And one day, it just clicked.
I stopped hating the house, and fell in love with it, almost overnight.
I remembered the things I had fallen in love with during our very first viewing back in May: the hotel-esque bathrooms, the countrified beams, the exposed brickwork fireplace, and the big, rambling wild garden.
I sat at my farmhouse dining table on Saturday afternoon, laptop open in-front of me, a delectable view of the garden beyond, and I smiled to myself.
I’m a homeowner! Like, I’ve actually bought a house!
The past few months have been stressful, and I know that most people on the planet will be in agreement of that statement for a variation of reasons, both personal and Covid-related. (Let’s be honest – has anybody in the world enjoyed any part of 2020?)
There have been a lot of changes in both my personal situation and indeed in life as we know it.
My stress attributed to me almost forgetting to appreciate the positives for a while.
We saved for two long years, and made many sacrifices along the way. We fought hard for this house, and on occasion, the contract hung by a thread. We (I) had countless arguments with solicitors and I’m pretty sure that the estate agent was on the brink of issuing a restraining order against me.
A member of our sale chain was in the Covid shielding category, meaning the move that should have taken place at the start of July was pushed back by four weeks. Another member of the chain had a holiday booked for the first week of August, meaning our move date was then delayed again until the 10th August.
A lot of money later, and we were left with the foundations of a house that neither of us really knew what the hell to do with. We had a puppy that hated us, a hamster who was almost definitely plotting world domination, and an unhealthy number of cuddly toy octopi to arrange.
No sooner had we moved in, and things started to go drastically wrong, as detailed in my previous articles! The puppy seemingly grew 55 new teeth overnight, and Christ, did he let us know about his new additions! The hamster’s hideous popcorn-smelling body odour tainted every room we put him in. We slept on camp beds for weeks, using old cardigans and hand towels as covers. We ate Shreddies for three meals a day. A week into the move, and were forced to return to our separate parental homes to avoid murdering one another, while the house literally fell apart around us.
I have partaken in my weekly ‘house blogs’ to keep me sane, because God, honestly, if I didn’t laugh, I would cry, and I probably wouldn’t stop!
At times, it felt as though we would never ‘get there.’ For six weeks, I just didn’t feel ‘right.’ I couldn’t imagine ever calling this house my ‘home.’ I felt as though I was on a bad self-catering holiday with a shite shower and a filthy, temperamental oven.
When, after a few weeks of trying and failing to make the house feel like a home, I returned to my Mum's in tears, she told me to give it time. She assured me that one day in the near future, I would grow to love my house. I was doubtful, and genuinely felt as though I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I watched our savings dwindle as we discovered more and more faults in our once perceived 'perfect' property, and I cursed the very day we first set eyes on it.
But, I have to admit that it already feels a long time ago that the fridge was taking up half of the living room, ripping great chunks from the kitchen floor in its wake.
Don’t get me wrong – this house still isn’t perfect.
There are more spiders than there are bricks, and no matter where I turn, I am almost always whipped across the face by a stray piece of web, but I guess that’s country living for you!
The oven still makes me want to gag every time I look at it, but we’re treating each other to a new one for Christmas (romance isn’t dead).
I’m getting the hang of having to light a match every time I turn the hob on, but at least it’s made me re-evaluate my startling pasta consumption.
But despite the above and a variation of little ‘niggly bits,’ this house really does feel a lot like home now.
I think I just needed time to get to know the house, if that makes sense. I had to give myself a certain period to adjust to all of its strange little quirks, like the pre-historic central heating system, and the fact that it takes 89 attempts to open the bedroom window. At first, they were hugely irritating staples of added stress and time that I didn't have to spare in the midst of sifting through copious carboard boxes stuffed with old Jacqueline Wilson books and TY Beanie Babies. Now, I'm on a level with the imperfections. I can work with them, and they are becoming more of a second nature than a hinderance as the days go by.
And I'm not gonna' lie... Having Aldi as my local supermarket is a major, MAJOR bonus!
Last night, I did a quick ‘top-up’ shop, and guess how much it cost? £5.06. And guess what I bought?! A big bag of pasta, some spaghetti, crumpets, a bag of Dolly Mixtures, a box of crackers, two jars of pasta sauce and TWO BOXES OF CEREAL!!
I had to check the receipt – I was anxious that I had somehow managed to rip them off, but no, that was genuinely the price! I was that buzzin, I actually rang my Mum on the way home and reeled off my entire shopping bag to her, encouraging her to guess the total.
...This is the height of excitement on my average Friday nights nowadays, by the way!
I now know how (and why) to avoid washing bright pink t-shirts with white towels, and I can also now set the washing machine to a spin that lasts for less than 9 hours.
I realise that I have settled into this home owning lark better than I initially gave myself credit for.
Slowly but surely, I am learning the ways of the house and indeed of adulthood.
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©