Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Wink



















It is absolutely hammering down outside, and I've no milk in the fridge. I've also got my pyjamas on, so a double dilemma while I bash away at the computer. I cannot countenance a morning without that first cup of tea. But I also cannot be bothered to change out of my nightwear in order to go to the shop and buy two litres of skimmed. I'm figuring that wellies, a long waterproof and a devil may care attitude in the Co-op will stand me in good stead. Plus there's always gin.

I have some news. You may have noticed amongst the random hotch-potch of snaps above - entirely uncurated and lifted from my phone - a rather weather beaten house with a 'Sale Agreed' sign plonked out the front. The house is called 'The Wink' and is situated on the back road between St Ives and Penzance. A lovely winding route that takes in all manner of rural and coastal scenes. I drive along it several times a month. It used to serve cream teas when I first moved here, and was a bed and breakfast for many years.

Turn the clocks back a hundred years or more, and it was a staging house for travellers wishing to park their horse and bed down for the night. An early Travelodge if you will. It wasn't licenced, but a wink at the kettle and you'd get a drop of the good stuff. Or so the story goes. To step inside is to travel back in time to the late sixties/early seventies. All swirly patterned carpets and a very basic kitchen. There is no central heating, the wiring and plumbing is ancient. There is a huge fireplace and lots of natural light. It sits in just over an acre of land, that is part garden, part derelict, part wonderfully magical copse. And with any luck, we'll have moved in at the end of June.

It's four years ago since we last put our house up for sale. At that time we were hoping to buy somewhere that could give us an extra income, but it was not to be. The timing wasn't right. The house just wasn't right. So we were content to remain put. And then about six weeks ago, I was flicking through our local paper's property section. I always do. I love looking at what's up for sale. And there it was. A house that I've often looked at while driving past. I've seen it there, looking proud yet rather forlorn and unloved. But keeping it's head held high all the same. A bit scruffy and in need of attention. I've always felt an affinity with it I suppose. Can you say that about a building?

On a whim, I phoned the estate agent and arranged a viewing. I took my Mum with me for moral support. And to bring a semblance of sense to the whole adventure. The weather was atrocious, and was raining as heavily as it is this evening. The low light made everything look grey and dank. But out of the gloom were hundreds of primroses dotted about the unkempt driveway, and a huge camellia with magnificent white blooms caught my eye. 

The estate agent (a child of twelve), let us inside. It was so cold that my breath came out in a cloud. The house was empty. The old lady that had lived here had passed away last year. She was in her late eighties and had run the bed and breakfast and tea room with her husband. They had raised their family here, and I could imagine the children racing up and down the stairs, being scolded for disturbing the guests. Upstairs the bedrooms still had their numbers on the doors. Room five was a fetching shade of pink. Room four, National Health green. Downstairs the kitchen led into a pantry and then on into the dining room. There was a dolly swinging mournfully from above the range, that I guess would have once been  full of laundry drying in the heat of the kitchen. 

The sun room reminded me of Barbara Hepworth's and I could picture succulents and tall potted plants gracing it once more. South facing onto the garden, I spied rhododenrons and a huge Cedar of Lebanon. I itched to go outside and explore. I walked back through the house once more, thinking that it had a nice feel to it. Yes it was dated. Yes it freezing. But it felt as if happiness had resided here. I could imagine the fire crackling in the grate and the interior re-imagined. In short, I could see us living here.

We wandered outside, and explored. There was so much to see. A hidden, sunken treasure of a copse with stunted, gnarled lichen covered trees. There was a large pond at the centre, and I could see the stumps of gunnera. There were more primroses dotted about. And snowdrops too. And there were the unmistakable leaves of foxgloves. There might be bluebells here soon, I thought. There was a bank of ferns and the earth smelt rich and woody. I could have cried. I felt an immediate connection to this secluded secret spot. A place to nurture and love. A place to protect and watch over. I looked over at Mum, and she just smiled. I think she could see her middle aged daughter transported.

Reluctantly I returned to the car and drove home. When I asked Mum what she thought, there was a pause and then she said "It's got a lot of potential." And it did. So much. But it would take the rolling up of sleeves, a year and a day of stress, hard work and a bit of courage. And courage is something that I've lacked for much of my life. I've chosen the path well trod. But honestly, this place. It had me hooked. I couldn't wait to show Marc.......

It's early days of course. An offer accepted does not mean that it's ours. There's the survey, the mining search, the mundic block test, the outline planning approval, the money. But I'm channelling every positive vibe going. For us and our move to The Wink. But also for the couple that are hoping to buy our house. They have recently moved to St Ives, and are hoping to start a family. And without banging my own drum, but this is the perfect house in which to do it. It works hard, our house. It's had to with three marauding boys. It would make me very happy to know that another family could maraud here too.

Can you spot some of The Wink's magic in the above snaps? 

How goes it with all of you?

Leanne xx








26 comments:

  1. Yes I think you can have an affinity with an building especially those that look forlorn and unloved. How exciting I shall keep my fingers crossed everything goes ahead. I know how disappointed you were when you couldn't sell your house previously and follow your dreams. Are you planning eventually to serve cream teas, if you do we will all be heading down to Cornwall! Sarah

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  2. How exciting; it looks like a lovely house. I'll cross my fingers that everything goes smoothly, then we can watch its transformation into your perfect home. xx

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  3. Wow, what an exciting turn of events! I hope everything goes smoothly with both the buying and selling process. I remember when you tried to sell your house last so I understand how special this must feel. I've only sold one house and there were some stressful moments, but we consider ourselves very lucky for how it all went. It wasn't much of a house, but there was an actual bidding war! Who could ever imagine. Granted, it was 2007 (before the bottom fell out of everything) and we made about $100 in the end, but it was kind of exciting. Now, I plan to live here forever and be buried in the backyard if necessary. Good luck to you guys. :)

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  4. Oh yes, I can, it's absolutely magical, how exciting, I have everything crossed for you. I love how you talk about it, especially the sun room, that is exactly what I would imagine too. It is a dream of a house I think, old, beautiful and waiting to be restored to former glory. I am thrilled for you, it will all be wonderful I think. And imagine it in June! Oh these are good days. CJ xx

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  5. As I was reading your blog, I felt so excited for you. It sounds a magical place to call your home and the description of the garden, well, it sounds perfect. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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  6. How exciting and to hear you describe it with such excitement is wonderful. Here's to everything falling into place, courage and an exciting summer for your family. I recently moved to Florida and a whole new life - I highly recommend having the courage for change!

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  7. Oh how lovely is The Wink!! I hope everything runs smoothly for all of you. Opportunities like that don't come up very often - I'm not surprised you put in your offer. Look forward to following your progress.

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  8. Buying a house to renovate is not for the fainthearted, Leanne, but I think you are decidedly NOT faint of heart! It sounds absolutely brilliant and I love how you describe seeing it, looking round and your mum's reaction. I have my fingers and toes crossed for you that the whole conveyancing thing runs smoothly and that you'll be in there, making plans and putting down new roots as soon as possible. Here's to you! Sam xx

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  9. ohmygoodness!! this is the stuff of stories...it really is. I'm (possibly ridiculously) a bit teary-eyed on your behalf. This is going to happen. I just know it. I can't imagine a more perfect person to breathe new life into that lovely old house. And i hardly even know you, so that's saying something, I'm sure. :D xoxo

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  10. It's all wonderful! The house, your connection to it, the fact it has a secret spot. I'm so very happy and excited for you!

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  11. That's exciting! Good luck with that!

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  12. Ooooooh so exciting! got everything crossed for you, fingers, toes...... it looks amazing! And love the name the Wink.... what stories it conjures up.

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  13. How wonderful, the house has your name tag on, of that I am sure. Wishing you luck for the next few weeks, buying a house is stressful and tiring. xx

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  14. Fingers crossed and sending you good vibes. I know what it is like to walk into a property and know that it just has "that feel" and that you belong together. The Wink sounds absolutely wonderful, especially the garden :)

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  15. Wow! What an adventure, so exciting, I really hope it all works out for you. I once had a remote, wild place that I turned into my family home, it was hard work, there was a lot of blood, sweat, tears and tantrums but so worth it in the end. And all that garden too, fantastic :)

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  16. It is absolutely gorgeous and I'm keeping everything crossed that you will get it completed. What a fantastic adventure for you and your family. We have our own little renovation project and boy is it stressful but sometimes once you step over the threshold you just know! xx

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  17. Hi Leanne

    I saw the photo over on your Instagram account and knew I needed to come over to your blog to get the full story. It's beautiful character and I can already see you there sleeves rolled up ready to make it home. I do hope everything goes smoothly for everyone in the chain. It can be a very stressful time. We did it this time last year and I think I am still thinking 'oh where did that get put' when I'm looking for something. Everything will eventually turn up probably in about five years when D utters those immortal words of 'what do you think about moving' again.....
    Mitzi

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  18. I saw the pictures and thought "Why doesn't she go there all the time? I know I would if I had the chance!". It looks absolutely magical and I cross my fingers for you!

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  19. It looks utterly enchanting. Fingers crossed for you that it goes through. It sounds like it will be a happy hone

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  20. Oh my goodness, how exciting. The house, the plot, the position on the back lane - all wonderful. I’m wishing you the best of luck with it all Leanne. If it’s meant to be it will be but why I wonder does the process of buying and selling in England have to be so fraught?

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  21. Very exciting and I do look forward to seeing how your great adventure will go. It looks a fantastic space, the rooms, the garden and that lovely history if how it cane about. Fingers firmly crossed that it all works out Xx

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  22. It looks like a beautiful place and I am sure you can restore the house to is former glory. I love the name too. If you decide to run it as a B& B, I'll come and stay there!

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  23. So much potential you will be able to work your magic on it for years, good luck! X

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  24. I have a feeling, you are meant to live there...

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  25. How exciting! A new chapter. What's yours won't walk past you ;o). How is the half mara training going? xx

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  26. Hi Luanne,
    First, congratulation on your new home. Sorry if this comes at a hectic time in life.
    I've been enjoying your instagram account until recently when it went to private. I wondered if you are planning on keeping it private, and I understand if you are, no problem, but if you do open it - I would love to be able to keep on enjoying your photography and comments. Sandra swhite828 at netscape dot net

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