I have slid into a deep, domestic-inspired depression. Our foothold in Somerset is up for sale. The gorgeous bucolic beauty otherwise known as the Posh Commune is on the market for the first time since 1702. Three hundred and ten years in the tender loving care of one family and, just a few months after we move in, the family decide to sell up. Go figure.
Wind the clock back a year and, on deciding to relocate from London to Ibiza, I had gone into overdrive to find the perfect West Country bolthole. Somewhere nice and close to the Daughter who would be staying at her Somerset boarding school. Somewhere we could turn into a comfortable home-from-home where we would enjoy hanging out with her on exeat weekends and during school holidays.
I had gawped from afar at the Posh Commune many times en route from London to see the Daughter at school. The house, a perfectly symmetrical, honey-coloured Palladian number, had almost caused me to veer off the road on several occasions as I tried to get a better view across the glorious parkland. So imagine my excitement when I spotted a To Let ad on Primelocation. The West Wing (I swear I’m not making it up) could be ours. ‘It’s destiny. It’s written in the stars. We are meant to play a small part in the long history of this beautiful house.’ My pitch to the Husband was typically dramatic. True enough though as it turned out….we really were meant to play a very, VERY small part in the history of the Posh Commune.
Fast forward to June 2012 and we are still reeling from the unwelcome news. The trauma of stuffing a giant pantechnicon with all our worldly goods only six months ago is still fresh in our minds – the thought of having to do it all over again in the near future is harrowing. The many long-term residents of the Posh Commune are so hard hit I can barely bring myself to look them in the eye. Terence, the resident postie and DIY man, has lived on the estate for 35 years – his entire adult life – and has nowhere else to call home. No-one seems to be quite sure where he will go.
As for us, the prospect of trying to unearth another house which is even close to being as perfect just makes me shudder and bury my head under the duvet.
Where else will I find anywhere with a whole library of gleaming polished oak shelves to house my ridiculously large collection of books? Where else will we be able to roam freely across almost a thousand acres of heart-thumpingly gorgeous private parkland? Where else will I find all this space, privacy and grandeur, but still be a five minute drive from a quick train line to London? Where else will I be able to swan around pretending I’m the Duchess of Devonshire like I did when I first visited Chatsworth House aged 12? Nowhere, is the depressing answer. Just when I rather smugly thought I’d got my life beautifully organised, life has turned round and smacked me in the chops. That’ll learn me.
And so I find myself dealing with the situation in the most sensible and mature way I know how. By trying to pretend it’s not really happening. Obviously. I speed read and then mentally delete the gushy marketing article which appears in the Sunday Times Property section. I remain determinedly ignorant about the viewings taking place in our absence while we are in Ibiza. Perhaps I will stick my fingers in my ears and shout ‘la-la-la-la’ to drown out the noise next time anyone mentions it.
Of course it did occur to me that, since its so goddam perfect, perhaps we should just put an offer in to buy it. This could be the ‘forever house’ we keep talking about. The one we’ll move into and live happily ever after when we eventually leave Ibiza. Why not buy it now and rest easy, knowing that we’ve got it in the bag well before we move back to the UK? Great idea….if we should happen to find a spare £13m in loose change down the back of the sofa. Until then, I’ll be the one in Ibiza, shouting loudly with her fingers in her ears.