I'm moving today!!
I didn't dare get too excited or "diarise" my housing situation beyond generic, political comment, but yesterday, after jumping through more hoops than a prize poodle at Crufts, I became the proud owner of the biggest bunch of keys you ever saw.
When we were initially told we had to move, we found a little house a few roads away. It was "meh". Somewhere to live, but a depressing squeeze on our already hopelessly crammed living space. We took it because we had to have a home, but there was no va-va-voom (hat tip to some French car company.....)
Just three weeks before we were due to move, it all fell through. In a bit of haze, Dave and I sprang into action, and within an hour had 5 viewings booked.
The first was tiny, like an Alice in Wonderland version of home. The second was demoralising. Like an actress with new Double-Ds, the stunning sea views fronted a hell hole of damp and splinters. The third had grills at the window!!
Despairing and sniffing the scent of failure, (or possibly mould) we trudged on to No.4.
I'm not quite sure what happened or how, but I can only assume the universe let off some kind of magic spark.
We pulled up outside an elegant mansion with an ornate York stone doorway, set in perfectly manicured gardens. I know the area well, it's full of these old, turn-of-the-century mansions, most split into rabbit warrens of 12 or 14 bedsits. The area is beautiful, quiet and waiting-for-God-genteel.
With the cynicism of the day shifting uncomfortably, we peeked nervously through the front door.
The entrance hall was rather grand if I remember, but to be honest, I was too busy picking my jaw up from the floor as the agent opened the door to the flat. We walked into a vast lounge with carved stucco ceilings that reached to the stars. The corner of the room was a light-drenched, elegant bay with 8 ft high windows. Acres of wooden flooring met an open fireplace with a marble surround.
I think we just stood there saying Oh My God quite a lot. I DO remember that it is the only time in 17 years that my husband hasn't fiddled with sash windows, tutting darkly, or tapped walls with an air of one who suspects damp.
The boys just shrieked a lot and developed knee-slide techniques that will no doubt see them through many a happy rainy afternoon.
I was almost too scared to see any other rooms. With the seafront flat still fresh in our minds, I was convinced there must be an abattoir in the kitchen or squatters in the bathroom.
Next, was an enormous bedroom with the same beautiful ceilings and more 8 ft bay windows, then another huge bedroom, then a huge bathroom, then a new kitchen, then - I'm sure I didn't dream it - a beautiful, ancient conservatory. We took it there and then.
There is even a "camp" hidden away in the bushes at the bottom of the garden, that my kids are convinced was left by the fairies just for them, so perfect and mossy and hidden away is it.
So I'll be off for a bit. We're not nearly packed, but an army of helpers are marching towards Worthing as we speak. A chilli that could feed Wembley is on the stove, ready for hungry workers.
Dave and I seem to have appalling luck, always in crisis, yet somehow, just at the 11th hour, we fall on our feet. I have no idea how this flat was within our budget, no idea why there weren't the customary Worthing to London queues to see anything that you could actually live in. I'm just glad it was and there weren't
I won't have broadband for a bit, so don't let me down welfare warriors! Tweet, blog, write to your MPs, email - Don't you let them get away with any fibs while I'm de-webbed will you? You know how I'll fret. Watch those #wrb committees and try somehow to give Lord Fraud a conscience......OK, that's too much to ask, but do what you can ;)
See you soon!