The phone rang; it was Easter holiday weekend; we were enjoying the peace of the four-day break.
“Keith, I think the tenants have done a bunk,” said Jamies’ friend John.
He also has a holiday property in the same area. Next door in fact.
Our day plans changed, and with our son Jinda and his family, we made the ninety-minute trip up to the ‘shack.
I had only been there twice before, even though Megs and Jamie had taken possession of the house several years previously. Somehow I had it in my head that this was a place for your younger set.
Jamie and Megs now lived in Colorado, and the house had been let for almost five years.
It was in the hands of a local letting agent who sent us reports of the general condition of the house—no red flags despite a turnover of a couple of tenants.
We had no idea what to expect.
None of us had been near the house for five years.
As we pulled into the driveway, we saw that the house was in terrible condition.
It’s a 1950s shack elevated above the 50’s flood level. It had been well loved, and when we visited it previously, it was very ‘holidayesk’ (my word) with a mish mash of furniture, colour schemes and generations of holidays and general occupancy.
We didn’t know what to say; First impressions, the front garden that Megs and Jamie had worked so hard in was now a tip, full of rubbish. Not having a key, we found a window unlocked, and my Daughter in Law was able to get in.
The smell was the first thing to allay our senses. There were animal deposits in every room. The carpet and the curtains were disgusting; I don’t know how anyone could have lived in there.
The fridge was full of rotting food, and the oven had food on the baking tray and grill.
There was nothing left. It was heartbreaking.
The backyard was even worse; they had broken into the shed and helped themselves to anything of value and the rubbish including 14 mattresses covered every inch. Of course, I’m glossing over our emotion and anger at the agents who had given us a ‘glowing’ report just three weeks earlier.
So before I go further, In the next couple of posts I’m going to share almost a year of hard work to bring the house back to life.
In saying that. I have to be honest and say that after the initial shock and the rubbish and health hazard cleared I was thrilled to be able to bring this old house back to life.
It’s a year and a half of hard work and it’s not finished.