Home is Where the Heart is…

Fandango’s Provocative Question asks this week:-

Which of these four types of community to you currently live in – urban, suburban, exurban, or rural? Are you happy there? If so, why? If not, why not, and which type of community would you prefer to live in?

We currently live in the midst of an urban community, by choice, and I absolutely love where we live. Three and a half years ago we bought a detached 1930s bungalow with private garden front and back in a mixed business and residential area within the town of Inverness in the North of Scotland. Our intention was to buy somewhere we could grow old in – basically our retirement home, bought early enough that we could do what we wanted to it BEFORE we actually retired.

As a plan, it’s sort-of worked so far. We are within easy walking distance (10-15 minutes) of four different supermarkets and one dedicated freezer store, not to mention our doctor’s surgery and dentist. And it only takes 15-20 minutes to walk into the middle of the town centre, so everything is reasonably accessible for us here. We are also on a bus route so that when walking is not so easy, public transport is an option for us, and there are always taxis to take where necessary.

We are also within easy walking distance of both the River Ness (which we have to cross over to go into town) and the Caledonian Canal (on the western-most edge of town) so have easy access in either direction to somewhere pleasant and tree-lined to stroll along just for enjoyment. Location-wise, then, it’s the perfect place for us, a best-of-both-worlds urban home situated on its own little garden plot with easy access to business and pleasure, amenities and nature.

The house itself is a bit of a fixer-upper on all counts – we bought it understanding that everything would need to be redone or replaced eventually, but nothing needed doing immediately as long as we lived with whatever dated fixtures and fittings and decor were already there. So far we’ve replaced all the windows and the two external doors, have fixed the ageing roof, have replaced the ancient heating/ hot water boiler, and have replaced all the light fixtures.

There’s still lots to do but we’re getting there at our own pace, work and health issues and family and everyday life often taking precedence over the never-ending list of DIY jobs to be tackled, but even though much remains as yet undone in the house, I love it no matter what and thank my lucky stars that this particular house should be on the market at exactly the right time for us to buy it.

I remember the first day we came to view it, I saw a tired but clearly much-loved old house with loads of potential, and the minute we walked through the front door I simply knew it was going to be the right home for us. And there’s not one day since we moved in that I’ve thought any different. I realise an old fixer-upper house changed bit by bit instead of all in one go is not to everyone’s taste, but it has a character and an eclectic style all of its own and it suits us just fine… 🙂

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JusJoJan: Amenities

In any home, two of the most important amenities to be found are the bathroom and the kitchen.

In our home, we knew when we moved in three and a half years ago that at some point, both the master bathroom and kitchen would have to be not only updated but replaced. But, oh, how difficult it is to decide exactly what to do with them! We look at kitchen designs and bathroom designs and just when I think we might have made a decision on what may be best, we change our minds again. That level of renovation and remodeling is just so expensive it’s really important to make the right choice – the right style, the right colour, the right feel

Neither room currently works as well as we would like, but neither doesn’t work, either, so in one sense there’s no rush, but in another way we’re in danger of having got so used to it as it is, we almost don’t notice the inconvenience any more… almost… but not quite… 🙂

JusJoJan: Amenities

April A-Z: E is for Eclectic

I seem to have quite an eclectic taste in stuff, a creative mix of old and new, traditional and modern, and I really like it that way. We have a 1930s bungalow that was updated/ extended in the early 1990s and we’ve lived here for two and a half years, doing it up bit by bit. I tend to like to have a reasonably neutral background but love to add bright splashes of colour in an informal mix-and-match hotch-potch of stuff I like that doesn’t necessarily go together in theory, but somehow because each item goes with my taste it all looks surprisingly Ok when put together in practice. No-one would ever accuse me of being a minimalist; I’m quite content with a bit of creative clutter around me when it comes to personal possessions…  🙂

Life events have conspired to pull me away from blogging over the last couple of months, and the idea of taking part in this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge seems like a good way to try to get back into the habit of reading and posting regularly. Originally I thought of just using any old random words to go with the particular letter of the day, but realistically without a clear theme to work towards I’m not sure I’d be able to keep my focus for a full month… So instead I’ve opted for a relatively simple, if slightly self-indulgent work-around: This year I’ll be posting 26 things about me, nothing too taxing to write about yet still fulfilling the brief!

When I’m Sixty-Four…

This week Fandango asks us provocatively:

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Ha, that old chestnut! The favourite career-building interview question that opens up the way for giving some stock smart-ass sound-bite answer that trips off the tongue and tells the prospective employer just how committed you are to meeting their particular needs in the long-term… Well I’m not a career girl, never have been, but when it comes to my personal life maybe I do have long-term plans to think about putting into words?

In five years’ time I definitely see me still living here with my husband, in our lovely little bungalow we bought not quite two and a half years ago. Hopefully we’ll be a lot further along the road in getting both house and garden exactly the way we want it – we’ve done plenty so far, slowly but surely, and have plenty more to do. I find that plans change organically as time passes, imagined ideals are knocked off their perfect pedestals and their more down-to-earth replacements generally turn out to be far more realistic practicalities. And as we like to do the DIY stuff ourselves as far as possible, to date the transformation has not been a quick process, but I’m confident we’ll get there in the end!

In five years’ time I see me still in the pre-retirement stage of my life and still proactively planning for my post-retirement phase – currently I’m on course to receive my UK State Pension at 67, in 2030, so in five years’ time at 64 I’ll still be three years short of that goal. At that point I might still be working part time, health permitting, and I imagine I’ll either have a very crumbly old hip joint or a very shiny new hip joint, depending on the particular level of internal disintegration and current NHS waiting lists. Hopefully my Long Covid symptoms will be a distant memory by then, and surely this God-awful pandemic will have become endemic and managed by annual jabs, much like flu is now?

In five years’ time will I still be blogging? Not sure about that one, I might be, but then again I might not – watch this space, and we’ll find out! 🙂  

Home

Home…

A nineteen thirties bungalow in style

Mock-Tudor boards on double-fronted bays

Old paint-peeled rendered walls that made me smile

And fall in love in oh-so-many ways

Its shabby chic and part-neglected air

Called out to me to make this house my own

Look far beyond its age without a care

Ignore its dated décor overtone

And now we live together in this space

Eclectic symbiosis oft appears  

Where partial changes slowly taking place

Bring modern touches to the faded years

I love the way the blend of old and new

Creates a loving home for me and you… ❤

Weekly Prompts: Old and New

Home Sweet Home

Who won the week for me this week is our lovely house – it’s a year almost to the day since we moved in, and I honestly think I love it more every day, knowing we intend to live here for the rest of our lives.

We finally had our new windows and doors fitted last week (several months behind our initial planned schedule, for obvious reasons – thank you, coronavirus lockdown) and the difference in how the whole internal space feels now is amazing, creating a much warmer and far more welcoming environment for us to live in than their ageing weathered predecessors were ever able to provide.

We’ve still got such a long way to go both inside and out to get the house completely the way we want it, but I know we’ll get there eventually one upgrade, one improvement at a time. And in the meantime this remains the practical, comfortable home we chose together, our secure safe space to be truly ourselves, living our own lives in our own unique way, growing older and hopefully wiser over the years.

Home to me is not supposed to be a sparkly surface-styled showhome, a classy double-spread feature in a glossy celebrity magazine. Instead it’s a private space, a sentimental personal place where we can feel we belong completely along with our private personal belongings, our brightest visions and darkest vulnerabilities, our highest hopes and deepest fears.

Home sweet home for us forever – happy first anniversary house! 🙂

Wanderlust? Not me…

I honestly don’t seem to have a wanderlust bone in my body: I have no real desire to travel far from home. I truly like being at home. Over the course of my fifty-six years on this planet I’ve only visited a handful of countries – France, Belgium, Canada, USA – and am someone who takes the term ‘staycation’ literally, even preferring to stay at home for any holidays from work rather than visiting somewhere else within the UK 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Wanderlust