Sunday, 6 May 2007
When we came to look at this house in 2000, we walked through the door and knew in literally 30 seconds that it was the house for us. We looked around, chatted to the owner (who still lives in the village) and when we were done we went home and immediately did everything the property shows tell you not to do - we phoned the estate agent and put in an offer for the asking price. None of this second viewing and going in with a low offer for us. In our defence the housing market in Cambridge was starting to go nuts - and threatens to do the same again soon - and we did get into a mild bidding war.
We were so blinded by the appeal of this house that we failed to notice the bright blue woodwork in two of the three bedrooms, or the huge stain on the hall carpet. We also didn't notice how limited the garden was, or the state of the plaster and paint on the listed manor house next door, whose side wall forms one of our garden boundaries. I must confess to a slight wobble when we visited again later in the summer and saw the garden full of children's toys and garden furniture. By that time the legal stuff was well underway ... too late to worry.
Here we are seven years on. We've done lots to the garden to hide the bits we didn't like and to increase the space for plants, but one thing we have not had any second thoughts about is the wisteria planted on one wall of the house. We've trained it a bit, and carefully pruned it twice a year (except while I was pregnant for the first time) and for two weeks every year it rewards us with stunning, fragrant, gorgeous blooms. The garden would be far poorer without it, and indeed the one year the flowers failed, because the buds had been hit by a late frost, was a very sad year indeed.
Bear does all the wisteria pruning now so he can take complete credit for this year's show.