My sweet pea

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It really is the most beautiful morning.

Sweet peas have been sown: Cupani, my all-time favourite, and Royal Wedding because I yearn for a pure white sweet pea this year. The pots are germinating in my daughter’s sunny bedroom. (Don’t worry, she isn’t here at the moment but she is coming home for a break next week – hooray.) I may even have room in my garden this year for a wigwam or two of sweet peas as I have finally taken the plunge and arranged for a 25-year-old laurel tree to be felled and its stump ground out. I am going to gain a big west-facing space on well-drained soil and I can hardly wait. I found Helen’s recent blog post on her plans for her front garden inspirational and think I may go for something more exciting than amelanchier or acer griseum, not that there is anything wrong with either of these small trees but I feel like pushing the boundaries a little.

Also in the garden I have been digging up dead stuff. This year I have lost Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’ and a purple-leaved acer grown from seed and planted in the garden about five years ago as a foot-high seedling. It had grown enormously in the last couple of years so perhaps it had simply out-paced itself or else it never recovered from last year’s summer drought. Never mind, both losses give me new planting opportunities.

Now for some news on the cottage. After much thought we have decided not to move in and we will hopefully sell it during the course of this year. The cottage and the garden and the location are all wonderful but the timing is wrong. I don’t want or need the challenge of running two houses and two gardens (not to mention my allotment) at this stage.  We are lucky to live in a beautiful part of Surrey in the foothills of the North Downs and although the South Downs are equally special they are less than an hour from home and we can drive down and walk or cycle there whenever we want.  I had a horrid premonition that I would spend all day Friday preparing to go to the cottage (instead of swimming, food shopping and allotmenteering) and that our weekends would be spent cleaning and mowing the grass… But that isn’t all. I also feel uncomfortable about owning two houses. It never occurred to me that I would feel like this until we had bought the cottage. When so many people are struggling to find a home it seemed wrong to own two. Looking on the bright side we have turned an uninhabitable and unloved 18th century listed cottage into a safe, warm, clean home which should appeal to a much wider set of buyers. Meanwhile work continues. Three workers are ‘blitzing through’ and laying new flooring today and I have a date for the pruning of the tulip tree. The property market is still slumbering but hopefully as we get closer to Easter there will be interest. It’s been a tough lesson, but sometimes life is tough and we have to learn the hard way. No one’s died, we still have our health and humour (just) and life goes on. As the estate agent has just said, we bought a cottage, we did it up and it’s now going back on the market – it happens all the time. Meanwhile I have lots to keep me busy and Spring, if my resident robins and toads and newts are anything to go by, is ready to burst.

Have you ever done anything you  subsequently regretted. How did you feel? Did it work out in the end? I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “My sweet pea

  1. You’re right, Sarah. It is a beautiful day. For what it’s worth, if the timing isn’t right I think you’re doing the best thing, although you don’t need to justify your decision to anyone! You come across as someone who does everything thoroughly, so I’m sure the cottage will be a fabulous find for house-hunters come Easter (which is absolutely the best time to sell a house). It’s brilliant that you took the plunge, rescued a run-down house and you’ve made the decision that it’s not right for you now. You’re taking action. No dithering. Well done. Here’s to spring sunshine and exciting garden plans. Sam x

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  2. Beautiful photographs! You sound relieved to have made the decision to sell the cottage, which is an indicator that it is the right decision for you. Timing is everything, and if the time isn’t right, then it wont work for you. You have put lots of work and skill in to the cottage, and that experience is all positive. Someone will buy a beautiful home, and you can proudly hand over the keys when the day comes. X

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  3. I don’t think that you should regret anything. You did what you thought was right at the time, and you are doing what is right now, and that is all that matters! You also shouldn’t feel any guilt at having two homes if that is what you decide to do in the future. Just think of all the good you have done with and for the cottage and now it will be all ready for someone else to move into and love and your love will have added to all it has to offer to someone else in the future! xx

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  4. I agree with what Amy says wholeheartedly, you have breathed new life into a tired property (and garden) and made it a welcoming home for someone else to enjoy. We once did something not dissimilar ourselves, buying a weekend place just up the hill from here to do up while we debated the pros and cons of leaving London. Everything worked out much more quickly than we imagined so we only ‘lived’ there for a very short time before selling up. When I drive past it now, I always slow down to see how well the hedge and birches I planted are doing. I’m sure your cottage will have lovely new owners who will thank you for the work you did.

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  5. Good pictures and a heartfelt post. I’ve always thought that less is better so I have to say that I think that you’re doing the right thing and won’t regret it.
    I think that we’ve all done things that we’ve subsequently regretted, I know I have. Thankfully there’s been nothing major though.
    I’m probably not growing sweet peas this year as they’ve not well the past couple of years. xx

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  6. I can hear the relief in your voice as I read this. I don’t think that you should feel that it is something to regret – more an opportunity to learn about yourself. Your heart is in the home and garden that you have lived in for so long and that is a positive thing to understand, It has been lovely to read about this adventure so thank you for sharing it with us and may the new owners find sunshine and happiness in the cottage.

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  7. It is hard to imagine what you will have been going through in recent weeks as you came to this decision, Sarah – and as it was only recently that you seemed to have overcome your initial doubts I suspect it may have been a very sudden one. You will know from the from the lightness of your shoulders that something has been lifted, even if you hadn’t initially been aware that there WAS something hanging over you. Well done to both of you for being able to talk about your feelings on the cottage and for having made the decision

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  8. decisions like this are hard, don’t ever feel you have to justify them to anyone x be gentle on yourself and enjoy growing your sweet peas and knowing you’ll have more time at home to enjoy them x

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  9. It looks from your top photo that somebody else was enjoying basking in the sunshine on that beautiful morning too Sarah. I’m hoping to get my sweet peas in this weekend. I’ve never been able to work out the subtle differences between ‘Cupani’ or ‘Matucana’ but one or the other is always top of my sweet pea sowings. Nothing beats them for scent. Although you have now decided that you will not be living in the cottage you’ve made a lovely home for somebody else to cherish and have no doubt learnt much in the process about yourself. You can now start to relax and enjoy the home and garden you have.

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  10. We moved into a house where previous owners had made various improvements that I don’t think we’d have ever got round to, and we’ve always been grateful to them (we never met them, but you know what I mean). Perhaps it might help if you thought of it as a project – you took an unloved cottage and improved it, and now you’ve finished your time with it and it’s ready for someone else. I know what you mean about feeling uncomfortable about two homes. I was talking to someone the other day who is desperate for their first home which is years away and I felt uncomfortable about my own good fortune about living in a place I now couldn’t afford to buy, which made me determined to be more appreciative.

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  11. Well done you for making a good decision about the cottage. I think you’ve been very realistic in looking at the amount of time having a second home takes up, and you’ve absolutely done the right thing for you. I don’t think you should regret anything, it’s all about learning and moving on, and you’ve made such a beautiful job of it, and in very short time too. Keep enjoying those weekends together, they sound lovely. CJ xx

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  12. I would wonder if you are right in describing the cottage as if it is a decision to regret. You bought it. You thought it might be one thing, realised that wasn’t right for you right now, made something beautiful of it and let it go on its way. How is that not ok? Enjoy the spring.

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  13. I think you are brave and wise to sell the cottage that you so lovingly renovated. It is like letting go a foster child into the care of adoptive parents in a way, you nursed and cherished the house and now it is ready to move on. Maybe not the best comparison but it popped into my mind when I read your post. x

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