Wednesday 8 June 2011

Our House, in the Middle of Our Street

I already have a washing machine: Another woman uses it. She uses my cooker and my kitchen every day. Her daughter plays in my garden and her partner mows my lawn. I have never used my washing machine. I have never lived in my house.

It is a modern terraced pebble-dashed place in a suburb somewhere in south west England. It’s not at the end of the world but it’s got the same postcode. Unlike the local shop in Cheshunt you can buy tin foil freely in this suburb, but the gardens are perfectly groomed and the children bounce their balls in eerie unison with one another. The house is in the town where The Doctor and I grew up. It is the place that I escaped from when I threw off the bow lines to explore and discover the world.

We bought our house as an investment, just before the Credit Crunch and property crash of the late-2000s,  and rented it out through an agency. As our lifestyle is so nomadic and The Doctor’s work is unpredictable we couldn’t decide at first where to buy a house. We then decided that the home town of both of our parents would make sense, as we regularly go back there to visit. The day that we went to buy a house was a Saturday. We had eleven viewing appointments with three estate agents. By the end of the day we had seen a house that we liked and put in an offer. If you’re not going to live in it then we found that it was not so hard to make a decision about a house. (When is a house not a home? When it’s an investment...) The house ticked the boxes in what we thought that we needed. It was there “just in case” and “for the future” if we ever decided to give up boating and settle down. But when I actually thought  that our family needed a house this year The Doctor was just beginning a three year research contract in central London. We talked about me and the children moving to the house in suburbia, while The Doctor worked in London and came home at weekends. That was less than ideal as a solution. Why not sell it and buy a house nearer to London? The price we would get for that house would not buy a two bedroom home anywhere near London. The rent doesn’t cover the mortgage so it costs us money every month and we periodically talked about selling it. But now we’ve made a decision. We will keep our investment for our family’s future. We will live on our bigger boat, and one day, with thoughts of Big Sister starting school in The Countryside, perhaps we will live on a mooring.

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