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day 5 – the house of dreams

November 5, 2013


Serendipity works in mysterious ways. And if you were to break it down like a fraction, it would look like this.

Part 1

  • Last year, my sister and her husband hiked to Everest Base Camp because they are badass that way.
  • During that long and arduous hike, they met three guys from Manchester.
  • Three guys from Manchester and Montreal couple quickly became friends. You tend to connect with people when you need to duck out for a crap in the mountains and you realise there is very little to duck out to. “Don’t mind me, I’ll just take a poo behind this little rock over there” = Instant friendship in my booksAnyways, needless to say, they connected. The poo reference was entirely unnecessary and for my juvenile entertainment only.
  • Not everyone made it to Base Camp (altitude sickness, respiratory problems, you name it) but they did, because they are badass.
  • At the end of the trek, everyone went their separate ways but three guys from Manchester and Montreal couple kept in touch (through the magic of Facebook).

Part 2

  • Back in March, my sister and her husband came to visit us and so they naturally arranged to hook up with the three guys from Manchester in London.
  • We all met at Gordon’s wine bar, where my brother-in-law was violently ill due to some dodgy sausage ingested at some dodgy pub earlier that day.
  • Needless to say, drinks didn’t last very long that night. Vomiting on Everest is entirely acceptable but not so much de rigueur in the streets of London.
  • So we took the poor guy home but arranged to meet the Manchester boys again the following morning.
  • Where should we meet?” Joe and I asked.
  • We live in Newington Green,” said the sister of the girlfriend of one of the Manchester guys (I told you, serendipity works in mysterious ways – bear with).
  • WE live in Newington Green,” Joe and I said in unison (it’s like we’re married or something).
  • We live on Mildmay road,” girl who’s name I don’t remember said.
  • WE live on Mildmay road,” Joe and I said.
  • So since they lived on Mildmay road and we lived on Mildmay road, we decided to meet near Mildmay road.
  • By the next morning, my brother-in-law had stopped vomiting but my poor sister picked up where he left off.
  • So it is that we found ourselves having breakfast with a few blokes from Manchester and inevitably talking about our neighbourhood.
  • And then the subject of the squat at the end of the road came up. The house had been inhabited by squatters up until July 2012. I still remember the squat evacuation party that took place when the cops asked them to vacate.
  • I asked the girl if she knew what was going on with the squat (because she lived right next door to it) and she said that some architect had bought it and was trying to develop it but the people of Mildmay road got all up in their business and had the planning proposal rejected on the grounds of over-densification.
  • And that’s the part in the story when a lightbulb went ding in the bubble over my head.

Part 3

  • I started playing detective and looking into planning applications and finding out who owned the place.
  • And then I grabbed my figurative balls, cold called the architect and asked him if he’d be interested in a private sale.
  • He was willing to entertain the idea and in June, we finally got to peek behind the metal shutters that had been blocking the windows for months.
  • The place is a veritable shit hole, people (as seen in the photo above). And one needs a great amount of imagination to see the potential in it but potential it has.
  • The next 5 months are a mess of negotiations and surveyors and dealing with wanker bankers and solicitors and last-minute price increases (rude! grrrr).
  • We rode that mother effing London house-buying roller coaster for 5 long months and last night, we finally, finally, popped open that bottle of champagne.
  • Pop! Is the sound of a house purchase.

We bought a house, people!!! Woop! Woop! We’re looking at a year-long project. It’s going to be totally insane. Starting with the bulging outside wall to a new roof to God knows what else we find behind those dilapidated walls but the thing is, I can start dreaming.

Oh! I can already see the herbs on the windowsill and the light shining through the living room and the massive built-in library and the natural fittings and the pots and pans hanging from the kitchen ceiling.

By this time next year, Joe and I will finally have OUR very own home in London.

How serendipitous are them apples?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    November 6, 2013 11:31 am

    Whoop whoop ! Congrats!!!

  2. November 6, 2013 11:35 am

    congratulations! that is awesome!

  3. sophiemiaou permalink
    November 6, 2013 11:39 am

    You, Madame, live a charmed life. Charmed – there is no other word. Except maybe charme.

    Okay, you can build the dream home complete with repurposed pallets furniture and pit greenhouse…. BUT we expect a book to be written, and to be published, to celebrate along the pendaison de crémaillère. There, you have a deadline. Deal?


    your readers 😀

  4. Alison permalink
    November 6, 2013 12:05 pm

    I love love love this post from top to bottom. It’s so perfect. So beautifully written. So tongue in cheek and so happy. C*O*N*G*R*A*T*U*L*A*T*I*O*N*S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I LOVE them apples.

  5. November 6, 2013 12:53 pm

    Also, I adore serendipity. Like meeting friends on the steps of the Vatican when you didn’t know they were in travelling. Or finding out the person whose blog you love to read is getting married to the brother of your sister’s friend/ex boss. 🙂 xo

  6. David permalink
    November 6, 2013 3:35 pm

    What great news. I wish I was nearby to help.

  7. Carol permalink
    November 6, 2013 4:21 pm

    I’ll watch this journey with interest 🙂 Congratulations to you both 🙂

  8. November 6, 2013 5:09 pm

    Oh, I love this story! That’s exactly how serendipity works! I do hope that you will share lots of pics and stories and perhaps even little videos (I still remember the one of your bedroom makeover, that was so clever and creative) of the reno. This really is wonderful news, congratulations 🙂

  9. Librarian Girl permalink
    November 6, 2013 5:21 pm

    Congrats! As a person who bought a shithole and is in the midst of remaking the whole dang thing top to bottom (it’s quite nice now if I do say so myself) welcome to the land of home improvement! There is nothing quite like making your own home.

  10. November 6, 2013 8:44 pm

    Congratulations! Oh how I love serendipity!

  11. November 6, 2013 11:13 pm

    Oh, my! Congratulations! I sure hope you chronicle your endeavor here so we can watch the transformation. I am so happy for you! xo

  12. November 7, 2013 3:26 am

    Congratulations. In no time at all it will be beautiful, because it is yours.

  13. kim permalink
    November 7, 2013 12:03 pm

    I love how your life has charmed you! so so happy for you xoxoxo

  14. November 8, 2013 7:27 pm

    Oh HELL YES! congrats!


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