The story of a house

A story from a few years ago and an absolutely true story:

The story of a house

No this isn’t the story of my house, or a house owned/occupied by friends or family. This is not the house in my featured image – that is a house which was empty when I took its picture, but might have a family living there now and look very different, on the inside at least.  This isn’t a history of a house in the same way my friend Andrew Simpson has places chronicled in his blog… here’s a link to Andrew’s latest:

The  house I’m thinking of is about thirty years old, so quite young compared to some. I’ve only ever been inside it twice, and that was many years ago. As you can imagine from its age, it’s a modern type of house, four bedrooms (although two are tiny) a small upstairs bathroom, a tiny downstairs lavatory,  main room, dining room kitchen, integral garage, smallish but not too small back garden and smallish front garden with a drive.

When I first knew of this house it was owned by an elderly lady, a very elderly lady, a widow. She had lived in the house since it was built, but I’m not sure whether she lived with her husband, or whether he had already died. She was a very friendly nice lady, and although quite frail, she went out to her various clubs and activities, and seemed to have regular visitors. However, she grew too frail to be on her own and moved into sheltered accommodation, leaving the house empty. After a while she died,.

After another while a young family moved in, a couple and their toddler. They were also very nice, very friendly and pleasant and really active and busy people. The husband worked in some sort of practical trade, maybe an electrician. They had big plans for the house, and set to with zeal to transform the rather old-fashioned interior. They knocked the kitchen and dining room into one lovely room, built decking out the back, put in fabulous new bathrooms, wonderful modern but tasteful features, decorated throughout in a very current yet appealing way – in fact they created a truly marvellous home for themselves – and for any visitors and friends! There was a new heating system, new windows and doors, everything eco-friendly and efficient, stylish and tasteful. The garden had a little wooden house  and a play area, which was great because before long the toddler had a little sister, and the two children grew up in this beautiful and happy home. However a growing family needed a different house and the family wanted to be out in the country so they moved.

A single lady moved in. It was such a beautiful house, so wonderfully brought up to date, tasteful, comfortable, there was no doubt she and her two dogs would be happy there. However, no sooner had she moved in, then the builders moved in too. All the recent fittings and carpets were seen on the back of the lorry or carried out to a truck, new cupboards and radiators and doors were carried in, and more carpets, and decorators moved in to paper the walls and paint the woodwork. The decking was cut away, the children’s little wooden house used as a shed. After a while chickens arrived in the garden in a hutch with a run… they didn’t last very long, but a new dog joined the other two. Sadly the lady became ill; once again the builders arrived, more things were taken out and more different things were moved in. Plumbers, carpenters, plasterers, heating engineers, they seemed almost in residence for months. Unfortunately she didn’t win her struggle against her illness, and once more the house was empty – all her possessions taken away, and the dogs rehomed.

After a very long time on the market, people putting in then withdrawing offers, people hoping to buy and then being disappointed when things went awry, another family moved in. This family had a boy and a dog; friendly pleasant people they soon began to make their mark on the house. Once again fittings and fitments were removed and new ones brought in; radiators out and radiators in; bath and shower out new shower in; new kitchen units arrived, new carpets, new everything. This family was making a comfortable and happy home for themselves.

Did the house wonder to itself how many more renovations and refits there would be? Did the house imagine that at last it was perfect, nothing more could possibly need doing? If it thought so it was disappointed… the garage was converted into another downstairs room… more builders, glaziers, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, fitters, carpet fitters, decorators…

Is this a common story for modern times?

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