In June 2002 my sister put her house up for sale. It was a teeny tiny terrace house in the town of Preston. By the end of the first day on the market several people had been to view it and 3 people were having a stand up argument on the street outside over who was going to buy it. My pops on hearing this news had immediate alarm bells that something a little bit crazy was about to happen to the housing market. Scoot forward a couple of months to August 2002. I'd scrimped and saved up enough money to scrape together a deposit. I found a house I liked, I went and viewed it, put an offer in and ta-dah, I was a home owner for the very first time!
I picked up the keys in September 2002. I remember meeting the guy there all on my own, the big brave home-owner that I was; he'd left a bottle of wine, a bunch of flowers, and a good luck card to wish me well. Within seconds of him leaving I had literally run into every room, jumped up and down like a 5 year old on Christmas morning, and squealed my way round the entire house. For the next couple of months I religiously went to my house each and every evening after work and set about tidying it up, cleaning it up, decorating the few things I could, getting damp proofing and roof repairs done, before finally moving in on 9th December 2002.
I remember the very first evening on my own like it was yesterday. I'd spent much of the day driving my ma's Fiat Punto up and down the village moving boxes and clothes and kettles and other house essentials. The men turned up with the fridge, washing machine and oven, another guy turned up with the bed in pieces. My pops built the bed, I put the kettle on, all was good. After everyone had gone, I got myself a takeaway, cracked open a beer, and sat with my feet up on my handed down sofa in total homeowner heaven.
I had my first party on 31st December 2002. The first of many. I had a milestone birthday of 30, a massive party, got totally hammered and didn't go to bed til almost dawn, someone threw up on the doorstep, people were crying in the corners from too much booze, my friend visiting from London was so drunk from trying to keep up with all the northern peeps that I found her at one point trying really really hard to focus on the wall in the kitchen so she didn't throw up as well....so many good times.
I had my very first Christmas without my parents in the house, instead spending it with 2 of my bestest, followed by another bestest in the evening. I once got so drunk on champagne that I rolled forward off my giant beanbag, landed on my nose and had a bruise on my face for days. I started and finished my library qualification in the house and drank way too much celebrating when it was done. Tizz and Fizz and I became bestest friends from too many hours to count sitting around eating, drinking, watching tv and films... Wavey and I finally got around to being brave and, well, the rest of that is a whole other story :)
I already said a big goodbye to the house when I moved out to move in with Wavey. But even though I didn't live there anymore, it was still all mine but someone else was borrowing it and making it their house. That didn't go so well in the end and the whole experience became a bit tarnished. The love for the house faded a little to be honest. But it all worked out in the end and we went back again, painted it all over again, tarted it up all over again and waited to see what would happen.
Scoot forward another couple of months to yesterday. Just another Friday. Except on this Friday, the house, my very first house, was officially handed over to the new owner. I'm not afraid to admit that it's made me feel a little bit sentimental, remembering my time there. I truly did have the best of times. I lived, laughed, loved, cooked, ate, watched tv, drank way too much, listened to endless hours of music...just you know, life stuff. I don't know anything about the new owners and I don't need to, but I seriously hope that they too have the best of times there. Farewell Pine Street - I'll always remember you ever so fondly...