Sunday, 27 September 2009

Great Snoring Discovery

 

"This house," said the real estate salesman, "has both its good points and its bad points. To show you I'm honest, I'm going to tell you about both. The disadvantages are that there is a chemical plant quarter of a mile to the north and a slaughterhouse quarter of a mile to the south.

"What are the advantages?" inquired the prospective buyer.

"The advantage is that you can always tell which way the wind is blowing." replied the realtor.

Like lawyers, real estate agents are not high in the popularity stakes. That’s as the case may be, but years ago when Guy and I were looking to buy our very first house in South Africa, we made a new best friend in our agent Jilly. She was full of joie de vivre, hilariously self-deprecating and, above all, totally without artifice. In other words, she just didn’t believe in bull and was adept at showing us houses that would suit both us and, more importantly, our budget. It wasn’t her fault, then, that we ended up buying a house we couldn’t really afford. See, the thing is, after a long weeks of viewing and just not finding anything that rocked all the fleet, Jilly sighed piteously and said, “Okay, I’m going to take you for a peek at a house that has just come onto the market. It has everything on your wish list – and on mine too, for that matter - but there is no way in Hades that you can afford it. So forget about buying it. It’s strictly a ‘look and drool, but don’t touch’ house.”

Jilly unlocked the front door of No. 3 Havelock Square and motioned us through. Guy and I walked into the hallway, gazed up at the sweeping staircase, the beautiful architraves, the scrubbed wooden floors, the enormously high ceilings and huge sash windows and were both rendered speechless.

havelock.square34

As we were leaving, I looked back at the house…..and it winked it me. I kid you not. It winked and whispered, “I’m yours.” And so it came to be that we lived there for many very happy years with our girls and two fat Labs until the time came for us to say totsiens to South Africa and head off on other adventures.

During our recent house hunt here in England, I knew that we’d never find another Havelock Square, but the cottage we found on our safari to Norfolk last weekend did make us look at each other and squeal. Well, Guy doesn’t do squealing, but he grinned widely when I did, so I knew he liked it too.

It’s called The Red House – which I like – and it’s in a tiny village called Great Snoring – which makes me laugh. It‘s a few minutes from the wild and empty Norfolk coast which means long walks and seafood feasts and lots of sailing in the summer. It’s only an hour and 40 minutes from London by train, so not far for the girls and not far for us to go to get our big city hit every now and then. It isn’t very big, but there is enough room for friends and family. Most important of all is that The Red House feels happy and looks pretty. D’you know what I mean? Yes, I’m sure you do!

Right then, let me take you on a tour of England and show you a small selection of the houses we’d seen before we found the little red one in Great Snoring.

(Important to remember, though, that ‘one man’s meat...’  All the houses shown here are truly lovely, but just not right for us.)

6.hampshire

Hampshire. 

Lovely converted chapel, tiny courtyard garden and no room for family and friends.

 

 3.wiltshire

Wiltshire.

Cute, but too dark and squishy inside.

 

 2.wales

Wales.

Wonderful position, dreamy views, but it didn’t ‘wink’.

 

0.devon

Devon.

Adorable, but just a bit too teeny weeny.

 

7.worcestershire

Worcestershire.

Wrong county.

 

8.scotland

Scotland.

Blissful isolation.  Bit chilly.

 

9.berwickshire

Berwickshire.

More glorious solitude.  Too far away for weekend visits from family.

 

10.dorset

Dorset.

Too low for long people.

 

12.sussex

Sussex.

Enchanting, but looming pylon.

 

14.kent

Kent.

Almost… but not quite.

And finally……

norfolk.village2

Norfolk.

The Red House.

 

sitting room

din.room

kitchen.redhouse

 

garden

Hold thumbs that all goes according to plan and do remember, the door will always be open for my bloggy friends! If you’d like to see a little more of Norfolk, I wrote about it here: Childhood Imaginings.

73 comments:

twister said...

Looking at your photos it's not too hard to understand how this is the birthplace of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Rowling's 'arry Potter. They all have a rather enchanted look to them.

moaromigboyles said...

Congratulations on your find. A lovely area funny name. A great place for a art and good food.

mogcat said...

Can I come and live with you?

Recessionista Genie said...

Beautiful!! I'm so jealous. All those houses are charming in their own way, but it looks like you made an awesome choice.

Ashley Kay said...

Looking at this pictures took me somewhere else- it made me feel like there are still so many things in this world that I haven't seen.

Ashley Kay
lillawyer.blogspot.com

steven said...

they're all gorgeous homes. i can see how each of them had something special to offer. magic. isolation. comfort. cuteness. but i know exactly what you mean by the wink. it's a knowing feeling. i hope it all works out for you. steven

Merry ME said...

I'm ready to move to England! Each of those houses looked like it would work for me. But the Red House in Great Snoring ... how could anyone turn it down?

Will you have your own personal windmill?

Praying that the house that winks will soon be yours.

Theo G. Alves said...

i'm, sorry for my interference,but i was just hanging around over the internet and i found your blog. it's really charming and i've got enchanted for that because i love beautiful and cozy houses.

best regards!

~:C:~ said...

May I just say, thanks the gods for Blogger and their Blog of Note, because if it hadn't been for that feature, I may never have discovered your little corner of the virtual world.

I so look forward to reading more.

P.S. Enchanting pictures in your lates post. Makes this little nomad wish for a house of her own.

A Cuban In London said...

First off, you have a windmill next door. Now Guy and you can play Don Quixote and Dulcinea. All you're missing is the squire, Sancho Panza.

Secondly, be careful, otherwise you will end up in the bottom of Loch Ness with a bagpipe tied to one ankle and a rugby ball to the other. To write that you're doing a tour of 'England' and include both Scotland and Wales in the mix is asking for trouble on these shores. Luckily you left the Irish out, otherwise we could have a Good Friday Agreement crisis :-).

Congrats on finding the house you wanted. You have been missed and it's a pleasure to have you back.

As for estate agents, the old joke goes: a man is asked which characters are fictitious and which ones real between Mickey, Pluto, an honest estate agent and a hard-working farmer. Answer: the hard-working farmer is the only real one, the other three do not exist. It also works with bankers.

Greetings from London.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Sounds like you've decided to go for the red, the wink and the snore. Darling house - looks like it could be a place for happily-ever-aftering . . .

The Bug said...

All of those homes looked like they belong in a fairytale - what fun to get to tour them even if they didn't quite suit.

I hope The Red House works out well for you - the inside is lovely!

Renee said...

Its beautiful Tessa. Hope it is yours soon.

Love Renee xoxo

cjschlottman said...

I'm and American and haven't seen much of Great Britain. Your photos wakened in me an urge to visit there that I have carried with me for years. I love your prose and am looking forward to reading more. You are right! The Red House is The One!

kj said...

aw, tessa, i am so glad for you already. i loved going on this real estate tour with you. and dammit-for-sure, when i'm anywhere near england i'll be jumping with joy calling your name.

xoxo

linda said...

oh my lord, be still my pitter pattering little heart! it's gorgeous in everyway! I was loving them all and what gorgeous surroundings but this steals my heart and I think it winked at me too :)

you will be healthy and happy here, I can just feel it and the house told me so too...this house can wink and whisper, what loveliness that you CAN manage it...absolutely, I wouldn't say NO either! YAY!

xox

Bee said...

I don't know what to address first! Everything about your (hopefully) new house is so charming -- from name, to interior, to location. It was great fun, too, to see all of the houses that didn't make the cut. I don't know that I've ever heard of such a wide house-hunting circle!

Fingers crossed for you. xx

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Yikes! I might pull up stakes and move to merry old England. All the houses were so charming! I think you made a good pick though, hope it all works out. Just lovely.

lakeviewer said...

What a lovely discovery. We'll now imagine you in this place, strolling the gardens, preparing sumptuous meals...

Polly said...

Good luck with the place, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, it's beautiful!

Oh, for what it's worth: congratulations on becoming a blog of note!!!!

Oberon said...

...i invite you to join globalove think tank.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Honestly, they all look charming to me!!

Bonnie said...

wow, all those places are beautiful!! I love how the houses aren't all close together... lots of solitude is good! :D

Silke said...

Oh, Tessa, can we come and move in with you?! Your red house looks wonderful and who wouldn't want to live in a place called Great Snoring! Keeping my fingers crossed!! Hugs, Silke

Times Three said...

I cannot imagine ever being able to afford those houses, but I enjoyed the pictures just the same.

Maithri said...

Seriously... how much is the airfare to England... ;) Wherever you live my friend, love will abide with you...

Much love, M

Elizabeth said...

Worcestershire was a close runner up for me
but your final choice is glorious
and as to the garden
the walled garden of my dreams.
Yes, yes, really winking.
I'm so happy for you.
When will you move.
And yes, you did travel all over the place.
This is splendid news.

Delwyn said...

Hi tessa

as our business is in the building game I loved looking at your list of houses with character...

and the red house...sounds just perfect...

Happy days

Natalie said...

Hi Tessa, I loved all the houses! Go the red house! Wishing you luck with it. On another note, I would like to be the first to congratulate you on being chosen as BLOG OF NOTE!!!! Whoo Hoo! Well done, your blog is blissful.xx♥

india said...

you might want to read Raphaella Barker's 'Hen's Dancing'...looks as though it could have been written from that house...

youtube said...

http://youtube-blogs.blogspot.com/

Holly said...

Oh, I know what you're saying about that wink.

The house I bought before I fell in love with Michael and changed my life to the next chapter? I was standing in it alone as the realtor showed around my former husband, and I heard myself whisper out loud, "Daddy, I'm home."

I was madly in love with it although it was nothing grand or astonishing. Just snug and trim and right for me.

No matter where else I live through the course of my life, that address will always be special to me.

Your new home? Oh, til lovely, me girrrl! And I would so love to visit you there.

The villager: said...

A good tour of English counties !

A Good Moroccan said...

Nice blog.......well done.

Carol said...

I'm a bit disappointed that your not going to end up in Wiltshire (cause then we would have been neighbours) but I can see why you love the Red House in Norfolk!! It's stunning and I'm going to be keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well!!

C x

Beth Kephart said...

It makes me enormously happy to think of you living here. Who could not fall in love with a house with such a name. And is that windmill?

jinksy said...

Beautiful, beautiful house. All fingers are crossed for you - so I'd better stop blogging for today, as the typing could go haywire!!!

Herrad said...

Hi,
The name of your blog made me curious so came by.
Lovely post and photos.
Thanks for sharing.
Have a good day.
Love,
Herrad
blog:accessdeniedlivingwithms

Val said...

Norfolk hey - i nearly went there once but thats another story. its always intruiged me since then. wow what choices of lovely homes.. but Great Snoring sounds like the best. ummm should you overnight there first to see if thats how it got its name???? holding thumbs for you x

staceyjwarner said...

Yes, I see it winking. Thanks for the tour of homes...I lived in London for a bit out of college and was fortunate enough to travel to the countryside, absolutely beautiful.

The Red House is perfect!

Lori ann said...

Wow! that was so much fun. I laughed when I read what Val said, that's what I was thinking too!

Tessa, I think your blog should be named Aerial Armadillo's Faiery Tales, it is truly a magical experiance coming here. I'm so happy for you and Guy that all the sorting is through and you've found your happily~ever~after abode. You really do lead a charmed life. A windmill in your backyard??! :) :) :)
xoxoxoxo♥ lori

411 WebConnect said...

Those are some really nice pictures! There are some cute homes.

----
Alex
411 WebConnect

elizabethm said...

Gorgeous and I love Norfolk too. The only downside I can see is that it is a long way from Wales!
Glad your search is ended. Good luck with the move.

Susan Faye said...

I LOVE house hunting! Thanks for letting me tag along...

My Sermon Notes said...

May my wife and I have a copy of your photo "Autumn brings its misty vistas and the burnished beeches whisper in a cooler breeze. View from South Down" for our dining room please?... Pleeeease?

I've REALLY enjoyed reading your blog this evening... thanks!

t!m

DianeSS said...

When we were looking to buy our first house in South Africa, I must have walked through thirty different homes, before finally finding one that "spoke" to me. It was not pretty finishes or handsome architectural features that won me over, but an unmistakeable feeling that this would be "home". We have also relocated - to Canada.

The Laundry Queen said...

I'm not one of your bloggy friends, but now I wish I were so I could visit you! What a fantastic place you have found. Good for you!

karen said...

I'm here but I can't see any pics at present! Will pop back later as I simply have to see what the Red House looks like! So pleased you found it.. x

Fida Salma said...

nice post....link me

Jon said...

Wonderful photos and extremely appealing houses. I would willingly haunt any one of them!

Sujatha said...

Oh my gosh! These could live in fairy tales! Having spent long and depressing weekends on house hunts, I totally sympathise with you, and now am so glad you've found THE house which will be your home. And one that winks too! Happy homecoming! Wishing loads of happy memories in your new home.

Joy Winner-or-Whiner said...

Wow, I bet a cool story can go next to each photo.

DNAcinema said...

ciao! ha aperto i battenti il nuovo portale di cinema direttamente dagli studios di Cinecittà. News, recensioni, anteprime, foto, video e tanto altro ancora; e se vuoi collaborare con noi scrivendo recensioni scrivici @ dnacinema@yahoo.it http://dnacinema.blogspot.com/ P.S. Complimenti per il blog, ottimo lavoro! (saresti daccordo per un'affiliazione? ci terrei particolarmente...) A presto! Lorenzo

marie said...

Just saw you on blogs of note and loved your title, and now I love your blog, too. And your house! Oh my goodness.

Carmen V. Rodriguez said...

I'm a realtor so I well appreciate the notion of a house 'winking'. Congratulations to you on the most loveliest of finds in the most important of categories - home.

Anita Bier said...

These homes look like they are pulled from fairy tales - the interior of your house is lovely!

Reya Mellicker said...

They were all wonderful, but love the long shot view of the red house. Is it ... all of those buildings? You have a windmill?

Congratulations! This whole post was just perfection.

There's no place like home!

julochka said...

we're house hunting too. does the windmill belong to The Red House? if so, i'm on my way....

Ces said...

You know, I just think that you can live in a tent and it will look like a comfortable home. I think you have a great eye for dwellings. Good luck, it is always fun to go house hunting unless you were me, I would much rather go shop for a house online. Is there a catalog? I said yes to the first house shown because I loved the courtyard. I did not even come in. Now the courtyard is a mess. I am no gardener.

Tessa, The flooding is so devastating but the problems are just beginning. Communicable diseases are rampant there so I am sure there will be an outbreak of something because Manila has no mandatory sanitary human waste management program for residential areas.

You love to dance, so do I. Let's dance. I danced today to "Granada"!

Sassy Scribbles said...

oh wow! you have fantastic choices "for me", I can pretty much live in one of those houses!haha... BUT yes, yes! The red house is truly a good find! Congratulations on finding the house that winked at you in England!

DEB said...

Tessa, I have my bags packed. Which room do I get?!! I want to paint that windmill!!

Rob Inukshuk said...

I'm so pleased you have found "the place" and hope all goes to plan. Buying and selling is so often fraught with problems in this country.

FOH says we already live in Great Snoring - can't imagine what he's on about!

Kattrina said...

Wow - those houses were all so wonderful looking. I lived in England a while ago, in Bedfordshire, and we had a great house in a town called Biggleswade. We still dream about that house. It's funny how a house can hold so many memories and be such a central part of your life.
Enjoy making new memories in your new place!

Adam Dilip Mutum said...

It looks lovely. Congrats. Would love to have a place like that for myself one day.

Schmitt´s said...

Just found your wonderful and inspiring blog - it´s great!
Congratulations to the Red House, I could see, how it did wink! ;-)
Also the other objects are gorgeous - but right: it must feel like home!!

Best wishes from Cologne,
Britta

NewYorkNewYork said...

I absolutely LOVED reading about your journey to find your home. Beautiful pictures, and so well told. Thank you!

Nishant said...

Congratulations on your find. A lovely area funny name. A great place for a art and good food.

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Bella Sinclair said...

OOOOH! I am keeping ALL my fingers crossed. The Red House is incredibly charming. I hope everything goes smoothly!

Caroline said...

What a delightful choice, Tessa - I'll keep all crossed for a successful transaction!

julochka said...

i know i already commented on this post, but i just keep coming back to look at the Aga..bliss.

Audacious Jane said...

Love the English houses. A little bit of myself in them all. Thatched roof dwellings, I wonder if someone is still able to do this, what a skill. Nice one, thanks.

Tessa said...

Wow, what a huge collection of the most wonderful comments. Thank you all - very much.

Couple of addits: No, the windmill isn't ours. That photograph is one I took of a typical Norfolk village - as is the garden view. (My husband, quite rightly I suspect, didn't want me to post any exterior shots until the place is actually ours. Hold thumbs that all goes according to plan!)

adrienne trafford said...

they are all fairy tale homes - things i could only imagine walking into in my dreams - you are so lucky to be able to live in one of those. A one hundred year old home near me is a VERY OLD HOME! can you imagine? xoxo