Janey Says: When Fate Steps In

As we all know, and I’ve discovered over the last few months, the best-laid plans inevitably alter, turning planning and organising into a waste of time.

These last weeks have been a classic case of the turmoil that seems to follow me should I attempt anything as radical as selling a house.

On being diagnosed with MS I was advised to review my life, making it simpler.  My mind is unable to cope with stress, leaving me so tired.. although I was determined to ignore this and carry on as usual.

But I felt sensibility was probably the right route to go, and for this reason, I decided to make the huge decision to sell my Sussex house, and simplify my life.

Too big, horribly expensive to run,  kids rarely coming down etc.  I thought to relocate to one smaller place made sense.

Selling a much-loved family home is never easy, though, especially when one of your adored children is massively anti.   Binks loves the house.  I bought it to recreate our family home, after much trauma at a time when she was least able to deal with it. For her, it’s a place of safety where she can escape, and become a child again, even for a short time.

Too big, horribly expensive to run,  kids rarely coming down etc.  I thought to relocate to one smaller place made sense.

I told her keeping it was a massive indulgence, and that now it was her turn to be the grown up and see things sensibly.  Terribly harsh words from me…I shocked myself – and felt big guilt.

It was a difficult decision.  Furnished with many pieces from my own childhood home – my fathers huge winged armchair, grandfather clocks, pictures and various familial memorabilia. I worried endlessly about how I would part with them,  and the pain it would cause.

There was no way in London I would find a flat large enough to get it all in.  The kids couldn’t take it yet – and the thought of sending it all to auction broke my heart.

Cutting to the chase – the decision was made.  The house was listed, sold and the house contracts were due to exchange at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago.

One hitch though. The intended purchaser had been delaying for weeks now, coming up with new excuses as to why he couldn’t proceed immediately.

At 3pm that same day, my eldest daughter – who rarely came to the house before she had her baby son, had a serious talk with me.  As she watched him crawl up the garden, stopping only for a quick tug of the trees and a bit of grass sampling, she begged me not to sell.

Seeing with new eyes just how fabulous an old place it is – she had realised how important it would be for us all.  Creating memories, with family holidays, weekends barbecuing by the sea – and endless cake making in granny’s kitchen – she had a new respect and understanding.

Never had I thought to hear that request from her – it just shows how children can make you aware of what you need pretty quickly.  That ‘ lovely central flat in Fulham’  loses some of its charms when an 11-month-old boy needs space to explore.

I had two hours to make a decision on something that would seriously affect the rest of our lives.  

Binks looked sadly at me, and told her sister: ‘it’s too late – I’ve asked her a million times.. she’s made her mind up.’

And that was the case, but I was almost inured to her feelings as I knew them too well and had heard them so often.

In lightbulb moment I decided that I would leave this major decision to fate!  Not sensible for the majority I know – but for me, at that time – it made perfect sense.

In my experience though ‘fate’  when I ask for help,  rarely gets it wrong

I decided that if these people did not exchange at the specified time, I would take the place off the market and keep it.

Those two hours were the most agonising of my life!  

As I watched the minutes tick by, praying the phone wouldn’t ring telling me the deal was done – I felt properly sick. The sudden realisation of how desperately I …we… needed that old place hit me, and I was furious I hadn’t realised it before.

Ten minutes to five and the phone rang.  Silence as we all stared at it knowing now what was at stake.  With trepidation, I answered, and it was my solicitor:

‘Hi Jane, I’ve just heard from your buyers’ solicitor,  and they are not going to be able to exchange today’.


The whoop of joy that came out of my mouth shocked her!  In these circumstances, people are normally devastated, as the ‘will or won’t it’ saga continues – and as she hadn’t been privy to our two hours of conversation, her surprise was understandable.

Needless to say, I explained my change of heart;  asked her to withdraw from the sale – and as the kids found a bottle of something alcoholic and fizzy, we spent the rest of the evening was spent in the garden celebrating, planning where the fish pond and children’s treehouse could go!

We all saw the old place through new eyes, and with new enthusiasm.

Without getting heavy and deep I see now that the old place was never meant to be sold, but I was in such a mental ‘fug’ – I couldn’t move past the idea that ‘sensible living’ was the right option for me.

In my experience though ‘fate’  when I ask for help,  rarely gets it wrong.  I’ve been given an opportunity for a fresh start – and that is exactly what the doctor ordered!

Now if ‘fate’ could help out England in the semis and maybe turn the temperature down just a smidge, this month will be quite perfect!





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