Let me explain myself a little better. While on holiday on Donegal, myself and Mr S found ourselves madly in love - with on first appearances a beautiful shabby old lady, a century old house in a stunning location. In fairness, the estate agent did say on the 2nd viewing, So all the work doesn't put you off? No, we laughed as I ran my hand over the stunning marble art deco fireplace, aware that the room I was standing in had walls crumbling and fragile with damp, the high plaster ceilings criss- crossed with delicate wooden batons which lifted the room height visually even higher but stained with water.
The kids ran around, mad excited eejits, at once picking out bedrooms and planning to play hide and seek in the gardens and ride their bikes along the quiet country road. Little O planning on going fishing on the river that runs parallel, E where she would put her desk under the eaves. I could see clearly past all the neglect and decay, I could see great over-stuffed sofas, book-lined walls, generous window seats with views out over the mountains, the clink of glasses and the chatter of all the guests we would have to stay. Comfortable bedrooms, a roaring fire and long lazy breakfasts. A proper country retreat. All it would take was a little bit of effort, sure hadn't we done this all already with our own house?
We put in a cheeky offer. Accepted with thanks. A builder came round to check out and cost the rebuild of the wonky chimneys and the source of much of the damage, Affordable. He said, Aye it is a fair enough house for having been left. Brilliant, we said, here is where the kitchen will go, we will put an en-suit there, we can't wait to pull up all the old sodden carpets and pull the peeling paper completely off. Delighted we asked ourselves, will we even bother with a survey?