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You don’t have to be mad to buy a folly, but it helps – Part 2

Part 2

By Heather Houlie

[Part1 | Part3]

Whilst I now owned my own piece of North Cornwall it came with it’s own problems half an acre of Cliff is not easy to maintain, access was through some body’s garden (legal pack, what legal pack?), they very quickly dug a pond in their garden, seemingly to prevent any materials being dragged up the cliff.
Still my head whirled with plans and ideas for this poor little piece of history. Gothic beach hut or Wendy house by the sea. It was going to be difficult and opinions were divided in to two distinct camps.
What on earth are you going to do with it? Why would you buy that?
To how amazing, wonderful, romantic delightful and can I stay there?

There were negatives, like not being around to monitor the property and it being an attraction to bored kids or amorous couples! There were positives, no council tax or utility bills, as I like to say, ‘its not eating anything’.

Life has a habit of throwing everything at you all at once. A partner with a complicated family background meant his children were dumped on us due to their difficult behaviour, injured in a car accident ,I lost my job through the injury and was unable to drive any distance. On top of all of this He had an affair and we split, the house was put up for sale and life became a little bit difficult. I was left with all the financial responsibilities and will say no more on the matter.

The house would not sell, I couldn’t drive down to Cornwall , I had rescued a horse very appropriately called Bill, although I paid £1 for him he was expensive to keep. I was having a major financial struggle, it was with a heavy heart I picked up the phone and asked Fulfords auctioneers to come and give me valuation on the Folly. The poor lad that I had met in the car park must have wondered what on earth was happening to him. I dragged the poor lad through the overgrown path up to the folly, I still owe him a pair of trousers!!! He turned to take in the view and was literally speechless, they would be delighted to include it in their auction and would even give it a half page spread in the catalogue.
I had estimated it would now be worth £35,000 and he readily agreed. The process started with haste.
I had researched the history of the folly and prepared a folder to accompany the legal pack. Friends came down with petrol strimmers and we prepared for viewings.
Every Friday I would drive to Plymouth, staying at friends and they would drive me down to Cornwall for 11 am viewings, I so enjoyed this, I soon realised that I had missed my vocation in life and of course problems aside I fell even more in love with the site. I was putting on a brave face but half hoping unrealistically that it would not sell.

Just before the final viewing a few offers had come in that I hastily dismissed. The head auctioneer phoned to discuss the reserve price, any fan of homes under the hammer will know of Graeme he of the striped jacket and sharp humour. A lengthy and entertaining conversation ensued. And we agreed to set the reserve the following week just prior to the auction. I was surprised on conducting my last viewing to get a call from Graeme who had travelled down on his day off to have a look at this lot out of interest. He was very impressed and promised me it would be the star of the auction, he was going to maximise it’s appeal.
The final week of my owning the folly was a busy one, TV crews wanted to feature it, I had enjoyed fantastic weather for the viewings but the day the TV crews came it was a total down pour and a rare opportunity for me to be alone there. It was a poignant moment when I finally ventured down the cliff, stood on isolated beach , looked up to say good bye, no one could see the whopping tears flowing.
Just to make matters worse, I received an acceptable offer on the house and accepted, there had been no need to sell the folly , I didn’t feel I could back out now.

I decided to attended the auction and met many of the people who had viewed, they greeted me warmly and the venue was packed. The folly was the penultimate lot but came around all to soon. I had set the reserve at £28,500 and was really hoping it would not sell. True to his word, Graeme bigged up this tiny property speaking on it’s uniqueness and history, the bidding started it very quickly reached the reserve and I turned to my friend with a woeful, ‘ it’s gone’ graeme still quipped and plugged the lot ,eventually a phone bidder won the day at £38,500. Not a bad a return on my initial investment 4 yrs previously, I left the venue with very mixed feelings.

This is far from the end of the story, in the third part I will explain why I have been so ambiguous and a strange turn of events which resulted in the folly still being part of my life

[Part1 | Part3]