Liz Jones: ‘Where I might have to move again’
It’s Sunday morning. I receive an email alert. I open it. I feel sick. I told you a few weeks ago that another crisis was brewing, but I thought it could be avoided. It was not the case. He landed.
The chalet that I have been renting for years, and renovated for almost two years, is up for sale. There is online my furniture, my lovely handmade Neptune kitchen. Marble worktop. The advert states that the chalet has a “freestanding bath”. Yes, mine. Although I got a mortgage, as I knew could happen, the amount I can borrow will not extend to the asking price. The reason it costs so much money is, of course, because I spent just under £40,000 on it.
When I moved in, there was no central heating. Laminate floor that curved upwards. The old hob caught fire, destroying the existing false wooden worktop. A closet door fell, hitting me in the head. The bathroom was moldy, the walls and ceiling covered in asbestos. In North Yorkshire, so out with the horses, I need to be warm. Also, I work from home. I got permission to do it.
Now I am ousted. The cabin isn’t big enough for more than one person, so I imagine it will become yet another vacation rental in a sea of them. Or a second home. I could come back and daub some graffiti.
Of course, everyone, including my accountant, told me not to renovate a cottage that didn’t belong to me, but I felt I deserved a nice home. I don’t wake up every morning thinking, ‘How can I fill my life today?’ But I still feel like I’m stuck, with no escape, no other option. I can’t live in a dump: I’m depressed.
It’s expensive to rent. People despise you. The real estate agent had arrived unannounced and started taking pictures. Not even a ‘Do you mind if…?’ Not a single word, like I was invisible, though I was there, weak from the shock.
I had to move for months while the work was completed. I stayed with a friend which was not easy as she was afraid I would give her the Covid. Then the renovation work stopped for a year due to the confinement, which meant that I didn’t even have a kitchen faucet. I installed new light switches and outlets, replaced the 25 year old fuse box (the reason the cooker caught fire), new boiler, tiles, underfloor heating. Devol kitchen taps alone cost £360.
I don’t want to move anymore. It’s hard to rent anywhere with four dogs. And, most importantly, my horses and Nic’s horses are right outside right now. I could never take care of them on my own if I had to drive anywhere. With Nic sick, I’m on my knees, despite online trolls posting chippy messages. Here’s one: “Oh my God. Liz Jones has to take care of her own horses for a change. I do it anyway, thanks (trolls hate it when you type “thanks”), but currently I have Nic to watch too What would they want me to do? Fire her? Leave them unattended while I’m away for work? Someone else wrote: “It’s not like Liz is traveling anywhere to write His diary.”
Yes, you are so right! I have only been to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Bolivia, New York, Paris, Milan, Canada, Haiti, Pakistan, India, Tuscany, Bali, Rome, Venice, Bangladesh, Florida, Los Angeles. All under construction. Everything at the last minute: I was told to fly to Venice with two hours notice. I had to drive down the freeway to Manchester Airport, half-dressed, shouting on the phone to Nic, “What terminal?! What TERMINAL???!!!!’ Let’s just leave the horses in the field to rot, okay? Collies to bark and starve.
It’s funny, isn’t it, that people who try to do the right thing always get the roughest time.
Read more of Liz’s diaries here