Those of you who have read ‘Sell the Pig’ and ‘Is That Billinge Lump?’ will know that grottage is my word, coined by a friend, for a grotty cottage. And I have a bit of a history of buying them.
The first property I ever owned in my own right was a classic example. It was described by the surveyor as ‘unfit for human habitation’ as it had been home to an assortment of animals – dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and goats, all indoors – for several years and the smell inside was ‘rural’, to say the least.
I first saw it in company with my mother and my Auntie Ethel, she who invented the name Tottie Limejuice, which I adopted. Mother was horrified and kept saying ‘no, no, no’ as we looked round. But adventurous Auntie, bless her, saw the potential and encouraged me to buy it.
It didn’t help that the first thing we saw was the ‘kitchen’ as the only door to the property, at the rear, opened directly onto it, in all its glory. Be very thankful that no-one has yet invented a way to include smell in a blog post!
Unfit for human habitation? Surely not!
Perhaps the thing worrying Mother the most was the guest bedroom, as she liked to come and stay with me quite often.
What guest wouldn’t love spending the night in this delightful spare room?
Or perhaps, knowing her love of gardening and enjoyment of spending time outdoors, she was a little daunted by the gardens in their raw state.
A field of nettles was what constituted a garden.
Never mind, we would be able to make ourselves comfortable in the homely sitting room, surely?
Such a cosy room in which to put your feet up at the end of the day!
But buy it I did. It was in an extremely sought after village in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where properties very seldom come onto the market, and because of the state it was in, it was a snip of a price.
With a lot of elbow grease and bleach and the help of a good local builder, slowly it began to emerge from its chrysalis of grime to show the beautiful butterfly within.
But you’ll have to wait until the next blog post to see the ‘after’ photos.