Property: Stepping Stones - One Woman's Property Story

WENDY JOHNS was given one property and has bought four others since 1971. She now lives in a three-bedroom Victorian terrace in Banbury, Oxfordshire. After divorcing, Wendy made an unusual property move: "I bought a 72ft boat and loved it from the word go." She travelled the canals in her pounds 2,500 home, after a memorable maiden voyage: "It started to sink on its way back." Resourcefully, she plugged the holes with clay and straw: "It was no big deal - I'm quite an optimist."

Wendy tells proud tales of a thriving community hiding from "nasty council officials" spying on them, as they were allowed only eight days in any one place: "We had the biggest garden in England and carried our homes on our backs like snails."

In 1980, Wendy sold her boat for pounds 10,000 and searched for a waterways cottage. She was offered a "three-up, three-down" in Oxfordshire on a "repairing lease" which she accepted without seeing inside. It needed total renovation, which cost pounds 8,000. Idyllic years "involved in canal life" ended with the M40 construction nearby: "The thought of the lovely hill replaced by cars thundering past was too awful."

In 1984, Wendy sold her home for pounds 15,000, pounds 1,000 for each year of the lease. She wanted to live in Banbury but bought a "pretty derelict, as opposed to `pretty', cottage" in Leamington for pounds 14,000.

She coped "with the confidence that God will provide". Provision came in the form of a renovation grant, but meant six months without basic amenities. Wendy found the area "lacked warmth and friendliness" and she still hankered after Banbury, "which looks toward London and Oxford rather than Birmingham".

In 1993, she sold for pounds 51,000 to a friend and trawled Banbury for a cottage. One she viewed turned out to be a "Brookside Close bungalow". She looked round and on finding an "immaculate home with its marvellous garden", immediately took it.

But living there was different: "I loathed it. The walls were thin and nobody visited." She blames the cul-de-sac as being "very bad in feng shui terms" but admits she didn't fit in: "You don't get bohemian eccentrics on Brookside Close. They thought I was weird."

Finally, she bought a Victorian three-bedroom terrace for pounds 44,000. Her childhood, spent in foster homes and orphanages, has left her rootless but now she is home: "I love it here and am proud to say I'm from Banbury."

The Moves

1971 - bought boat for pounds 2,500, sold for pounds 10,000.

1980 - cottage on repairing lease, sold for pounds 15,000.

1984 - bought derelict house for pounds 14,000, sold for pounds 51,000.

1993 - bought bungalow for pounds 50,000, sold for pounds 51,950.

1996 - bought terrace house for pounds 44,000, worth pounds 60,000.

To have your moves featured write to: Nic Cicutti, Stepping Stones, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. pounds 100 will be awarded for the best story

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

    £21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago