When the book The Secret came out all those years ago now, I was one of the first to snort at the whole notion: I definitely sniggered at poor ol crazy Noel Edmonds with his wierdy little secret clouds on his wrists and his fellow army of Secret followers who believed that apparently the universe would provide you with anything you wanted, no matter how big, expensive or mental. Yep all you had to do was ask. And yet, last May a very interesting development, well developed: the universe only went and provided….
We had quite a bit going on: our little girl’s christening that was actually going to be our surprise wedding (defo a whole other blog), my imminent return to work the following week from 10 months coffee drinking and Falates – (Fake Pilates, i.e. going every week, buying all the gear but once there just kind of lying there congratulating yourself on bring the type of person who actually goes to Pilates every week) and buying stripey tops in Gap (for either me or baby, same same) otherwise known as maternity leave. Oh and yeah, I was also just pregnant again: our now chubby pudding new baby Essie had just twinkled her way from her daddy’s eye into my belly (well not technically, but it sounds nicer).
We were also not on the “best” financial footing: while not quite in a brokedy broke breadline state of mind, courtesy of afore mentioned surprise wedding messing, unpaid mat leave coupled with a serious although thankfully not terminal case of property collapse-itis, throw in our new found monthly joy of creche fees and you could say the red carpet was unlikely to be rolled out to us by any financial institution in any upcoming decade. And so there we found ourselves: staring at the walls of our very happy but admittedly very snug home, observing the ever growing piles of coloured plastic expanding gremlinly by the minute and wondered how the hell were we ever going to be able to afford to buy a bigger house. And then, whaddya know? The universe came a knockin’.
One weekend afternoon, a chance meeting /bonding with a narky neighbour just across the street from our little estate over a very annoying alarm going off, led to a general nothingness conversation of pleasantries which eneded with Mr Mangle aka my lovely husband asking about the derelict cottage that narky now actual nice man neighbour lived next door to. Apparently, it had been lived in by an old man who had died and left to his nephew. So far so whatever but then things got wierdly out of hand. A random phone call to said nephew from Daragh spiralled. Before we knew what was happening, he had organised a viewing. Hmm interesting. What were we doing? It then transpired there was, despite it not being on the market, already an offer on the house/hovel/money pit. So in a fit of potential hcg-induced craziness, pre wedding jitters and definite financial flathuileachness, we counter offered with all the monopoly money we didn’t have. This was very unexpected. In a real life case of “be careful what you wish for”, Sweet Jesus, our bid was accepted. The house was ours. We were the proud soon to be owners of one fally downy, over 100 year old, would it even ever get planning permission, random little blue house.
Small details like not having even visited Mr bank manager couldn’t spoil this surely. Nope suddenly our future fictional family home seemed possible. I’m not ashamed to admit I got a little carried away. Dreams of that giant dream room took over my very being, you know the one, surely everyone’s is more or less the same: children cycle happily in their Boden on polished concrete flooring. You sip wine at your marble island* with hangy downy copper pans while your husband/fella chops home grown herbs preparing the last minute feast you are rustling up for twenty friends cos that is the type of people you will be in this house! No Aldi nappies or Lidl crackers in this room my friend. It wouldn’t be fair to the house you see.
Dreams aside and returning to present day, our new abode had damp, dry rot, probable asbestos and definite electrical danger. Were we completely bonkers or actual amazing property visionaries destined to be featured in a Sunday lifestyle supplement? There we shall be, pictured grinning up to our nellies in exposed bricks sporting huge sinister smiles but clearly dead behind the eyes after taking on such a massive project without having the foggiest. But who cares as we will be pinned up against our amaaaazing kitchen island with unusual kitchen utensils that we actually use arranged just so.
And that my friends is how it all began. Will this have a happy ending or will Mr Wolf blow the house down? Waaay too early to call it. Serendipitous or plain old stoopid? We still don’t know. So thank you universe. We think.
(* it will soon become clear that the promise of an island is the only reason claire participated in this whole process).