Our new house was not ready when we first moved to Luton so we wild-camped by the river for a couple of nights, with only a sleeping bag and dirty white sheet for cover. We were perfectly safe there, but our belongings were not. On the first night some cash was stolen, and on the second day we caught a teenager red-handed as he made a move to lift our camera. TPR commented that the inhabitants of Bedfordshire were less trustworthy than those of Scotland.
We had not even seen a sales schedule for new abode, so when the day came to visit it for the first time we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was a tall detached Victorian villa in a neat row of red-brick houses. Our pleasure turned to pain, however, when we pushed open the front door and saw the devastation that laid behind it.
The previous owners had wrecked the house by painting lurid murals over every wall, installing an excess of ovens in the kitchen, building staircases that led nowhere, and generally paying little attention to the building’s upkeep.
Just as we realised the folly of our purchase the house was invaded by about thirty people. These were our new neighbours, relieved that the house had finally been sold and hopeful that we would pay for its restoration. Some even offered their services as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and the like. It pained us to admit that we had stupidly used up all our savings in this act of purchasing madness so we had no cash to pay anyone to help make the house habitable again.
Why had we ever thought it a good idea to leave our beautiful Georgian garden flat in Edinburgh to spend the rest of our lives in a dump in Luton?