I haven't been spending as much time as usual in Blogland recently. I'll maybe go into that sometime. We've been busy and just dealing with what life's been throwing at us of late.
Yesterday evening we went to view a house.
I spotted it last week and we made enquiries. You see, houses in this particular village don't hang around for long. And we'd dearly love to live there.
So, we met up with the (actually very nice and not at all pushy) estate agent and took a look around. Joe was being difficult. He took it up a notch when he spotted a toybox stuffed with cars. But we managed a good nosey and liked what we saw: a nicely-sized back garden leading out onto the village green, a newly-fitted bathroom, inoffensive decor and all the rest of it. We were keen and made that crystal clear.
A little walk, some time to think and - well, common sense kicked in. We both agreed that, beautiful though the setting, and lovely the garden, and cosy the living room, the cottage was just too small. And not just that. We've been hoping to move further afield (much further). Was this just a distraction, an enticing opportunity to get ourselves some security and a foot back onto the property ladder?
We currently live in a rented house. One of the biggest problems with the house we (finally) sold back in June was the lack of space. And last night's tempting little cottage was certainly no larger. In fact, it may actually have been a smidge smaller.
We don't have any desire to own a 'big' house. In fact, the current place is too big. We live in the 'back' room, whilst the spacious front and attic rooms are pretty much redundant. Our bedroom is vast, but we're not those glamorous types who describe their sleeping space as a 'suite'. No armchairs or TVs in there. Just the basics: bed, drawers and a built-in wardrobe. Not even a dressing table. Although I would like to have one of those.
So, what would my ideal house be? What would it have? What would be the 'deal-breakers' as opposed to the 'would be nice' factors? Well, I often think about that. And I thought it might be fun to write a post on the subject.
I suspect this will end up starting as an 'I don't really want much' type of thing, and end up looking like the longest wish-list ever. But when I think of my 'dream' house, there are certain images which always appear in my head. I'm happy to share. So, let's begin.
Location: In my wildest fantasies, probably some little island off Denmark, Sweden or Norway. But perhaps a little bit more realistically I'd love to live somewhere off the beaten track. Wild, and near water - the sea, a lake, a river. Fields. Dry stone walls. Perpetual autumn's probably asking a bit much though.
Outdoors: Wouldn't we all love to live the self-sufficiency dream? A little smallholding with a bit of an orchard (yes, I'd have a washing line in it). Room for a greenhouse. A few outbuildings. Chickens. Somewhere to sit and take shelter whilst watching the rain.
Indoors: A wood-burning stove. A pantry. A snug room somewhere to line with books and retreat into. A Belfast sink (for doing the hand-washing). A porch at the front of the house and maybe another at the back, with hooks on the wall. Sash windows and wooden floors and quirky little built-in cupboards to store kitchen things and whatever else needs keeping out of view. Deep windowsills to sit on and gaze out from.
We won't get started on wall colours and furniture and all the rest of it or I'll be here all day. Maybe that's one for another time...
I know that, once we do buy our next house, it's unlikely to tick all the boxes. Probably not even most of them. But some things are non-negotiable. And for us, size does matter. Because even though we're not into accumulating 'stuff', and we don't really aspire to huge TVs and an American-style fridge, we are a family who need the space to function. And cute as that little character cottage may have been, a house with no room for a laundry basket or dining table just won't work.
Do you have any ideas of what you'd like in your 'forever' home? Maybe you're lucky enough to live in it already. I'd love to hear what, for you, makes a home (and what, given a free rein, would be put on your wishlist).