hall into the dining room opposite, dominated by massive dark furniture.
Austin thought it was small but Annie checked under the table and it would extend to seat ten.
“Do us then, the grandchildren can eat in the kitchen,” said Beulah and they smiled.
There was another sitting room was on the other side of a wide staircase and a morning room looking straight out to sea. Beulah was suddenly eager to see all of it, progressing slowly from room to room was not enough for her impatience. She hurried into the kitchen. It was ugly and old fashioned but was large enough for Annie’s table would fit perfectly and there was the Aga. There was a walk in pantry, a utility room and a scullery.
Beulah ran upstairs, flitting form room to room, she was so excited. The house was well maintained and in good order as Anders had said. The two largest bedrooms were en-suites, ‘theirs and ours’ Beulah thought, and a separate bathroom had a modern shower unit and separate bath. The upper floor was sparse and bare, a storage space at present but easy to transform into bedrooms, work rooms, or a fabulous lounge with views across the bay.
Beulah sat in the wide window seat, staring out across the sea, imagining being here, imaging this their house, their home, sitting up here in the evening watching the sun set. It was too beautiful, how could they not have this house? She turned, expecting to see Neil but it was Austin.
“Come and sit here and look out at this view!” she exclaimed, holding out her hand to him. “I was imagining sitting here with a glass of wine watching the sun go down!”
“You’re right, Bee,” he sat beside her; he looked younger somehow. “Annie and I will come and visit just for the view.” He was still pretending they weren’t taking the house-share idea seriously.
“Or we could all live together and fight over whose room this is,” Beulah replied lightly.
He nodded and smiled; they were testing the water, he and Annie would have to sell their house…