Twenty three years ago we were house hunting.
We lived in a very big town in Essex, but having been gazumped twice we decided that the one-day dream of living in Dorset may as well come to true now (back in those long-off days, Dorset was cheaper than Essex, and our money went a lot further, which was also an appealing factor in the decision). I was 17 and fearless – who cared if I was moving 200 miles from everything and everyone I knew? It was a proper adventure.
But house hunting was a stressful business – much like it is for everyone, except we had no idea what we really wanted in a house, where we really wanted to live, and we had to do it in sporadic bursts in weekend visits (there were no interwebs and no Rightmove in 1991, remember).
So we just looked at as many houses as possible within our budget. We steered clear of thatched cottages, and anything on a modern housing estate (we couldn’t afford one, and the other we could get in Essex for a lot less hassle), but anything else got a look-see.
We saw tiny cottages with long-abandoned gardens (and resident spiders that I swear had machetes and machine guns drawn they were so big and fierce), low ceilings and original fireplaces. We saw large square properties with huge rooms and high ceilings and grand wooden front doors. And in between we saw a huge array of modern ordinary semi’s, with manageable gardens and nice rooms.
Eventually, with time ticking away, we finally put an offer in. It wasn’t a remarkable property – a 3-bed 1920’s semi with a good sized garden, neat and tidy inside and moderately sized for just the two of us.
But the deciding factor?
That is the view from our bedroom window.
For 22 years I’ve woken up and looked out at that view, and breathed deeply, and smiled.
It’s a beautiful thing to look at, whatever the weather, whatever the season.
And i get to gaze at it every day –
Two years ago we had our windows replaced, and where there used to a large fixed pane and one small opener, now we have two huge opening windows – throw them bot wide on a sunny day like today, and they make it feel like the front wall of the house has a huge great hole in it, just letting the amazing dorset countryside float in.
Where we live isn’t perfect by a long way – but moving anywhere else is going to have to beat that view. It’s going to be a tough act to follow.