Arriving 8 days after the sale, I collected main set of keys and was also handed a rectangular tin box full of small, large and enormous keys that would presumably open doors to the other gates, dépendances and perhaps internal doors.
On trying those keys out there were many that were completely unidentifiable, and some that seemed to fit locks but still didn’t open them. All are being held in case of use and equally because some are very pretty old iron keys.
Missing was one set of keys held by an inheritor who we were told had refused to hand them over – the value of which I don’t understand, since don’t all new owners change entry locks? I was definitely going to anyway, and that same day.
On opening the main gates, we found one of the former owner’s dogs still there.
Not that it mattered whilst we were away (apart from the cheek of it), but one wondered what would happen to the dog afterwards if they couldn’t look after him during that short period.
I later learned that the dog belonged to the late brother of the old lady who lived in the house, it had never been her dog although she allowed it to stay there. She couldn’t take him with her as she had her own large dog and was moving to a smaller home. Everyone else seemed highly reluctant.
On the signing day, the old lady had asked the agent and me for the number of the vet to take him for his last injection. We both found this rather an extreme solution and the agent refused to give it to her – she’d have to find it herself if she wanted to do that. So the next day I had been ready to proffer the telephone number of a rescue centre written on the only scrap of paper I had available in my handbag. However, a neighbour advised that the vet himself had said this would be the kindest thing to do as the dog was 14 years old anyway, so I didn’t hand it on.
Now, having heard more about the personalities involved, I rather think that asking for the vet’s number was just a ruse by a wily old lady, to try to get us to keep the dog. Several persons have since mentioned how she gives off an impression of being old and not quite with it, but she’s highly observant and has jolly good hearing when it suits her.
But we couldn’t keep the dog ourselves. H was against it, no discussion, and I knew we weren’t ready for the extra time, cost and responsibility involved in taking on a 14-year-old dog, but the two clinching factors for me were:
1) it continually licked our dog’s back making the whole of it was wet and sticky, and humped him the moment he stood still for two seconds, (our doggie’s exceptionally good nature was starting to wear thin of it), and
2) it had left us some aromatic presents in the bedrooms upstairs. Now, I’m aware that’s not the dog’s fault – someone enclosed him in the house for too long – but with the urine smells previously apparent, it’s house training was a concern.
Fortunately, two of the inheritors turned up and took the dog away to one of their houses, although I was subsequently told he is kept in a small yard and thrown food over the fence. Now before anyone gets upset, I’ll highlight that it’s hearsay, not fact. But I think the vet probably had the kindest option.
Then, along with the doggie presents in the house, a few pieces of large furniture still remained.
This wasn’t too much of a problem as I had previously decided to only live in 3 of the downstairs rooms (with furniture the house gave me the creeps upstairs, besides, their ceilings and walls were in a worse state than one of the rooms below).
First, thorough cleaning was needed – of those 3 rooms, the loo and a pathway to it.
It took me 4 days. No kidding. Each room needed first a good sweep ( would have killed the vacuum otherwise) of the walls as well as floors, then a vacuum, then a mop, but as the water was black after only two dips into the bucket, several refills were required before finishing off with a last, fresh mopping.
Followed by a rest.
Then back to cleaning up the worst of the other rooms to stop the dust and dog’s (I hope) hair floating out into the cleaned parts.
Finally, it was my turn to become allergic to housework for another 2 or 3 weeks.
When they were moving the furniture the week before, a bird’s next was found behind a cupboard in the old lady’s bedroom. As someone later said to me, with all the problems in the family, the old lady only had her dog and the birds to talk to most of the time.
Perhaps that would happen to me now.
The birds seem to have moved to the barns though.
It was a different type of flying beast that I inherited inside the house.