Dogs versus ducks...and life in a chapel

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of online dating you’ll know the importance of asking the following question before agreeing to a date:

Do you have a girlfriend/wife/partner?

I learnt this after a handful of dates involving men casually mentioning their girlfriend as part of our dinner conversation:

“Oh, you have a girlfriend?” I’d say in shock.
“Yes,” he’d nonchalantly reply.
“Did you think that maybe you should have mentioned her on your dating profile or in a message to me before you invited me out on a date?”
“Oh yeah, I guess so…”

When it comes to renting a house, there are also some key questions worth asking before agreeing to a move-in-date. Like, how are the neighbours?

We asked this particular question to the property owner before signing a tenancy agreement for a very a cute fourteenth century cottage in a quiet village in the English countryside and her response was:

“They’re lovely people. They have a couple of dogs that are well behaved and you’ll never hear from them”.
In hindsight, we should have asked more specific questions…such as:

Are the neighbours dog breeders?
Will they go to the pub and lock five Labradors inside their cottage with which we share a wall?
Will those dogs bark constantly for six hours?
Will there be 10 Labradors on their property the next day having a ‘dog party’?
Will the neighbours admit that every Friday and Saturday night they have ‘gin fests’ in their backyard?

After two nights living next door to, well, people who are very different to us, we vacated our rental (deciding that losing money by breaking our agreement was less stressful than spending any more time at the property) and moved back in with Pete’s very kind and accommodating parents.

After eight weeks sleeping on the floor of their spare room and after many hours searching real estate websites, we have finally settled in to a new rental which is, well, just wonderful.
It’s an old chapel (built in 1865) that was converted into a very quirky home… with random tile-mosaics, floorboards taken from a vintage ballroom in London, fake gold-leaf light fixtures that are ugly-lovely, Gothic arch windows that fill up with sunshine, as well as a slightly out of tune piano.

There’s a crystal-clear stream running past our front garden, which is home to some super-chilled ducks…and we are much happier with a few quack-quacks than a consistent chorus of woofs.


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