I suppose, before anything else, I ought to provide you with a description of the curtilage.
It has a front door. That is to say that there is access to the property, albeit not exactly at the front, and that, once upon a time, the feature over the step could have been a door. The furniture both inside and out is hanging off and many of the panels are rotten or absent. The glass panels are intact but there is a layer of the great outdoors on each and I am only guessing that they are glass because of the hint of opaqueness about them. There is also a fair amount of tape around the frame of the door to block out draughts. The problems are exacerbated by the fact that it is quite a job to open it without kicking it. Sooner or later someone’s foot, or at least their footwear, will become a fixture.
Once indoors and at least partly protected from the elements and their excitable choreography, you arrive in the hallway, with doors, mostly with handles, to the left, right and ahead. The first thing that hits you, or more accurately does not come anywhere near hitting you unless you happen to be Andre the Giant, is the height of the ceiling. Now I have to pause while I break out the tape measure. It stands at nine feet and three inches. OK, so not quite stately homes proportions, but this edifice is hardly a stately home. (It is a state, though!) Another thing that will not have escaped your notice is the bare concrete floor, which currently features throughout.
The door to the right leads to a store room. It also provides, theoretically at least, access into the loft. This is primarily as it benefits from not having a ceiling. The electric meter lives here and also the spaghetti of cables heading off to all corners of the house. Presently it is home to a pair of Poang chairs, a reclaimed dresser, the Vax and the fridge freezer. Looking up you will see that the underside of the roof is boarded and seemingly, touch wood, dry.
The door to the left of the hallway leads to the first of the Goat rooms, so named because the previous owner kept a sickly goat in there until, so we are told, its demise. There is a large, many paned window in the South wall, bathing what is a largely unpopulated room with more light than it needs and which would be put to much better use if it could, somehow, be allowed to flow into the kitchen. Plans are afoot to execute such a notion. Given its veterinary history and situation, I don’t see it being on the top of anyone’s wish-list to stay in, but perhaps when the removals boxes are removed, the Poangs, a stereo stacking system and all my guitars, not forgetting my coffin-sized bass amp and others, can take up residence. The only other door in the room leads to Goat room two. Again a profusion of cardboard boxes obscure that it is quite a generous and accommodating nine and a half feet by six and a half. There is a smaller window again on the South wall. The room’s external walls are not presently boarded or plastered, giving it a particularly utilitarian ambience. Another functional room, therefore. I’m hoping to be allowed to set the telescope up in here, although common sense suggests that it would be more usefully sited in the first Goat room so it would make it easier to take outside when the weather permitted and the need was greatest.
Returning to the hallway, the door opposite the front door leads to the main living room. This cavernous space measures over twenty three feet in length. Half of it is utilised as a kitchen/diner, with the back of a pair of dining table chairs backing on to our sofa, which designates the division into the living space.
The kitchen space has a marble effect work-top along most of the South wall. There is no window, hence the desire to knock a hole in the wall for a window of some sort to share in the glorious effulgence enjoyed in the Goat rooms! There is a narrow space at the end of the work-top for a cooker. It is however five centimetres narrow than the cooker that Gail has ordered from Scottish Hydro. Guess who didn’t bring a saw? There is a cupboard largely dominated by a hot water immersion system for the kitchen sink. A large under-counter space has plenty of room for a washing machine but not for another appliance beside it. A drawer space with no drawers lies below the counter at the other end. The splashbacks are tiled but have been crudely painted over and the gaps need sealing. It all gets a bit weird behind the space where the cooker will eventually be shoe-horned. Our beloved dining table and chairs fit in quite well, more by happy accident than design.
The remaining living space is quite a good size. Gail is keen for me to set up her Kinect for the x-box and I must confess that it makes a change not to be intimidated by the looming proximity of the television. To be honest, it looks quite titchy now. This’ll be the cue for my better half to start insisting for a larger screen. Instead of a coffee table (which we broke some of the plastic lugs of when we disassembled it), we have a large four-seater footstool to pile our rubbish on. It sort of dominated the living-room in Fareham but here does not. A rug allows us to put our feet on the floor without all our body temperature being sucked out through our socks. As well as flooring, the walls need a fresh lick of paint, preferably something that will allow for a little movement and maybe a little condensation without flaking off all over the place. Another massive window allows massive amounts of light to pour onto the TV. Blackout curtains will surely become a necessity in the summer months. The North end of the room has a single door in it.
The small, confined, unlit hallway beyond has a door in each wall. The South, obviously, leads back into the living room. West leads to bedroom two, North to the WC/shower room and East to the ‘mistress’ bedroom. I am hoping very much that Smokey’s litter tray will not become a permanent fixture.
Bedroom two is over eleven by nine with a window facing North. I’ve set up the bunk-beds in there. Otherwise it acts as another storeroom full of removals boxes. It has a pair of curtains and a lampshade, but it’s far from welcoming at present.
The WC is functional. I sorted out why the cistern leaked at any rate. Now I’m just concerned where the rest of the damp on the North wall is coming from. More disturbingly, the bird crap too. I think that both have something to do with the extractor fan being improperly sealed and every avian’s second choice perch. Their first choice of perch being the car, which I am sure used to be blue before it got covered in guano! There is a shower cubicle but we haven’t used it as the shower itself is what can best be described as ineffective. The water does not get very hot and there is not a lot of it. Given that the room itself is cold and damp it does not exactly encourage use.
The master, sorry I mean mistress, bedroom is the most popular room in the place. The best thing that we’ve ever bought, in my opinion, is our wonderful cast iron bed. It has a great mattress on it and a twelve tog duvet that has attractive properties in that you never want to leave it. I try hard not to and Gail has even less success in escaping from it. A large window faces East and will constitute a liability in Summer when the sun starts coming up at three in the morning. There is a second door in the room that leads to what was intended to be an en-suite shower-room. It has a small window in the North wall. It is very much unfinished. The walls are bare breezeblock and the ceiling is unplastered. There is also no artificial light in the room. It also has no fittings for an en-suite shower-room meaning that it is also just another store room.
Thereby ends the tour. Thank you for your patronage. Please make your way out through the gift shop.