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Finding a Home (Part Two)

Updated on March 4, 2017

Torquay Harbour at Night 2015

Our Family Home

As I wrote in part one, we lived in this house for thirty years. It was an end of terrace on an estate way out of town and near to the countryside, woods and beach so an ideal place to bring up children. I kept up the routine my mother had taught me, she had never gone out to work, so it was a continuous slog of the same routine week in and week out if I'm honest. I hardly ever had time to sit down until the kids were asleep and even then, being a night owl, I would go outside in the evenings and do some gardening or in the winter I would be knitting them jumpers, hats and scarves. Reading and listening to the radio or music were a thing of the past, but we would watch television together in the evenings, after homework and dinner.

The children still had a free-range childhood in the 1970's, not much different from my own, except we now had a car so went out as a family for Sunday afternoon drives after our roast dinner, over the Moors in the decent weather. We didn't like them playing out on a Sunday, even though I felt really disappointed when my own parents made me go to Sunday School instead of to Tide Mills beach with my friends when I was growing up in Newhaven. Being a parent now, I understood! Kids need structure and discipline. love and attention as well as good food, clean clothes and a warm house. Yes, I was certainly kept very busy.

The house was quite spacious and the rooms were nice and square, the three boys shared a bedroom in the front of the house, we had the back bedroom because I liked the view over Brunel woods, eldest daughter had the ground floor bedroom and other daughter had the single bedroom. We had a separate bathroom and toilet upstairs with another toilet downstairs. The lounge with open fire was at the back of the house leading out into the garden and we converted the old coal shed into a utility room. Had a lot of boots and shoes to store somewhere!

For the last ten years there we were buying it so could do lots of DIY and improvements which gave me free reign to experiment with the aid of books because television did not cover house programmes like it does today. I watch them avidly now, always on the lookout for new ideas and am always re-arranging the furniture, but come downstairs in the mornings and move it all back again!

Our Bungalow

Finally all the children left home, they either got married, had partners of set up on their own, just like I did once. So we were free to downsize into a two-bedroomed bungalow, all on one floor with no stairs. I didn't really like sleeping downstairs though and it seemed odd not having an upstairs so we converted the loft space, making it into an en-suite master bedroom. This was successful as it freed up space downstairs but the downside was sleeping in the roof gives you surround sound plus the seagulls enjoyed tap dancing on the roof. Bit noisy, to say the least!

The garden was steep back and front, with lots of steps to climb, but I liked the far-reaching views from the top and besides it gave me exercise up and down all those steps. We were opposite a row of local shops which was fine at the beginning but then an off-licence appeared right opposite my lounge window (it had been a hairdressers before, but he retired). I did not like the way it was open till late at night and seven days a week so after eight years there, I (not we) decided to move.

Back to a House

I saw an affordable house for sale in my daughters village, by this time she had three little girls so I thought it would be nice if we moved in close by. Besides she had a self-built swimming pool and four acres! Yes, time to move out into the sticks. This house had three bedrooms again but it was mid-terrace so I always felt like I had no elbow room. Not being a very neighbourly type of person I did not like being overlooked, here I felt surrounded.Being near to my daughter and granddaughters was lovely and I did quite a lot of babysitting, fetching from nursery, supervising the pool, running around the field and playing games like skipping *grin* but the neighbour from hell moved in next door to our house so after only two years there I felt I had to move again.

The village was cut off and I have never passed my driving test, so it was wait for my husband to come home from work or walk for twenty minutes to the bus stop on the main road and they only ran once an hour. I loved the countryside there, the walks up and over the hills, the village community, the school, shop and pub but I did not like being cut off and I did not like my next door neighbours on both sides.

The house was fine, with two spare bedrooms for the family to come and stay over, a through lounge with big windows either end, an upstairs bathroom and a modest kitchen which was enough for me now there were only the two of us, it did have a big larder though. Outside was a decent brick built shed which doubled as a day room, we had re-decorated throughout (again) but when the newest neighbour, a boy of about twenty moved in and laid raised decking all over his back garden, then had his lager drinking mates round to party on it, that was the final straw for me. I was out of there!

Stoke Village, a long walk to the bus stop

Our Cottage

This is an old fisherman's cottage built around 1850 in a stunning location about two or three hundred yards from the beach, except it is a very steep walk down, or there is quite a famous cliff railway, yes it is that steep! But the cottage is up on the flat and all the amenities are close at hand which is a good job now I am on my own. I did not foresee that obviously, but hubby was about to retire so we thought this was a handy place to live. In fact, it is our old courting ground so I seem to have come full circle down in Devon.

The cottage has two bedrooms, so room for guests, a front sitting room, a back dining room, a kitchen extension, a downstairs toilet and an upstairs bathroom. Not very big rooms and quirky shapes and sizes which add to it's character, but don't get the spirit level out! The back courtyard is very private, sunny and secluded with high stone walls and a shed which was the old outhouse.

Next month, May 2015, I will have been in this cottage for eight years and it is just about as we wanted it to be. It had needed a lot of doing up but now with my son's help we have just about finished. I am going to finish this story by daring to say, it is ready to be marketed if I should so wish and then I could move back to Sussex!!!

Torquay Seafront Gardens 1968


How many times in your life have you moved house so far?

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© 2015 Bren Hall


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