It was about 9 months between the time we first visited the Pudding Club and when we finally picked up the keys to our very own honey-coloured stone cottage. Still, we spent most weekends during that period in the Cotswolds, my bank statements a testament to our heavy investment in the B&B sector last summer.
The regular visits started in June when my mother-in-law became very ill and went into the hospital in Lancaster. After each visit up North, we would stop in the Cotswolds on our way back to London for a bit of solace from the death that was playing out in front of us. Dinner in a pub would inevitably turn into an enquiry about a room. It was during these stopovers that husband threw himself into a property search with typical zeal (he is real estate obsessed, logging considerable quality time each week with television “friends” like Phil and Kirsty). In retrospect the sudden obsession with a place in the country was probably a grief avoidance tactic, but I too was grateful for the distraction. And so it was that much of our exploration of the area was at the mercy of estate agents.
One of the first places an agent tooks us was to the village of G.P., to see a slightly dilapidated chocolate box cottage in a village full of chocolate boxes nestled in sheep-strewn green hills. That the village came equipped with two pubs and a post office was a bonus. We fell hard for the impractical one up / one down with a leaking roof and cobweb-covered windows even though it could never reasonably be anything more than a holiday home.
We made a low-ball offer, but one that was still financially reckless for us. Oblivious to the mercy of his actions, the owner rejected it. But shortly thereafter he offered a sweet deal on a long-term weekend rental, presumably on the theory that the test drive would convince us to up our offer. Thus the vilage of G.P. became our weekend retreat from which we watched the credit crisis and property crash develop while we looked for our perfect weekend retreat.