House hunt: A ‘Grand Farm Villa’

10 November 2016

There’s a tree in the back-seat with me.

We are en route to the big smoke: Auckland City, with a gift for my friend who is getting married tomorrow. While mama and papa picked a baby oak as a wedding gift, I checked out what the nursery woman called the ‘grizzies’, also known as griselinia littoralis, or broadway mint. I want a hedge of grizzies at the back of the courtyard that will be at the tail of the house.


While we drive, mama is writing a budget while papa and I jostle numbers about. Papa is budgeting big… he says we should ‘make a realistic budget’ and then ‘do without – pare it back’. I say that mama and I are good at paring back. We have skills in finding things for 80% off. Mama has skills in finding things at the local dump that have life in them.

We are visiting more orphan houses today. 40 minutes south of Whangarei, we visited one that was called “Grand Farm Villa” on the listing. We were interested to hear the house sellers say that if we wanted to adopt a house with mama’s character, we would need to pay 150 thousand dollars.

Grand Farm Villa was perched on a hill, someone had taken off her back wall, she had gaping holes in the living room floor and when we opened her cupboards, we could see the mud and sunlight below. She had a kind of muddy, broken potential. Mama thought the potential was for a load of back-breaking work.

So that was a no go.

We’ve just about reached another orphan house. This house seller is a cheeky one over text. The orphan house we’re going to see is under contract, but the seller man says he can wriggle out of it.

What will it be like? How will it measure up to our Mair St orphan?


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