Thursday, November 01, 2007

The way we live now

We moved into our current house twenty years ago. The previous owner had lived in it for fifty years and not much had been done to it in that time. We lived in chaos for a while as we installed such luxuries as central heating, electrical wiring, a kitchen and a room in the roof. Twenty years later, all that work starts to come up for renewal around the same time. And let me tell you - paying for your second boiler is nothing like as much fun as paying for the first one. It costs more and the novelty isn't there anymore.
Anyway, over the last few months quite a few properties down our leafy suburban road have changed hands. People who are already retired or thinking about it have decided to take their profit and move to somewhere smaller. This means that the skips are dotting the road once more. Perfectly serviceable houses which have been refurbished during the last ten years are being gutted all over again as a younger generation of home makers move in, their imaginations inflamed by TV makeover shows and their way smoothed by twin incomes, and proceed to bring them up to the minimum standards they require. That means multiple bathrooms, fabulous kitchens, plasma screen TVs plumbed into artfully-lit recesses, gravel covering for the off-street parking and lots of decking. Just as we installed many things which the previous generation had managed to get by without, so they are introducing a whole new level of basic comfort and convenience.
I don't begrudge them any of it. It's just the way of the world. When we sell ours it will no doubt be bought by some go-getting young couple who'll wave our removal van off while muttering under their breath "how could they live like this?"


  1. Anonymous9:27 pm

    This is the perfect excuse to quote the wonderful Scaryduck, who mentioned househunting in a recent blog ( ) and wrote, 'The people who owned the place were a lovely elderly couple, looking to move somewhere smaller before eventually downsizing to a wooden box.'

  2. How else would I find my friends house if they didn't have skip outside!

  3. It's not much fun though. Even the house was gutted.

  4. Anonymous3:42 pm

    When we moved into our family home in April, the owner and I were haggling over fixtures and fittings and he had curtains that were very expensive but not to our taste. He didn't want them but knew he couldn't resell them to anyone other than us. We wanted some lights but nothing else. We ended up having this discussion:

    "500 quid for lights, carpets and curtains?"
    "But we don't want your curtains"
    "Yes you will"
    "No we won't"
    "You will"
    "Honestly my wife won't want them"
    "Yes she will"
    ** pause as I thought 'I hate your f'ing curtains as much as your f'ing arrogance... but we haven't exchanged yet'**
    "Actually we might need them when we first move in"
    "500 quid the lot"