spring daffofils

Two households, both alike in dignity…

spring daffofils

So, as some of you may know, the initial motivation behind us deciding to move house came last year when, after a 6-year absence, Nigel, the International Man of Mystery Next Door, turned up and announced that he was preparing to put his house up for sale.

We were worried. His house shares a wall with ours, and after years of having no neighbours, we were used to the peace and quiet, and didn’t really fancy having to share “our” space with The Others, who would obviously move in with their thumping baselines and their drum-kits  and make our lives a misery. Even if that didn’t happen, and our new neighbours were model citizens, it was the push we needed  to start thinking about moving, and it was the main catalyst which sent us down the path we’ve been on for the past few weeks, of preparing our house to sell and looking at others.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Nigel re-appeared and told us he’d be putting his house on the market soon. But he didn’t. Oh, he did a ton of work on it, but it didn’t go up for sale and then, last autumn, Nigel abruptly disappeared again: until last week, it had been six months since we’d last seen him. We relaxed a bit. He obviously wasn’t in any hurry to sell, and hopefully by the time he WAS ready to sell, we’d be long gone.

Our ‘For Sale’ board went up on Monday.

Nigel’s went up today.

In retrospect, there was really no other possible way this could have panned out. Everyone I’ve told so far has said, “I can’t believe it… but then again, actually I can, because that’s just your luck, isn’t it?”

And yeah, it really is. On the one hand, we guess there’s a good chance that anyone who comes to see his house will decide to take a look at ours too, which will hopefully give us a bit of free advertising. Obviously that works both ways, though, and when there are two identical houses, both listed for exactly the same price, but once is empty and just “dressed” for sale, while the other is full of all our stuff (and, you know, US) I know which one I’d go for. Our house is probably going to be hard to sell anyway, (It’s very much a “first-time buyer” home, and with the economy the way it is, it’s quite difficult for new buyers to get mortgages right now) and given the lack of buyers for houses like ours anyway, we’d really rather not be having to compete with the house next door, and the International Man of Mystery within. (Or without, as the case may be…)

Basically, then, after 6+ years of living peacefully, side-by-side with our international mystery man, the time has come for us to go to war with him instead. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, or, to put it another way: IT’S ON, people. We will fight him on the beaches. We will fight him on the suburban lawns. We will fight him in the driveways, and afterwards he will go and meticulously clear his up, and we’ll probably go and open a bottle of wine, because we’re like that. We are footsoldiers in a suburban war: there can be only one victor, and it kind of has to be us, because God knows, those shoes will have to live SOMEWHERE.

The current plan is that any time we see people coming to view the house next door, Terry will run outside and invite them to take a look at ours, too. I’ll be waiting with a tray of cupcakes, a basket of kittens, and a handful of hair-raising tales about all the bodies under the patio next door. “It’s said that those who step over the threshold never return!” I will cackle dramatically, in the manner of a wise old crone. “Would you like another cupcake?”

Now, who wants to bet that Nigel has only done this so that he can make an offer on the house we’re interested in? Anyone?

[P.S. To answer the question that always comes up when the subject of The House Next Door arises: no, we can’t just buy Nigel’s house, knock down the walls and turn it into a walk-in wardrobe. For once thing, it’s not nearly large enough to be my closet, but for another, we can’t afford to buy ANY house unless we sell this one first. The houses we’ve been looking at aren’t in this area, but even if we did want to stay here, we’d still have to sell this house in order to buy N’s, and then we’d be in exactly the same position, only we’d be living next door. So we’ll just have to curse him, unfortunately: it’s the only way…]

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books by Amber Eve
  • Oh jeepers it never rains but it pours huh? From one house falling through to this….. sorry to hear that Amber, hopefully his will sell in a day and you won’t need to fight him on the driveway, you can just invite people in to sample the cupcakes, play with the kittens and admire your house (and hopefully buy it!)

    April 19, 2013
  • Comment

    April 19, 2013
  • ahhh I remember the first time you mentioned him and I was so intrigued I actually stalked your posts to see any new updates, I forgot about him! but now that you have this new “mutiny” I can’t wait to hear how life spans out for you! how exciting! good luck, best wishes lovely 🙂 xx

    April 19, 2013
  • What a story! You never know…someone might come along and just die to have the “house of shoes”.


    April 19, 2013
  • I thought this type of misfortune only happened in my world! I’m glad I’ve found you Amber it makes me feel better knowing I’m not alone in the catastrophe that my life constantly becomes.

    April 19, 2013
  • Here’s a true story that will hopefully make you feel a bit better (if the cupcakes, kittens and cackling don’t help):

    Last year, our neighbours sold up and some New People moved in. We got chatting, and it turns out they’d also viewed the house we’re now living in when it was up for sale- but we’d pipped them to the post. They loved this house as much as we did, but because we’d bought it they bided their time and waited until the identical house next door was put up for sale.

    So, worst case, if there are several people fighting over your next door neighbours ready-to-move-into house I can’t imagine it will take long before one of them says “why get in this stupid bidding war when there’s an identical house next door all ready to be bought?”, and they will offer on yours 🙂

    Or vice-versa, I guess, but who wants to buy a house without kittens and cupcakes and with dead bodies buried under the patio?!


    April 19, 2013
  • Really enjoyed reading this, you’ve managed to make an annoying situation very comical!


    April 19, 2013
  • Um…I actually hope you sell your house in a day. Granted, it’s not a good situation, and I’m feeling very anti-Nigel at the moment. Sometimes homes that have sat empty for a long time have a very heavy atmosphere and are not appealing to prospective buyers. Pack away as much stuff as you can manage, but don’t take all the personality and life out of your home. Best of luck!

    Sue xo

    April 19, 2013
  • Good luck on selling quickly!

    Back when we were selling our house, we were the first and only ones in the neighborhood to list. This was a neighborhood where NO-ONE moved. Ever. So it was a nice little surprise when three days after our ‘For Sale’ sign went up that a neighbor listed their house. For the same amount. Only their house had a little bit more square footage.

    We did get some free advertising off of that neighbor (and of course they did off of us). But it got annoying to hear to comparisons between our house and theirs’. “Oh, we just looked at the house for sale right down the street. The living area seemed to be bigger/more cabinet space/bigger closet. Hmmm. Same price too!” It got to where I wanted to start a rumor of horrible sacrifices taking place in that house, and as a result it was haunted.

    April 19, 2013
  • So are you in a semi attached or an end of terrace? If you’re EOT then you’d more likey sell before the other one….possibly!

    As someone said before, where your house is lived in, it might give it a nicer feel than an empty one.

    Wishing you luck in your battles!! 😀

    April 19, 2013
    • Semi attached??? I think I mean semi-detached! LOLOL!!

      April 19, 2013
  • Oh, no! But I agree that the lived in feel might make yours seem more appealing. Hoping it all goes in your favor.

    April 19, 2013
  • We just awarded you with a “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” over at our blog!!

    You can view it here: http://boyerfamilysingers.blogspot.com/2013/04/very-inspiring-blogger-award.html

    April 19, 2013
  • Ever the optimist, look in the brightside A-someone might want to buy both houses. Similar analogy is like buying 2 of the same pairs of shoe but in different colours. Jx @bestdressedbabe/bloglovin

    April 19, 2013
  • Oh no neighbours can be such a pain! but perhaps you will get someone amazing and lovely move in next door perhaps if he doesn’t sell up soon he will give up and just disappear again! or perhaps you will get an offer and find a lovely new house to move into. Hope you get it all sorted out soon.

    April 23, 2013
  • Argh, do you think he’s done this on purpose because, you know, the economy has also had an effect on the work of an International Man of Mystery and he hasn’t got a lot on so he’s decided to spend his next few months warring, just to keep his brain in shape?
    I hope you sell quickly and can find the house of your dreams, and don’t post about it’s location until it;s a sure thing, in case he’s reading this, looking for clues…

    April 24, 2013
  • Sally


    Taking a page out of our dear Nigel’s playbook, I will be two years late to the “IMOM” party. (Or four +, really, if you stop to think about it…) Forgive me, for I don’t mean to disturb any final notions you’ve made about Nigel over the years, but reading your interactions with him left me with one niggling little thought: It’s a bit convenient, don’t you think, that he should move in right after you, disappear, and then finally put up the “For Sale” only after you two made the decision to finally move — even though he’d been hinting at it for years? It seems suspicious to me. I don’t fully buy his “working abroad” line, either. Sure, he may have been “working” and it was probably “abroad”, but it wasn’t nearly as innocent as it sounds.

    In fact, maybe he was really keeping an eye on you. Or Terry. Maybe you all witnessed something you’re not even aware of – consciously, that is. It would explain some of the things that have happened. Think back, did his untimely appearances coincide with periods of oddity in your life? Have you noticed anything of curiosity since your new move? Any seemingly empty houses down the road that have that one window up high.. the one with the twitching curtain when no one is home. Or a feeling of being watched?

    It’s possible he’s not assigned to you two anymore.. perhaps They finally have you in a position where you needn’t be watched. Physically, that is. Perhaps that’s the real reason behind your home’s previous owner’s curious stories and string-along; They were still putting in the necessary changes to make it ready for you.

    …You’re not alone. Get out now!

    ((Side note… I just scared the heck out of myself. I won’t even go into the idea that perhaps something of note was implanted on T-Day…))

    July 20, 2015