I don't know why it underlined and blued my text when I cut and pasted it, but it will have to stay like that for now . . .
One thing that has been impressed on me in the past few weeks is my need FOR a garden and to carry out the act of GARDENING. It has been my reward for all the hours of hard labour put into the house - mind you at times, that reward has felt more like a punishment! I have been working flat out for nearly 3 months now (OH too of course) and the 8 - 10 hour days have been wearying, but although I'm a bit fitter, painting doesn't make you lose weight, sadly!
In viewing properties, both in the flesh, and looking on-line, what I have realized I absolutely MUST have is a garden, and not just any garden, but one that appeals to my senses. OH was keen on looking at a large barn conversion, which I found absolutely soul-less and - to be honest - a bit middle-class geriatric! in interior design. I really couldn't understand what he saw in it - apart from getting gigantic rooms - all apart from the kitchen, which was half the size of one of the enormous bedrooms. And the garden - well, it was planted up for ease of care - like, you could just more or less ignore it as it was mostly conifers in various shapes and sizes, and a few evergreen shrubs spaced about, and meant to look structurally dignified. It was HIDEOUS. I told him, if you insist we buy that place, I'd take a bulldozer to the garden. He couldn't understand it. "But you wouldn't have much to do out there, it would make life easier for you." Hmmm. I told him I rise to the challenge of a garden (this one in particular has been VERY challenging over the years). I like colour, and climbing things, and lots of roses, and different parts of a garden hidden away, like little rooms, and some perhaps needing low-growing alpines, whilst other areas could take a big bold herbaceous border.
We have viewed a property which we both like very much. It is impractical as it stands, as the rooms are smaller than ideally we would like (or indeed need, with the larger pieces of furniture which suit this big house), but there is an additional building which would work wonderfully as an annexe, subject to planning of course. And then there is the garden, such a beautiful garden, and it called to me (even OH, NOT a gardener, LOVED it too). As we walked around, it had EVERYTHING I wanted - room for a small orchard and a polytunnel, established plantings, lovely roses and borders (though overgrown), established soft fruit area and a lovely front garden too, sheltered and a real sun-trap. My hands actually ACHED to start work there, weeding the beds. In fact, they ached for a good 24 hours - how strange is that?
I daren't hope too much, so I have tried to put it at the back of my mind. But that garden keeps calling me, and although we have details of other - more expensive and much more sensible size-wise - properties to view, we BOTH keep returning to this other cottage, and have even spoken to a local architect about the difficulties of getting planning (it is Grade II listed, like this house). I think that on Monday we are going to speak to the local Planning Officer, he with the default of "no" . . .