The cottage

I don't know where to start really.

You know how you want something so bad, for years, and then all of a sudden it happens? The feeling of surrealism mixed with excitement and fear that it's all just a dream that will get ripped out of your hands by that damn mosquito flying into your ear, waking you up at 3.30 AM, AGAIN.

As you groggily slap your own face to get rid of the pest, the realization that the dream was just a figment of your brain's imagination stings just as much as your face does.

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But this seems to be real. My feet ache after walking around for hours to, from and around the cottage, my hands buzz after being used too much. My sunglasses are not at home, because I forgot them over there. Hell, I even have video proof of me ripping out a carpet. Let's hope it's MY carpet, and not someone else's.

We didn't really plan on it. We had toyed with the thought of getting a cottage somewhere rural because I have fantasized about it for so long, and because A have been thinking about it too. We were just supposed to look at old random cottages to get a basis for comparison, so we would know when we tripped over the exact right house in the right spot.

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So yeah we won’t be using that oven. I’m sure it still works, but… no.

So when this popped up on the market, we figured we'd go there. On the way over, we discussed what dealbreakers we have. Big, costly needs of acute renovations, too harshly renovated, dwelling too much in the shadows of woods, too far out into nowhere, too small of a plot, too much traffic, too modern, no electricity, no water source.

The main idea with a country house was getting away from today's connected world, being able to go somewhere and relax, connect with nature in a more natural way. Somewhere where I can hang around old things, build furniture and interior decor that doesn't fit into a modern, sellable house (like building my own kitchen counter, for example). Somewhere to experiment, take care of the old, make a fire in the old cast iron stove and be forced to slow down. The old saying, and I'm paraphrasing, "when the hands work, the mind can rest", is so true for me. A wants to build and experiment with off-grid solutions to modern problems, and while we have a house to do this at, it's just not the same.

In our house, we have warm water, electricity, WIFI, microwaves and all the common comforts of modern life. The feeling of connecting an off-grid solution here just doesn't make sense.

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Important information from 1962

So we got there and were welcomed by the sellers. Walked around with them, and then by ourselves. It's built in 1880 and from what my researched ocular inspections say, it was added-to and renovated around 1930. There's no water or drains inside but has a well outside. It has wooden stoves and a fireplace and the two kitchens from 1930 have probably lethal appliances. There is electricity. Uninsulated attic and a mess of a remade hallway. But the magic happens where the family that sold it, has been living there in succession from the start, and they've left so much old stuff. The barn is filled with random stuff that is worth zero in money, but so much for me. The attic has old furniture and table cloths and pots and pans, that one can find in any old second-hand shop. But it connects the house and the location to the people who have lived there all these years, and I think that's lovely.

Now, you're not supposed to fall in love with real estate and especially not the first one you look at, but I admit, I'm one of the people who do. One of the selling points was the massive amount of stuff they had in there, and we asked if they would leave everything they didn't want to take with them. Of course this saved them days, if not weeks, of work so they said yes. The thought of furnishing an entire house didn’t really gel with us either, it would be too much. With all the perks of this house and the absence of our dealbreakers, it tickled our fancy.

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Drawings from 1955. As personal as it gets, without diaries

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When I a little later, on our alone tour around the property, pointed at the old stone wall and without thinking about myself said "Does this belong to our cottage?", A said he knew that a bid was the table.

And here we are. Life's short, let's chance it. Let's hope we make it through life in regular with all it's obligations and can feel that the cottage provides us with a welcome breeze of calm and old-time renovations that fuels the mind and heart. Wish us luck. We're probably gonna need it.

And also, I'm asking for forgiveness from you guys that are not at all interested in old houses and old stuff, because... yeah you know that's it's gonna be a lot of that from now on.