The neighbourhood

It finally happened! On April 1st he took possession of the keys to a house, and we were hot foot to see what he’d bought. Of course, we’d seen photographs and had a few expectations, but nothing compares with the pride and joy of owning your first home. A place you can put your stamp on. I remember it well from my own first venture, long years ago.

The property, in Chapel Allerton, had belonged to an elderly gentleman and had been adapted to make life easier for him, but looking at the steep curve of the stairs it was hard to see how he could have managed. It’s a house for a much younger person, with a family. There’s plenty of work to be done, but the rewards are visible in the handiwork of some of the neighbours. First job was to lift the living room carpet to inspect the floorboards. In good condition, it was decided to sand and varnish them. So easily said, but a lot of effort and choking dust. While much of this went on I took the youngster to explore the neighbourhood.

Naturally we spotted a few colourful electricity boxes. By my standards it was extremely cold, but the youngster skipped ahead, eager to share his findings. Spring was undoubtedly in the air, pink and white magnolia illuminating the skies. A swing dangled from one sturdy specimen, evidence of the young companions we hoped to find. On the High Street, planters dazzled, jewel bright, and a book shop promised hours of pleasure. At the supermarket we selected chocolate eggs, for that all important first Easter egg hunt in the new house, and returned to help with the work. Further down our street we spotted a ‘Peace’ tree, hung with small coloured eggs, and a gardening neighbour pronounced us ‘welcome to the street!’ A new beginning, full of hope. And a ladybird on a bedroom window.

A postscript : returning home, myself and husband have tested positive for Covid. It had to happen one day and I wouldn’t have missed the above for the world. We are fine and hope to be able to resume normal life at the weekend.

107 thoughts on “The neighbourhood

  1. Glad you are all recovered from Covid and ready to travel again. Your son sounds like he has his hands full of DIY for a while till he makes it their own. But that is so exciting. There’s nothing quite like putting your own stamp on a place to live.

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  2. Hope you both are recovering well, Jo!

    It must have been such an experience to share this milestone! The road to independence is often such a challenging one, and when one is able to share in an occasion like this, it must really warm a parent’s heart!

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  3. Every time I read a post about you visiting family in England I’m reminded of when covid shut down everything and you’d only recently moved full-time to Portugal and didn’t know when you’d ever be able to get back to see them again. And I’m so happy for you that you can go back and forth now.
    We too have covid! It must be going around πŸ˜‚
    We’re both a bit under the weather tho nothing too serious and it’s been a bit over a week now. We’re not 100% yet, but a little better every day so nothing to worry about.
    Hope you both are improving speedily too.
    Alison

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  4. So glad your son and family have managed to find a house Jo – how exciting for them! Chapel Allerton is just down the road from Moor Allerton where I lived for 12 years whilst growing up. The magnolias look so pretty too πŸ™‚ Do hope you are both feeling much better now xx

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    • Thanks, Carol! It’s been a quiet week, doing jobs and keeping ourselves apart from friends. I’ve been so grateful for WhatsApp and being able to see the issues in the house. DIY is pretty new to our son but, with a little help, he’s getting there.

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  5. How exciting, Jo. I think many of us, I know I can say so, felt our first homes were palaces, even though they needed so much work! It was a wonderful time in my young life, and for your son, this is a real accomplishment. Somehow when you’re young the work just doesn’t feel as overwhelming, even though time and money are short! And I see by your comments that you’re feeling better. I’m so glad.

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    • Thanks so much, Debbie! i think I just realised yesterday how very helpful technology can be in our lives. He wasn’t happy with the varnish on the floor boards and rang for advice. He was able to show us the problem with his phone and it was easily resolved. And his lady was smiling, so all is well.

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  6. Hope it’s not too close to Elland Road, where the local white-shirted soccer team plays.? πŸ˜€
    Joke aside, seems to be a wonderful place. πŸ™‚

    Best wishes to you all – and hope you both soon are walked away from that Covid19 stuff. πŸ™‚

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  7. Sorry to hear you got Covid Jo but hopefully you’re over the worst of it by now. Your husband’s attitude towards it is the same as mine πŸ™‚ Exciting times for your son and his family, I hope they enjoy their new home in what sounds like a nice area πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks, darlin! The area is a good mix of families and a good place to set down some roots, I think. They have a lot of work on their hands but they’re young enough to tackle that. Currently I just feel tired from all the excitement but I’m hoping to be mobile again this weekend.

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  8. Glad to hear your son’s house sale went through, and on April 1, what could be better than that!. I hope they enjoy the process of renovating. Things go wrong, but even then there’s a story to tell afterwards. Sorry to hear you got COVID, but It doesn’t sound like it’s affecting you too badly so that’s great. Still COVID-free here, but who knows how long that will last.

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    • They are really excited, Graham, but a bit overwhelmed by what they’ve taken on. It’s a sound little house but needs work. They’re not short of ideas but time, know how and of course money will be factors. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve accomplished when we go back in August.

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  9. After a couple of weeks away from the WP reader I’m now catching up with my favourite people Jo. How exciting to be able to pop over and check out the new house, sorry to hear you brought covid back home. Hope you quickly recover. Sounds a very friendly neighbourhood. Good neighbors are so important. We have the electricity boxes decorated over here too. They brighten up the streets. πŸ€—

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  10. I’m finally getting notification of your posts but have obviously missed some in the interim. This is your son’s and family’s house? How exciting! Lovely power boxes and the tree in bloom is beautiful too. Sorry about the Covid but happy that it didn’t really seem to impact either of you. That’s a blessing!

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  11. Another oh yes! oh no! post. How lovely you had chance to help them settle in and celebrate their new home. I hope they’ll be very happy there. It sounds like a friendly, creative neighbourhood. But I am sorry you’ve caught Covid, even though as you say, it probably has to happen some time. Very good news though that you are both feeling fine.

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  12. How wonderful to move into a house of one’s own! My son bought one two years ago – but then suddenly got a girlfriend…and found the house to small for them. He loved that house…but loved his girlfriend even more. So, they bought a bigger house. πŸ˜€ Now they enjoy renovating too. And I am glad to hear you are feeling better now!

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  13. I can remember the evils of sanding a floor! We (or should that be I) had a lot of work done on our first house in Shrewsbury – we decided to sand the bedroom floor ourselves and despite pulling out / knocking in errant nails we still kept ripping the sandpaper so ended up on our knees using the edging machine to do the entire floor! We got someone in to sand the lounge! Get them to check out the attic too – if it needs insulating and boarding get it done before any decorating – you wouldn’t believe the amount of much that comes from that job! Best of luck to them and I wish them loads of happiness in their new abode. (And hoping it has a spare room for you… as I am sure you’ll be popping over regularly).

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    • We spent ages pulling out and bashing down nails and staples, Jude. The carpet hadn’t been down long and was intended to stay. Fortunately we only had one sandpaper ‘incident’ as we’d been well warned, but it was 2 days of serious effort. There isn’t an attic- probably because it’s flat-roofed. The kitchen is the major issue because it’s tiny and not in great condition. The cooker was out of the ark, the washer not much better, and they have had to rip a cupboard out to make space for a fridge freezer, all of which has left it pretty untidy and the units aren’t good. Nothing that money can’t fix in the long run but they are hoping to give it a cosmetic fix for now. There may be a damp issue too. Plus they need new patio doors as the existing ones aren’t secure and lead to the ramshackle conservatory. But I think they’ll be happy there. The 3rd bedroom isn’t big and is to be a study so we’ll wait and see. I think it’ll be an Airbnb in the summer but I haven’t started looking.

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      • The joys of house ownership, always something to do. I’d forgotten about the flat roof, one less problem then. Might be best to remove all the kitchen units and just use freestanding cupboards, or look for second-hand stuff on Freecycle or other similar sites. People rip out perfectly good kitchens just because they are not their taste!

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      • Those sound like good suggestions and I’ll pass them on. I’m hoping Marie’s son will pop over and give a bit of advice. James is full of ideas but carrying them through is a different matter. πŸ™„πŸ’Ÿ

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    • Many thanks, Frank! I wish we could have stayed on to help, as trying to get things done and work as well is difficult. Hoping they can relax a bit at Easter but there’s quite some work ahead of them.

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  14. I hope they can get everything done as they would like before they finally move in as then things seem to take a back seat and ages to get done. It sounds like a wonderful place. Take care and hope you and M have a a restful time and recover at your pace. Lovely to hear from you Jo πŸ€—πŸ’•

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    • Thanks so much, Brian! There are a few issues to solve and our son has no DIY experience and limited cash available, so it’s all a bit of a challenge. A steep learning curb! They watched a YouTube video before starting on the lounge and it’s turned out really well.

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      • I had no experience and built a house. It’s a learning curve where the adventure is well worth the end result. I was lucky to know builders who showed me how to do things. Life before the internet πŸ˜‚

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  15. I am feeling excited for your son, and for you as well! But sorry to hear about you getting Covid! Oh well it’s true…everybody’s bound to get it one time or the other.
    Take care, Jo!

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  16. That moment when you walk through your doors, plop down on your couch and breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, “Finally, it’s ours (or mine)!” And the joy of looking at all of your boxes, getting to roll your eyes about why you buy so much stuff, then giving yourself a moment to take a nap because you worked hard to get here and earned it! Yes, that’s a real feeling! I am sorry to hear about Covid, Jo! I hope all is well πŸ™‚ Aiva xx

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  17. Congratulations to your son, Jo! I’m sorry to hear about the Covid. I think you’re right, everyone is bound to get it, some more than once. Take care, and I hope you and your husband are feeling better soon. xo

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  18. Sounds like they’ve chosen a lovely neighbourhood in which to put down roots πŸ™‚ You must be happy to have seen it for yourself and to be able to picture them there!
    Sorry though to hear about the Covid, but seems like you’re over the worst now?

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    • My son is a bit OCD and struggling with having the place a mess but you can’t do everything at once and work as well! Hopefully he’ll be a bit realistic πŸ€”πŸ’Ÿ But yes, we’re very happy for them, and I still hope to see you on Saturday, but I’ll keep you posted.

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  19. So exciting for your son to collect the keys and step into his own home for the first time and lovely that you were also able to be there to witness the occasion. I’ve not been to Chapel Alperton but it looks so nice with all the spring blooms. Glad you’ve only experienced mild COVID effects.

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    • Thanks, Marion! As we came out of Leeds bus station we were greeted by a sea of daffodils. I’d forgotten how nice they can look. Really happy for the youngsters. They’ve worked hard to make this happen.

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  20. I just love how you fill your post with flowers (real ones and those on the electricity boxes) 😊. A house in a nice neighbourhood – that’s a good start buying a first home!
    Glad to hear you’re, despite the circumstances, doing ok – hope you’re back on your feet again soon. Take care 🌸.

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  21. Wonderful Jo! Wishing them much happiness in their new home. Sorry to read the ending though. Hoping you’ve caught the mildest variant there is🀞

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    • Bless you, hon! When they were sanding floors with all the windows wide open I was frozen and sure I’d caught my death of cold. It was no worse than that, and I’m feeling loads better now. Not well enough to do much housework, funnily enough….

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  22. I’m excited for them in their house hunting success and making the house into a “home,” but I am dismayed to hear that you have caught Covid, Jo. Do take extra good care, both of you. May it remain only a mild inconvenience and only for a short time.

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    • Thanks, darlin! I’m so happy we made the trip. You feel so helpless this far apart, but they have lots happening between now and the summer. I shall enjoy a lazyish couple of days and see how we go.

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