Home Sweet Home

On 19th March 1982 Tight Fit‘s “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was about to start its 3rd week at No.1.

On a more serous note, on 19th March 1982 a group of Argentines landed at the British colony of the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic and started a series of events that would lead to The Falkland War a few weeks later.

But most important of all, on 19th March 1982 I bought my first house…….and I’m still in it !

33 years !  In the same house.

Such things are clearly in my genes. My parents lived in their house for 55 years and both left in their respective coffins !  Ok so dad left after “only” 37 years in 1986 and mum after 55 years in 2003.

So this particular bar has been set pretty high and health willing, I have no plans to go under it.

A 3 minute walk from my house, a brand new block of assisted living apartments is due to be completed by late Spring but thankfully I’m not quite ready for a move there. Even if I could afford it. A one bedroom unit will cost around £200k and a 2 bedroom unit, £300k and then there are the annual service charges which would be a few thousand I’m sure.

In 1982 I paid £22,950 for this house.

BEST INVESTMENT EVER

As those who know me….ummm know, my memory can be a bit spotty to say the least but I do remember several things from those days. Buying your first house tends to leave a few memories after all. I had been lodging with a family in North Leeds for a few years and one Friday I just decided it was time to move into my own house. I bought the local newspaper, went to the classifieds section and circled all the houses north of where I was that fitted my criteria – a semi, 3 bedrooms, garage, gardens front and back and a rear extension/conservatory if possible.

I was setting my bar high but I was almost 30 and I’d been 10 years in a well paid job with a small food company called Associated Dairies which later morphed into the nation’s 2nd largest supermarket chain, ASDA.  Due to these “prospects” and the mortgage situation back then, I easily got an 100% mortgage of 2.5 times my salary which gave me a firm base for house hunting.

By Friday evening I’d circled 10 properties, rung them all and arranged viewings all day Saturday and Sunday.  By the time I had one house left to visit, I was beginning to realise this house hunting business might take longer than a weekend as none had jumped out at me.

Then I came to this one and as well as ticking all the boxes, I loved it. I wanted it.

I bought it.

I had to make sure I wasn’t doing this because it was the last house on my list but no, it was my dream house – well ok maybe not, but given my budget, it was my realistic dream house !

The area was totally unknown to me and little did I know I was moving from a pretty decent area code to the best one in Leeds. I had randomly picked a house in an established estate that was full of young families in their first homes as, just like you read about in the sales blurb, it was close to all amenities including schools, shops and parks.

This made it a very sought after location and every year, the boom years for housing in the UK, the value of this house shot up. I was very fortunate to have bought back then as this house has been the basis of my financial stability ever since. I managed to pay off the mortgage early so the current value of the house is mine, all mine……muuhaaaaa.

The other thing I remember about those days is that just before I moved into this house, CB radio was legalised in the UK (Nov 1981) and those of us who had seen the US movie “Convoy” were really into the medium and had base stations in our homes and rigs in our cars (and twigs on our car roofs) so we could “breaker break” other “good buddies”, ask them “how many pounds am I pushing you ?” and “what’s your twenty” and of course asking girls for an “eyeball, eyeball”

When out driving I remember asking other users for a “10-36” despite having a watch on my wrist and a clock on the dashboard.  Was just cool to speak to someone from your car.

Yes, we were young and wild in 1982 and Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t even born yet !

I met several local friends via my CB radio in those early days in this house and one has remained my friend to this day……so it wasn’t all silly nonsence for a shy introvert like me. CB radio allowed me to express myself without face to face contact, well initially at least.  People got to know me, my personality, before meeting me, which because of my lifelong inferiority complex, was really helpful.

Now we have Facebook and Twitter and other social media but in 1982, we had CB radio and I was pretty devastated when it ended a few years later due to some idiot users spoiling it for the rest of us. It had its time and technology moved on.

But some things stayed the same and here I am after 33 years, still in this house. Houses around me were bought and sold over the years but my next door neighbours are still the same and they bought their house several years before I bought mine. Looking back now, I can also see the last 33 years in some sort of speeded up time lapse video with me watching changes along my street; house improvements starting and being completed, kids appearing, growing up and leaving, new people moving in, moving out, car models changing on driveways, grass gardens changing to concrete as families become 2 or 3 car owners because their “kids” aren’t leaving the nest, and small trees and bushes maturing into family treasures.

It makes me think of the scene in the original version of “The Time Machine” when Rod Taylor pushes the machine’s lever forward and weeks and then months, years, decades and centuries quickly pass before his eyes.

In many ways, for me, the last 33 years have flown by and this is helped by still having many of the items I bought way back when I was furnishing this house from scratch. For example, one of the first kitchen appliances I bought was a microwave oven……and it is still on my worktop today.  It’s probably dosing me with radiation from a dodgy door seal every time I use it but it still works perfectly so despite having a newer combi oven, I just cannot get rid of the original one.

And yes, my CB radio is probably upstairs somewhere too.

Happy “birthday” house.

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3 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home

  1. Helen

    I’ve lived in four houses that we have owned over our 43 years of marriage. At first each move was a step up – bigger as the family grew, adding a pool, and finally acreage which was the dream home. Now we’re on the downsizing trail . This house has too much garden as we bought it when we had two dogs but the thought of another move fills me with horror. I hate change though so I’ll be staying on here for a good while yet. You still sound very content in your surroundings, even after a long while.

    Reply
  2. Maddy

    I am at the other end of the housing spectrum. Not having purchased my first flat until the ripe old age of 58, I have downsized before I have ever upsized. My parents lived in the one house for their married lives. I on the other hand, have lived in about twenty different homes in my lifetime. I wish I had had more sense in 1982!

    Reply

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