Birdsong, daffodils, trees filled with frothy blossoms. I am impatient for spring, for new beginnings, for all the sleeping bulbs and plants in my garden to slowly awaken and unfurl. I am on my second lot of hyacinth bulbs in the sitting room and but the muscari still show no interest in flowering and are seemingly are quite content to pretend to be grass instead.
The contemplation of a new chapter of the year made me think about the varying chapters of my life and in particular one of the most recent and significant - the time when we first bought our cottage.
It was with great anticipation and excitement that we started looking at potential homes. We'd been raring to go for the past 5 years but had been held back by London's ludicrous property market. But we were unperturbed, we watched Location, Location, Location it all seemed quite easy. You make an offer they accept or reject - no problem right? How wrong we were - looking back we were pretty green first-time buyers. We probably experienced some of the worst tricks in the property market; we were gazumped, manipulated by estate agents and got ourselves drawn into a bidding war only for the seller to walk away! As we retreated to nurse our wounds and bemoan the tactics of estate agents, it suddenly occurred to us; why not cut out the slick suited middle man altogether?
We put together a standard letter to house owners informing them that we were interested in their property and asking them to get in touch if they were looking to sell. As we drove around neighbourhoods we liked we would post our letter through the door of any properties that caught our eye (and that we thought we might be able to afford!) We had a few responses and one of them was from our cottage's previous owners. Eight months after posting that letter we were the proud owners of bricks and mortar.