Property: Stepping Stones - One Woman's Property Story
Saturday 17 October 1998
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."
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
Justin Bieber was one of the hardest hit
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable law firm based in central London ...
£30 per hour: Ashdown Group: An industry leading and well established business...
Negotiable: The Jenrick Group: A Controls Engineer is urgently required for a ...
£32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an an exciting opportunity to jo...