The One with the Wine Cellar

I’ve spent the last two days house-hunting. It is truly one of the most depressing ways to spend your time – viewing property after property where you just can NOT imagine yourself living, getting achey feet from pounding the streets, going cross-eyed from reading maps, and then feeling that panic start to set in because you know you really, really need to say yes to something soon.

Our search has been focused on two areas – North London and Hertfordshire. We’ll only be renting, so this doesn’t have to be the dream home that we stay in for the rest of our lives, just somewhere that’ll do for starters while DorkyDad settles into his new job and we get to know this part of the country a little better.

On Wednesday I was supposed to have five appointments… but I got phone calls the night before to let me know that two of the places had already been taken. So we were down to three.

The first one was bogging.

The second one was much, much better. Plenty space, in a nice area, clean, neutral colours… Very promising, but I figured I should see all three before coming to a decision.

The third one. Wow. I arrived a little early and decided to have a walk around the area, which was just lovely. Cute little cobbled streets, a pub with a beer garden at the end of the road, a children’s playground two minutes walk away… There was even a ‘New England Avenue’ a few streets over, which I took as a good omen since it’s where DorkyDad’s from.

Given the pretty middle-of-the-road rental range we were looking at, I couldn’t understand why this place hadn’t been snapped up instantly. It was also a bit odd that there was no To Let sign outside, but whatever… I stood there a few minutes and waited for the agent to show up.

‘Well hello,’ she said, when she arrived a few minutes later, and shook my hand. ‘I hope you haven’t been waiting long.’

‘Just a few minutes,’ I said, smiling.

We walked up the front steps, and she fiddled with the keys for a couple of minutes before letting me in. ‘Here we go… and here’s a copy of the schedule for you.’

I glanced down.


Now, had I not been a bit achey and tired, this is where I would have said ‘Oh dear, I think there’s been a bit of a mix-up here!’ But she had already whooshed ahead of me, opening doors, turning on lights, and occasionally throwing questions at me about how long we’d been looking for.

‘Here’s the second of the living rooms. Have you seen anything else you’ve liked yet?’ she asked.

‘Umm, yes,’ I said. ‘One or two. But nothing quite like this.’

‘It’s quite special, isn’t it? Let me show you the wine cellar…’

I spent an excruciating ten minutes with the woman, cursing myself for not saying something right away, admiring a house that is so far beyond our reach that we couldn’t afford to rent the garden shed.

‘One of my colleagues will be in touch later in the week to get your feedback,’ she said, as we were leaving. ‘I hope it’s given you some food for thought.’