When we bought this house eight years ago we went through hell. A hell that one day I will blog about but suffice to say it was almost the breaking of us. The dream home we bought from developers soon turned out to be a nightmare. It had not been built to the agreed plans and they had hidden from us the fact that retrospective planning had been refused. And not only that but a demolition order had been placed on half the house. A fact we discovered from a local councillor who saw boxes being unloaded the day we moved in and asked what the hell we were doing.
There were tears. There were solictors. Cheques written. Lots of solicitors. Letters. More tears. Phone calls. Sleepless nights and a lot of heartache. It took 18 months to get it resolved. And lots of money. Our house could literally have been torn down and we held our breath as the Inspectorate from Bristol came down to make a decision on the future of our house. She stood in the garden with a clipboard and had the power to pretty much make us homeless through no fault of our own.
We had been let down by our conveyancing solicitor, the vendors, the local council when searches were carried out. Every safety net had failed to catch us and shoulders were shrugged as we tried to hold down jobs, three young children, building our new life in our first home together and trying to literally keep a roof over our heads.
Much of that time I have blanked out. I can’t think about it. It took over our lives and the only way to move on from it once resolved is to not think about it. We had hundreds of phone calls and emails with the developers we bought from. They had bought from a couple who had lived here for years. Had sold them a three bedroom property and then seen it converted to the five bedroom house we bought. It took months to complete our purchase, the correspondence destroyed many a tree.
The developers we bought from were, and probably still are, bastards. Seriously. I can’t think of them without anything but contempt. They lied to us. Blatantly lied. Hid the truth about planning applications and retrospective permission being refused. About their falling out with the neighbours because their scaffolding was unsafe and masonry was falling perilously close to their small children. Lied. Repeatedly. For months I wanted nothing but bad things to happen to them.
But I am also all about karma. What goes around comes around. Their time would come. They were giving out misery and heartache. One day the universe would deliver the same to them if you believe in these sorts of things.
Things came right in the end for us. Things did get resolved. We learnt a lot. We carried on living in the house we love.
One of the conversations I do remember having with the developers revolved around a terracotta sunshine that sits above our garage door. An odd insignificant thing but the conversation has niggled me. And I can’t remember how it even came about as we paid one of our many visits to the property as the building works were completed and our sale continued.
That terracotta sunshine on the garage is an odd thing.
Oh yeah, the old owners left that. They came back one day and asked if they could have it back and we said no. It would have left a mark on the garage so we told them they couldn’t have it.
Yeah, they should have taken it with them when they moved.
What sort of person denies that request?
A two minute exchange that meant nothing. About a small stone ornament.
But for eight years I have remembered that conversation. And thought about the last family that lived here and what that ornament meant to them that they wanted it back after forgetting to take it down when they moved. It niggled me that the
bastards developers had refused to give it back to them.
Because we didn’t buy from the last people to live here, from that family, but from the
bastards developers, we had no idea where they had moved to. So I couldn’t take it to them. And anyway what would I say? The bastards developers had lied to us about so much else maybe they had lied about this and I would look like a lunatic. So it stayed on our garage and everytime I see it, I think of them.
Then last month I saw a lady post something in a local parenting group on Facebook. She had the same unusual surname as the family who moved. I posted and said “you are going to think I am a loon but did you live on <insert road name> in Fleet?”. No she said but her school friend with the same surname did and how could she help.
We exchanged private messages and I explained the whole sorry saga, wondering if it was true, it could have been lies but I had a terracotta sunshine and if the story is true I really wanted to get that sunshine back to it’s rightful owner. She took my number and said she would pass it on.
I really thought I was rambling and sounding like I had lost the plot and that it would go no further. That my number would be binned and my story put into the “you will never believe that this woman told me”.
Yesterday I got a phone call from Janet, a member of the family that had lived here. The lady on Facebook had relayed the story to her friend of this random woman who was talking about a house she was living in that had a stone sunshine and did it mean anything to her friend?
It did. She knew the house. She knew the sunshine.
It had been bought on a holiday to Italy, one of only a few foreign holidays her parents had taken and that had been a souvenir. Her dad had died two years ago. They had asked the
bastards developers if they could have it back after they moved out and realised they had forgotten to take it with them. The bastards developers had said no.
Janet would like to come and get it today. Tomorrow is her mum’s 80 birthday.
Guess what I am giving her?
Karma. Karma and sunshine
and now when I look at the mark left behind I can smile knowing it took awhile but it happened in the end