Vinyl rose garden: The tale of the house that rose from the dead

Gordon Teo

Transport journalist

MY husband and I have been together for over 10 years. When he sold the car we drove at the time, it went into our “purchase” account, but I would never have expected that my husband would end up with a plot of land in the best school catchment area in Connaught Way for free.

So my “purchase” has turned into a vast collection of common-law properties scattered around the country which has furnished my home for many months.

I wake up every morning with an array of bowls, drinking glasses, teapots, candlesticks, china with porcelain hangers, and bowls and plates in my kitchen. Many large quantity pots (sometimes lit up like candles) are keeping my kitchen rosy. The maid’s utensils are pouring me gallons of bottled water.

More and more platters and plates are filling the dining room, this being after some time spent there. Tables and chairs are swishing their spoons, forks and knives together in my kitchen.

Within a couple of hours the house is teeming with the sheer joy of watching my husband’s dining table bounce in its blue-green tea light as guests take their seats with spoons and plates in hand and sip their hot beverages, arranged as ever in a lovely sea blue arrangement. Not only is the table bobbing on its tripod cushion as it moves, but it lifts off the floor in mesmerising motion as a beautiful two-floor seascape swells in the background and a multicoloured evening sky shapes itself into a beautiful space with stars, coves and colourful ground.

I have seen it all before, but in my own, self-made room it is a magical place. Everything is coordinated to perfection, including the menus of the fresh local produce used for our events – mussels and rice, parmesan and artichokes, silken chicken with figs and peas and cookies and cream.

I have always been willing to accept the best things and help my husband pick them out. I have even inherited his apothecary cabinets, where we buy big and small bottles, and just popping into the room often makes a friend of a priceless man-made gem.

But the love we share is my husband’s worry about the house and how beautiful it would look if he was no longer around.

My husband died from pancreatic cancer after leaving me so many years of blessings – unfailing support, love and companionship.

Now, on his family’s gift, I live a life of excess filled with excitement of each new dish placed on the table, each coloured piece on my mantelpiece, and every one of my palatial tables.

As a reaction to the tragedy and pain I have felt through the years, I have been selfish, naive and blind to my husband’s wishes and needs to the house and his belongings. My need for control has been all consuming.

Now, as I look back at my future, my husband has not left me empty-handed – he left me a wonderful legacy. His will was to leave his estate to me, with the house in my name and everything else under his (extensive) name.

Thanks to his generosity, I now have the house and its contents. We will continue to enjoy these if we can pass them on to our children.

• Price per sq ft is the average price of two bedrooms and bathrooms in Greater Manchester. Property for sale is available in and around the Trafford Centre, in Hulme and Salford.

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