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  • “This is just absolutely charming, Tania!” My friend shrieked, looking at the house, whilst I struggled with the reluctant garden gate.

    I stopped and looked at my white Victorian cottage propped up between two adjoining houses so I too could glimpse the charm that my friend was seeing for the first time. Sadly it was eclipsed by my frantically calculating how long the whiteness would last before it had to be painted, whether the slight bow I could see in the iron guttering would become a break and whether the cracked render holding the chimney together would get through another winter. I was studiously avoiding looking at the window upstairs on the left of the porch because I knew the sill was rotten and the wood filler I’d used to temporarily fix it would not hold much longer. At least, I thought to myself, that stripping out all the overgrown shrubs in the front garden and putting down gravel had stopped the damp problem.

    “You are so lucky to live here.” She said.

    I looked at the house harder, it smiled back at me and its warmth washed over me.

    “Yes, I am; very lucky.” I smiled.
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