Welcome to the online diary of the “London Ziegs,” as they journal their experiences relocating from the balmy climes of sunny Orlando, Florida to the more chaotically cosmopolitan environment of London, UK!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cracked Stone, Mouldy Beams, and Creeping Vines

This morning Laura and the boys visited another gaggle of houses (what is the correct collective noun? 'neighborhood' only works when they're physically congruent). They did find one brand-new terrace in Burnham which was very nice, but "new" isn't really what we came here for.

There are plenty of brand-new houses in Florida, with fresh-laid lawns, unpocked pavement, and gleaming with their first coat of builder's paint. Orlando is positively exploding with whitewashed woodframe vinyl-wrapped "new". In contrast, a large part of England's appeal lies in the fact that so much of it is palpably, tangibly old. Weathered stone showing the scars of wind and frost from The Great Storm of naught-'6; chipped and crevased floor planks first hewn in the days of William the Named, and once used to keel a Scottish fishing trawler; crumbling and clotted earth, pebbled with the broken oddments of millenia (rivet from an early ironwork here, bit of cracked collar from a aged family foxhound there).

All of which feeds into the excitement I felt regarding the home which we probably selected this afternoon: it is positively dripping with historic and esoteric bits. A pond teaming with goldfish (apparently they sink to the bottom and hibernate through the winter freeze...who knew fish could hibernate?). A tangled burst of garden leading to a greenhouse in back (where Laura can talk to the plants!) Best of all, an old country church across the street, complete with ringing bell tower and -- directly facing us -- an ancient chapel cemetary, the very manifestation of antiquity, eschatology, and man's ultimate end expressed in a tired patch of withered grass before a pitted and sunken chunk of chiseled stone.

THAT'S the house I came 5,000 miles for! I hoped for it when I first saw the agent's web listing; I knew it when we walked around the neighborhood last night; and I told it to the broker when we went back for a final walk-through this afternoon.

Spackle, paint, and plaster be damned; give me cracked stone, moldy beams, and creeping vines any day!

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

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