Have you got your passport? Your phone? Your wallet?’ The builder boyfriend patted his pockets and told me not to worry as we drove through the Gatwick drop-off lane where they charge you £5 to open your car door for three seconds and push someone out.
When I arrived back home, he texted: ‘I left my euros in the pocket of my work jeans.’ No matter. He could draw out cash when he got there.
It had been a last minute rush to get him on a flight to Cork to view this dream farm I had found, in the sun-drenched valley.
It was really a modest white bungalow but it had 45 acres behind it, and post and rail fences. If I squinted, it looked a bit like Southfork. It was certainly the closest I was ever going to get to homesteading. And while it wasn’t quite on the scale of a ranch in Dallas it was 45 acres more than we could afford in Britain.
The builder boyfriend could do up the bungalow, and the rusted cattle barns. Of course he could. He could do anything. (Or, as my horse trainer said to me during my jumping lesson last week: ‘It’s taken you six years to not finish a three-bedroom cottage. Are you seriously considering doing up a farm?’)
The couple buying our house have hammered us down so much that it is uncertain what, if anything, we can afford.
I fretted while the BB checked in at his Airbnb that night, went for a drive, and started looking at another property he fancied more, a tired out Georgian mansion with not enough land.
I got so nervous the next morning while he was driving to Southfork that I went online and bought a giant paddling pool from Argos, click and collect. While I was trying to assemble it, it spread-eagled on the patio, he texted. He liked the spot, but the bungalow needed putting in a skip. This is builder boyfriend-ese. When he really doesn’t like something, he declares his intention to put it in a skip. Interestingly, he also takes things out of skips. We have a very nice salvaged fireplace surround, a giant log burner, a statue of Mary – whoever skipped that really does need to take a good long look at themselves.
But in general, it is unclear to me whether he puts more into skips than he takes out. The net position, I fear, is hoarding, and I confirm this to myself every time I manage to sneak a look inside his builders’ yard, which is behind tightly locked gates.
‘Oo what’s that?’ I ask, if I pick him up there, and he bangs the gate shut and says: ‘Never mind you.’
He declared the house needed skipping while walking the land with the owner, but the owner was a builder too and I think this may be how these macho chaps talk to each other. In any case, discussing the necessity of putting a ball and chain through the bungalow cheered them both up immensely, apparently.
He rang me and declared the land mind-blowing. He went off to walk the nearby mountain trails where he bumped into a neighboring racing yard owner’s wife who told him we would be able to hack our horses for miles.
By the time he was driving back to the airport, he declared it all a great find. He had hammered out a potential deal with the owner. So I crunched the numbers, winning when I realized that I had been working on the premise of 1 per cent stamp duty in Ireland, but with land that rose to 7.5 per cent.
No matter which way I sliced and diced it, the figures just would not add up. The offer on our house was simply not enough to enable us to buy the dream farm in the sundrenched valley.
I suppose it was sun-drenched when I went to view it, and it was sun-drenched as the builder’s boyfriend walked the land while talking to his new mate, the owner, who lived on the land next door. In reality, it was probably going to rain eight months of the year, and the builder next door would soon fall out with us over our plans for his family’s old bungalow. But while it remained a theory, that valley certainly was drenched in sunshine.
The BB took the coast road to the airport via another farm I insisted I would not consider because it was totally derelict. He texted me the pictures. There was grass growing inside the house.
‘Absolutely no way,’ I said, thinking yes, but there’s 20 flat acres. When we called the agent the next day, he said they would take a low offer. And when I crunched those numbers, they did add up.
email@example.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.