Over the last couple of days I’ve been writing about my houses – by which I mean houses I bought albeit on a mortgage so I owed more than I owned. The first place I bought was a flat in a pleasant part of the south side of the city, an area where part of my heart still lives. For various reasons I moved to the other side of town to a semi-detached house and my stay there coincided with a rather unhappy time of my life. I began to move out of that period of sadness and began to think about the future. It seemed to me, that I would remain alone during my life, and at some point as my dad aged, I would become responsible for my disabled sister. She would always live in a care home, but I wanted a place where she could come and visit and maybe stay, so a bungalow seemed the best option. A bungalow seems the home of choice for older people, and at that point I wasn’t that elderly, but I had to think of practicalities.
I can’t now quite remember how it came about, but I think I may have been chatting to my friend the school librarian and she happened to mention that there was a new development near where she lived, not far away but in an area I didn’t know. I drifted down to the building site after work and there are a few houses built, and more being built, and in a corner plot was a bungalow. There were only the footings in, but it seemed a nice area, countryside at the bottom of the development, shops and pubs on the main road which led in one direction to where I worked and in the other to the countryside. I went into the site office and collected details, and before very long I had my name down on the corner plot, and the sad house I was living in up for sale.
It hardly seemed any time at all until somehow my house sold to a grumpy fireman and I moved into the brand new bungalow. It was tucked in the corner of the site with a short drive leading to a built-in garage, a separate bathroom and lavatory, two good sized bedrooms, a large living room and good sized kitchen, plus a large garden. It was perfect! For the next couple of years I decorated, furnished and organised my new home, worked hard in the garden to make it more than a building site, and gradually turned this new build into a lovely residence which seemed to vibrate with happiness and warmth. I was still on my own but I had nice neighbours, I began to develop a different circle of friends and a different life.
Something had changed and I believe it was the bungalow on the corner plot. Someone I barely knew asked me out for a beer and within a few days we realised that we had a life together. Within a very short time he had moved in, the following year we married, the year after that we had our first child, and eighteen months later our second. The bungalow which had welcomed me in as soon as it was built seemed to spread a wonderful and happy spell over us and we lived there for a dozen happy years before it brought us luck to propel us to the next part of our lives.
I see from various on-line sites that the bungalow has again changed beyond recognition, more bedrooms, a huge kitchen, an extension, unrecognizable gardens, and I’m sure the present occupiers are as happy as we were, and maybe as lucky!
I was wondering if houses in England have basements like most of our houses in Canada. My basement has a 2 bedroom apartment with a laundry room and a workshop but acts more like a den and storage space for us.
Most modern houses don’t have basements, for example, none of the houses I’ve owned had. However houses built some time ago – like the house Andrew Simpson lives in and writes about has a basement, and that was built in about 1910 (I think)
I was checking out real estate prices in Uphill and also the average wages you could expect to earn and couldn’t figure out how a young couple could ever expect to own there own house. House prices in my town have doubled in the last year but if you cash in where do you live?
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Yes, it’s ridiculously expensive – my children couldn’t afford to buy anything here! We were so lucky the way things worked out for us.