MrSlender and me have talked about living in a bigger house. Of course we have. With number two on the way it’s a conversation every couple has. But as much as we dreamed of an upstairs bathroom, a utility room or an en-suite that they were, just dreams. We simply could not afford to move to a house we wanted. Sure we could move, to another three bed, one that we maybe weren’t in love with. But for about £50k more than our current house and what did we have in addition? Maybe a hallway and an upstairs bathroom but not a huge deal more space. We never decided to look for a new house. We both thought that one day we would move but for now our little abode would stand us in good stead.
We used to walk past the Hopbine last summer, see its technically (by house number) just three doors down from us, read the planning notices and talk about what the builders might do to the pub. Keep it, can it, flats? We read there would be three dwellings on the site. Never did we discuss buying it. MrSlender would say what an awesome house it could be but that was it. No further discussion. Or even thought.
But something must’ve been going on in that mind of his. The Hopbine went on the market as a standalone property. Not even half finished, a right old state. The developer didn’t want to renovate, he wanted to build his new houses quickly (two on the site) sell and be off to the next thing. Nineteenth century pub conversions didn’t seem to appeal. That brain of MrSlender’s was ticking and come the end of 2012 he was wanting me to come and view the old pub. ‘No’ I said. ‘What’s the point, the garden’s too small. If you want to go and see it you go.’ (I was in supportive wife mode). So credit where credit’s due he persevered. Off he went. He returned convinced that if I saw it I would be ok about the size of the garden. So what could I do, I had to go.
I have to admit now I was not in love with it. Not like with our first house. I walked in and it was a building site. No kitchen, concrete floor, ceilings hanging down, huge holes in the floor, plaster hanging off walls, a reasonable garden, bigger than first thought I’ll admit but that in itself was a building site. It was a complete state. It was not a pub (or curry house) not yet a home. It was a shell. Not even the electrics and plumbing were finished.
But there was that twinkle in my beloved’s eye and I knew he had fallen for it. I was done for.