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This house has been perfect for us, for our family through the teenage years. I don’t want to let the current frustrations of selling it, to mar the happy memories.

We spent a few months house hunting at the time that S~E started secondary school. We saw a dozen homes that were not quite what we were looking for. One day we viewed this house and it clicked. It had the bedrooms we wanted, an ensuite and separate family bathroom, it had the separate utility room, the secluded garden.

It is close to local shops, to train stations, there are buses at the end of the road and the girls could walk to school. As they got older, they used the buses, including the night bus from central London or bars and night clubs . We were not the free taxi service for our kids that some parents seem to become these days.

The girls decided that we could have a dog at this house, before we even moved in. In our previous flat, we’d progressed from two goldfish in a bowl, to four foot long fish tanks, one with tropical fish and one with marine fish and shrimps. Aussie Mate did not want little furry pets, the girls did not want the snake or lizard that Dad might have allowed. We are not cat people. We looked after the school guinea pig a couple of times, which came to stay for weekends in a large wicker picnic hamper. Life moved on, the fish tanks went.

Jade, a Jardine parrot, joined our family. She learnt to speak a few words, a few phrases, not necessarily the things we tried to teach her, but perhaps comments she heard a lot. She said her name, hello, good night, good girl but also “be quiet” and “shut up”. As she matured she developed orange feathers on her head and shoulders. She liked flying around the lounge, sitting on shoulders and on the top of doors. She imitated all the various bells and buzzers in the house, oven timer, phone ring etc.

z Jade

A few months after we moved in, with secure fences in place, we chose Oska, a schnauzer puppy, and brought him home. He soon settled in, and we all enjoyed being dog owners. Less than a year later, Izak, a mini schnauzer, also joined the family. There were some challenges to establish the pecking order in the household, with mutual respect between the dogs and the bird. Oska was always top dog, a guard dog, who thought he was well up the family hierarchy with the girls way down at the bottom.

z Oska

z Izak 2

z O&I 2

We enjoyed the garden, the fish pond with frogs and tadpoles, the birds that came to the feeders. We read Sunday papers outside, had barbecue meals every day of the week as weather allowed. We enjoyed the garden in the snow too.

z  garden

z snow

As we moved in, the girls chose their bedrooms and we decorated, one purple, one turquoise. A few years later, when S~E got an electronic drum kit, we insisted the girls swapped rooms so S~E was above the garage. Even with headphones, we didn’t need to hear the kick drum from the room above, whilst relaxing in the lounge. So more decorating, turquoise again and now orange for C~M.

The girls grew up in this house, from pre-teens to young women. Music tastes changed, the tv screen got bigger, computers and smart phones became the norm, but we still shared meals and watched favourite tv shows together. We never had televisions upstairs in the bedrooms.

It has been a great family home for us. Hopefully, soon, someone else will view the house and it will be right for them too.