Don’t push people into a corner, or be careful when you threaten Russia

We must be very careful about our actions, for they can produce consequences we did not intend.

I’m thinking of the bigger picture here with the UK threatening Russia about a chemical attack on two Russian  based in Salisbury, England.  However to illustrate how easy it is to get exactly what you don’t want when by making different decisions you might have got something closer to an outcome you wanted or one at least more acceptable to you.

We moved house. We moved from a house we adored. We had no choice but to move because of a set of circumstances created when we became victims of the fraudster Giovanni di Stefano.

By the time I realized our beloved home would have to be sold my husband was already suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Our home included a studio that I’d used as my painting studio.

I also rented a really large studio space in a Napoleonic complex in another village. There were several benefits to having the space in that complex and I loved it. It was also good to have a separate space when it came to selling the house, it meant that I still had my workspace and back then I couldn’t have known how drastic my husband’s deterioration would be and to what degree my life would be taken over with his care.

In Alzheimer’s there is a time when the sufferer can no longer be left alone. That time became apparent when my previously very capable husband was attempting a DIY job I didn’t know he was going to attempt. It was to put a finishing edge to a counter top but he left the trim edge to heat close to a gas hob then forgot about it. Fortunately I arrived home and realized the utility room was on fire. With the whole house smoke alarm screaming while hubs was saying the smoke alarm was faulty, and I knew it wasn’t I was just able to catch the fire and put it out before the time I’d have needed the fire brigade.

I had a buyer for our house so needed somewhere to move quickly. If it had become necessary I would have put the furniture in store and found temporary accommodation but that would have been unsettling for my husband. I wanted to stay in the same village that was familiar for hubs and also where we have family.

I bought a house that was not on the open market, it was and is in a lovely position with views across a field to the church. The field had just been changed from being the Glebe field to an extension to a public space. The garden had some leylandii trees and planting on the space I wanted to build the studio, so there was not much of a view for neighbours across it.

The house was much smaller than our old home and it did not have studio space but it did have space to build an extension and studio. I’d figured out that within the downsizing budget there would be enough to make the house very much ours and give me a studio. Then the studio became more urgent because I, along with others in the complex, was given notice to quit. It was problematic as I had nowhere to keep my studio contents and had to put them into store. I figured I could keep a close enough eye on hubs and still be able to work in a studio at home a few steps away from the kitchen but hadn’t wanted to leave the other studio until a new one was available.

I knew we’d need planning permission……..

I was very careful to find a good architect and worked with him on ideas. We went ahead with plans. There were some physical considerations that meant those plans had to be changed but we ended up with a design that was a good one… It had elements of contemporary design that we felt would fit in with the area but still be of its time. It was a design that in the house extension part very much allowed for hub’s likely deterioration and encompassed what his needs would be.

To cut a long story short. The planning process was painful. The outcome was that we got the permission for the studio then the house extension was refused but subsequently won on appeal.

When the architect had come up with the designs and especially with a copper roof I had loved the idea of that roof, but while not the main objection, the roof was to end up being one of the points the main objector seized on when the other objections were over-ruled or invalidated. The objector wanted a standard roof.

My comments to the architect at the beginning before the plans went in was that if it was to prove too expensive we could change the roof covering for something not so expensive. With a basic planning permission it wouldn’t have been difficult to do that.

What should have been a fairly straight forward process became a long drawn-out stressful one during which time my husband‘s condition deteriorated faster than we could have imagined. The last year that should at least have been free from the stresses the planning threw up was more than a little difficult. By now with help from my son I was full time carer. We had no outside help even when my husband became bed-bound.  We managed to convert a ground floor room into a bedroom and wet room which helped enormously but he only had the use of that for a few weeks. Four days before he died we had wonderful help but only for four days.

The costs involved in fighting the planning, the urgency to get hub’s wetroom/bedroom done, the overall care costs, even with me as carer, have depleted the building fund. The time factor alone has seen costs of materials spiral, the costs of a funeral at least three years before we expected it, and other considerations means I’m struggling to put the power and water to the studio and the finishes to the studio roof. And that’s without the house extension. But here’s the rub, maybe if someone hadn’t have seized on the roof type as the main thing that they felt could be a valid objection (remember it was overturned) then maybe I’d have just put tiles on, Now it would mean going back to more planning and the hassle of that is just too much.  So I guess I’m saying is don’t push people into a corner.

Like most things this will all become just so much water under the bridge. I’ve had condolence cards from the majority of my neighbours including the main objectors to the planning applications, and I welcomed those.

I had moved home to make things less stressful in my husband’s last years and ultimately if my decision wasn’t the right one then it’s down to me with a bit of fate thrown in. My point here is that you do not know what unintended results your actions might have, so think very carefully before you make a move. That’s advice the present Government might consider.

2 thoughts on “Don’t push people into a corner, or be careful when you threaten Russia

  1. Hi Linda

    I have been following your posts for the past year or so. My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimers two years ago at the age of 45 and I took comfort in reading your blog, knowing I was not alone with this. Firstly I am so sorry for your loss, however your husband is no longer suffering from this awful disease, little comfort I know.

    I have too faced troubles with planning applications, at my previous address I wanted to convert and extend our garage to create a fitness studio for small yoga classes rather than continue to hire a dusty, cold village hall and to stay close to my husband. I too faced resistance from neighbours and I know how stressful the planning process can be. Our application was also refused and at the time I felt like I was being victimised by our neighbours, I spent many an evening worrying what I had done to them to upset them this much. I decided one day that enough was enough and I went around to each of my neighbours to talk about it. It wasn’t until we talked over a cup of tea that I realised the impact it would have on the neighbours and how much stress it was causing them. I soon realised that their objections were not a personal attack on me but rather their opinion on the planed work that was going to impact their lives that I had not considered. It is important to realise that, as the saying goes, an Englishmans home is his castle, any change to someones surroundings can greatly impact their lives. I managed to get my studio by sitting down with the neighbours and coming up with a plan that suited all parties, OK, I didn’t get it how I would ideally have liked it, but I got my studio, kept the neighbours happy and have formed a good relationship (she even comes to yoga!).

    My understanding from your posts is that you are unable to practice your passion until your studio is complete. Your objectors took a disliking to the copper, which is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, lets face it. You said you were prepared to change the roof to a tiled roof if needs be. So my advice is to go and see your neighbours/objectors and talk it through with them and see if you can get them to agree to support the change for the planners. A change of materials with letters of support from neighbours may avoid the whole planning process, or if it has to go to consultation at least you know neighbours will support it. At the moment I’m afraid it is you losing out, and this resolution would see you on your way to resuming your passion. From my experience I am so glad that I engaged them and got the space to practice my passion in with the comfort of being there for my husband. I feel a lot more relaxed living in a friendly environment and now get a lot of support from my neighbours with my husband.

    What im trying to say here is that nobody likes change, and the smallest change can negatively impact someone in a greater way then we ever envisaged and I would hate to be the cause of someones displeasure. It takes greater effort to hold a grudge than to compromise. I would also advise not writing about them on public blogs,it’s likely to further jeopardise the above suggestion and hinder future relations. Mutual understanding and respect goes along way and you maybe in your studio practising your passion in no time.

    Keep strong Linda! You have dedicated so much time to your husband over the last few years, its now time to concentrate on you and your passion again. I’m hoping you resolve your problems and are back to painting soon.

    Much love

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write, Tina. I’m so sorry to hear your husband is suffering with Alzheimer’s. It is a cruel disease. Your advice is wise. Unfortunately it doesn’t always go the way yours did. I went the route of showing plans before they were submitted and wasn’t given a clue that I’d meet what I met when it came to objection time. Straight objections I’d have no problem with, it’s the manner of how some go about things. I won’t go into into more as there is a lot but it is water under the bridge and better left to rest. I wish you and your loved one wellness strength and courage. and hope you can manage to keep the yoga going, and that you get some help as time progresses. There is a website called You will find wonderful support there, I can highly recommend it. Take care

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