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A house is not just a home it's a prison.

IF YOU are thinking of buying a house then think again - If you must invest in something, invest in a racehorse or a boat instead.

Buy shares in a plant pot making company or simply put whatever you have under the matress.

But do not go down the house hunting road to hell.

From one who knows - it will destroy your life, send your stress levels through the roof and leave you a sorry wreck.

Here I am six months after making the fateful decision to join the housing market.

I am no closer to sealing a deal than I have ever been.

My entire worldly possessions are in boxes on the floor of my teenage bedroom in my mother's home.

I have had to seek refuge there after refusing to commit myself to another year in my apartment.

Every Saturday I awake at an unearthly hour to start the weekly trek around other people's homes.

I am at constant war with obnoxious and smug estate agents. And my entire life has been turned on its head.

This time last year I had it easy. I was a free spirit quite happy to be living in my own little box of an apartment.

Every morning my mother and I have a tug of war over clothing. Apparently once I am in her house no item of clothing will be worn until it has been 24 hours in the hot press.

Dinners are a warzone too.

All protests fall on deaf ears and any claims that I have eaten hearty lunches are greeted with lectures on anorexia.

I have to smoke in the back garden or if I'm lucky up the chimney. I have to quietly negotiate the stairs when I'm drunk and feign good humour through hangovers.

My patience and sanity are wearing fast - and still there is no house in sight.

I pass condemned buildings and note only their virtues.

I have a worrying recurring dream that I have bought what I think is a house.

When I get the keys I open the building only to find it is an old pub with no windows.

The only other room is a men's toilet with a stinking urinal and one unflushed broken toilet bowl.

I wake up in a cold sweat to find myself back in my obstacle course bedroom where a pathway to my bed is the only square inch of floor not covered with the ridiculous amount of belongings I have culminated over the years.

As I said, think again.

Buy a racehorse!
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 29, 1999
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