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?