I’ve been meaning to write our building story for a while now, and the anniversary of our move to Little Wood seems as good a time as any. You see, it’s a story worthy of a Channel 4 property programme (one narrated by your man McCloud perhaps), purely for the amount of disaster that belied it in the early stages.
Truth be told, it has taken us a year to get over it all.
I’m sure people maybe look at us, at what we are so very fortunate to have, and assume that life’s a breeze. In all honesty, I do count my blessings every day. I can’t quite believe it myself. But,as with most things in life, appearances can often be deceiving. Or downright untrue.
I’ve always been good at putting on a brave face, getting on with things – a master of disguise. I’m the metaphorical swan – all together on the surface, whilst paddling furiously underneath.
And so very few people know this story. I hope you don’t mind being one of them.
This swan is ready to show her feet.
We secured planning permission to build our forever home in October 2009, just a few weeks before Annie was born. I’d had a tough pregnancy, and getting the go ahead for our house, along with Annie’s imminent arrival, was such a welcome boost.
We made plans to put our current house on the market and left the cot in storage, sure that we would be moving before our new baby was in need of it.
And then the housing market took a massive slump.
A one salary family, (I’d had a Career Break, followed by my Maternity Leave) we were reliant on the sale of our house to fund our build. And so we waited. And waited.
Two and a half years later, the cot had come out of the garage, both our girls shared a bedroom, I had returned to work (and promptly left again). We were still a one salary family, and one in limbo at that.
Did we just buy another house? Extend our own? Things were getting cramped for our little five-some.
And then out of the blue we had buyers. Bonafide, enthusiastic, wonderful buyers.
They wanted it, and the deal was done. This was it now, our luck was changing – I was sure of it.
In May 2012 we broke ground, and took our first steps towards our new home. I remember posting on Facebook that it had been a great week (we had also found out that Noah had got a place at our lovely, local school). We made plans and preparations to rent somewhere while we built, and started packing.
And then, as if by some massive intervention of bad luck, it all went pear shaped.
One by one our children got chicken-pox – in tandem over a six week period. Our pet rabbit, obviously not a fan of moving house, passed away. Our builder, who had just completed our new foundations, went into administration.
A sign of the times.
Bloody crappy times they were too.
And then Mr M found himself out of work.
You hear about redundancy, changing working structures, pay cuts – but you never expect it’ll be you. And then it is. And in any situation it is devastating. But to come at a time when you have three sick children, a dead rabbit, one house full of boxes and another merely a grey slab of concrete, is a bit beyond the pale.
Mr M put his practical head on, but I knew he was on the edge. I had a minor breakdown.
Looking back now, I’m not too sure how we made it through those weeks, that Summer.
Somehow, with the support and generosity of family, our sale was finalised and we moved to a temporary home, not really sure what was going to happen next.
And like all the best Soap cliffhangers I’ll leave it there for this week, lovely readers.
Of course, you know the final outcome. The Happy Ending. But check back next week for Part Two. I promise, it’s a whole lot less depressing!
**BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS!** Find us over on the Sanctuary Spa website from today! Eek!!! Click on my pretty new Sanctuary link button, and come say hello. It’s my first day – I could do with a friendly face or two! Thanks lovelies! xx