Thursday 18 November 2021

Period Features

Our room with a view

Some days the fact that our dining room must do triple-duty as my office and the guest room rankles, and then Benedict Ambrose and I look at property websites. Well, to be honest, we mostly look at RightMove. And I am often heartened to see that there are flats for sale that cost less than ours would, if we sold it, and to discover that, as the years go on, we have more flats--and even semi-detached houses!--to choose from. 

Sometimes there are real surprises on the market, nice-looking homes that are so cheap, we give into the the temptation to have a look to see what is wrong with them. We went to such a home--or, to be precise, a rental flat the absentee landlady wants to sell--late this afternoon. 

In some ways, it was a wow. A double-upper built c. 1890, it has four bedrooms, beautiful windows (B.A. is a great connoisseur of windows), a large kitchen (which needs gutting), fireplaces, and a sitting room so large and so resplendent with period features, it truly serves to be called a drawing room. Wood underfoot---well, wood laminate. 

However, this gem--which needs work on the roof, the chimney breast and very likely the wiring--does not have a garden. And it does not have a view of something pretty. We have a garden. We have a view of something pretty. 

We also have neighbours whom we like. On the way back home, we discovered that one of them had put out our recycling bins again, even though he hurt his back earlier this week. We found him smoking a meditative cigarette near the scene of the charitable act, and B.A. accused him of wanting to get injured and sue us. Our neighbour laughed merrily and bantered back. 

When looking at the front of building our flats comprise, I am reminded of someone in one of the Oz books who explain that his people's design philosophy is to have homes that are very dull on the outside and dazzling on the inside.   

"Outside? Who cares for the outside of anything?" asked the Chief. "We Horners don't live on the outside of our homes; we live inside. Many people are like those stupid Hoppers, who love to make an outside show. I suppose you strangers thought their city more beautiful than ours, because you judged from appearances and they have handsome marble houses and marble streets; but if you entered one of their stiff dwellings you would find it bare and uncomfortable, as all their show is on the outside. They have an idea that what is not seen by others is not important, but with us the rooms we live in are our chief delight and care, and we pay no attention to outside show."

I am not entirely convinced, but it is worth thinking about. If I could make our flat as much like a New Town dwelling on the inside as I could, I might even consider it a candidate for our "forever (earthly) home." However, we are hospitable people, and although we do not need four bedrooms, we would like more room for guests. 

Wherever we go, though, we must have either a private garden or, like New Town folk, a key to semi-private one. At very least, I must have a south-facing balcony on which to put my veggie trug.  

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