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.