You gotta have a dream. If you don't have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?
Oscar Hammerstein II
We eventually managed to arrange a trip up north about ten days later, not because we didn't want to go earlier, but because other matters colluded to keep us from taking the "Magical Mystery Tour" of the site that Maria had discovered.
Our arrival, although designed to be as low-key as possible, was still an event for the residents. A whole contingent of gabbling old women (and a few toothless old men) took every opportunity to welcome 'Donna Maria' into the fold. The word had got out that we were showing an interest in one of the houses, and they were going to make damn sure that Maria was not given the slightest impression that she was anything but welcome! As far as they were concerned they were going to get their very own 'representative', at the high court of the company, living amongst them. It appeared that I too was accepted, as her 'consort', and the fact that I hadn't even seen the property, that we hadn't made a decision, that it was probably unlikely that we would be as charmed with the reality as we were with the picture-postcard view hadn't crossed their minds. And why should it? Simple folk; delightful people!
My first impression of the house was to wonder if Maria had 'blown a gasket'! It was pretty obviously run-down; I'd seen that from the pics. But I wasn't prepared for how small the house was. It was tiny, and I mean TINY! Four little rooms and no bathroom and toilet. WTF. Depression set in fast. So fast that I didn't even think of bringing up the subject of price. Why should I? This was a no-brainer. NO SALE!
Maria still had a surprise up her sleeve. She informed me that even though the house we were looking over was pretty darn small, there was scope to increase our living space when we knocked down a few internal walls and combined the space gained from the other FOUR houses. Come again? Yes, we were not just going after the house on the right, we were going for all five. The WHOLE STREET!
One just has to take a step back and reassess the situation when faced with news like that. And the panorama above is more or less what I saw. Suddenly things did not look so bleak. Yes, there was plenty of potential there. And the little ones on the left, probably the original cowshed and pigsty, could also be adapted into something liveable.
As the song says, "You gotta have a dream."
Our 'Dream' was rekindled ...
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