We are outgrowing our home, so Ted and I have tentatively started to look for a new house slash cottage. We don’t want to leave Vertonbridge (our village) but last week we made the treacherous decision to go and see a house in…… another village! Ok it’s only up the road a bit and turn left but nevertheless it felt rather perfidious. It was still a local village, just different horse sh*t in the lane and I (rather refreshingly) didn’t know everybody’s name, inside leg measurement or their current electric meter reading. On the plus side as well as horse sh*t in the lane this village has an award winning pub and a small cafe, imaginatively titled The little Tea Shop (the cream teas are crazy good, set aside a days calorie intake for this pleasure, 5 stars yadayada). In a bid to make the house viewing go smoothly with our children Toby and Lottie ( 9 and 7 years old) I primed them in the car by suggesting that:-
-they didn’t touch anything in the house.
-they wiped their feet before we went in.
-they didn’t say anything impolite about the house until we get back in the car.
– bribery was implemented in the form of a reward of chocolate brownies and hot chocolate in The Little Tea Shop if the above was adhered to.
There was a two hour open house viewing of the property so we knew there would be other people milling about. It was a strategic and insidious ploy by the estate agents to whip up interest and rivalry amongst any unsuspecting viewers. We were welcomed into the house by Paul (the painfully thin) estate agent. He had the kind of puny and skeletal physique which can only be maintained with a 20 a day habit and infrequent Pot Noodles. I wanted to invite him round for a hearty Sunday Roast (plenty of crackling and goose fat covered roast potatoes) apart from I didn’t because (my new oven is such a ball ache) and Paul wasn’t that friendly and kept flicking over his phone to ease his obvious boredom. He was however happy to inform us in inverted commas that we’d just missed the rush and had the house to ourselves. A vague scent of bullsh*t wafted up my nose which to be fair made a nice change from the more traditional local horse sh*t aromas. Toby and Lottie both wiped their feet as I had requested and then dissolved into the house before rushing back to us with really helpful questions and observations:-
“I don’t like that bedroom, it’s got a purple carpet and flowery wallpaper.”
Try and imagine this room decorated how you’d like it with your bedroom furniture in it darling!
“Can we keep the parrot in the cage?’
No, it belongs to the people selling the house and they won’t leave their pet parrot behind…..
“What about the Iguana in the tank in the dining room then?
“The TV isn’t big enough.”
Yes, if we move here, we’ll have to leave behind our big TV and have this smaller one instead……(insert horrified tweenage faces and enjoy small snigger behind house particulars!)
“Euuugh they like pineapples, will they leave the pineapple when they move out?”
By now I wanted to bang my head on the nearest feature wall……..
“I don’t like the painting of the lady with her boobies out, I don’t think we should buy this house if that’s on the wall.”
All remnants of parental patience were gone and I just about resisted punching a hole through the closest non load bearing(and quite possibly also feature) wall……
By this time all I could think about was consuming a large coffee in The Little Tea Shop and putting Paul out of his misery too. He looked to me like he needed to get back to the office for his Pot Noodle lunch (original curry or even possibly Bombay Bad Boy flavour?) and a cigarette (Lambert and Butler I’d wager). Not necessarily in that order.
A Pot Noodle. Original Curry.
Paul sensing our waning enthusiasm for the house began prevaricating about the garden and the attractive summer house, (actually so gnarled and misshapen with green mould and moss) it looked like Bilbo Baggins lived there. So we went outside, which was more of a hit with the children and particularly good fun when they started running about and we had to prise them off the damp garden swing, slimy trampoline and other multifarious kiddy apparatus. We found that the swing-ball worked marvellously which was demonstrated all too well when Paul was nearly tw*tted in the face by the ball at 30mph. The lawn was also very wet and muddy. Ted and I stuck to the path wondering if sunlight ever reached the garden at any time of the day/year. Not even on summer solstice apparently. No one was going to throw up a stone (or twelve) into a henge and call it a world heritage site any time soon. There was also a large bloody pond. There’s a simple parental equation that goes with ponds! Yes, I’ve done the math. Pond + young children = ball ache (squared) to the power of 100.
Back in the house, Ted and I decided to have one last nose around and the children could be heard ferreting about upstairs. Now, I don’t seem to have a problem seeing past nasty furniture, badly fitted laminate flooring circa 2009 and pelmets but this house was littered with trite quotes everywhere. Every wall, and surface seemed to be heaving with cliched cliche placards. I couldn’t move for banality! Here are a few of them. A word to the bromidic sayings makers distributing to gift shops and department stores nationwide, make up/find some new b*stard sayings would you ever!
I like to cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to my food.
Marriage is a relationship where one person is always right and the other is the husband!
Just inexplicably naff and sexist!
Sometimes I wake up grumpy and sometimes I let him sleep!
Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favourite.
Excuse me while I vom my spleen!
I’d just about had my fill of matching wallpaper, duvet covers and pelmets plus the aforementioned hackneyed sayings. This house wasn’t the one, we weren’t sold, it was time to shuffle off. So we located Paul (possibly even slightly thinner) to say we were going, thanks very much and all that. We found him in the master bedroom trying to clean a brown patch on an area of the cream shagpile carpet with some toilet paper which was disintegrating in his hands.
“I think one of your children may have brought in mud from the garden,” he said faux politely through teeth so gritted he’d be spitting enamel for days….”and your daughter wanted the toilet…”
Ted and I exchanged worried glances. I felt a rush of cold prickly fear. Lottie had been to the toilet just before we left home, could she be? Yes I feared the worst, she wasn’t just doing a wee! Mortification swept over me like Storm Doris bashing the Devon coastline. Sound effects wafted through the door. Paul looked horribly pained. I began rustling in my handbag noisily for the car keys and humming, yes humming! Just as Paul was diverted by the doorbell announcing that more house viewers had arrived, I heard Lottie unlock the bathroom door and I hurriedly barged in. I was all over the damage limitation, you know kids….they like to leave their mark!
Have you viewed a new home with children in tow, how was it for you……???
As you were!
Well, if you liked this post here’s my last post. If you didn’t, fair enough.