Monday, 31 October 2011

A Road to Ruin

Not surprisingly restoration projects in Hungary, as elsewhere, come with a price tag. That conditions should be attached to the purchase and renovation of a 'listed' property is not altogether unexpected. But that a hapless purchaser should find him or herself agreeing to the construction of a ring road, or the supply of gas to an entire village, or the rebuilding of a community centre, not to mention the provision of a new school, hospital or children's playground, then it will be understood that such news might, just possibly, bring about a sharp intake of breath.

a possible condition attached to the purchase of an historic building

Our architect has reported. The condition of our kastély is known. We are in possession of the facts.

Now, do not think for one moment that we are ones to shy away from the building of highways, from negotiating gas pipelines with Mr. Putin, from setting up a bingo hall or providing teachers with chalk, nurses with temperature charts or sand for sandpits.

Fear not that we should be daunted by the drip, drip, drip of water from a rusty pipe, the fall of plaster from pediment or portal, the broken casement, the sagging ceiling, the damaged cornice, the peeling paintwork or, if truth is to be told, the night time perambulations of the Death Watch Beetle.

detail of Front Hall, Budapest apartment, before restoration

the Front Hall of Budapest apartment after restoration

Let it never be said that our progress should in any way be impeded by the stiffness of a lock, the creaking of a door, a blocked chimney or two, a missing floorboard here, a barred entry there.

the Budapest apartment, Main Hall, in original condition

the Budapest apartment, Main Hall, as above, after restoration 

the Budapest apartment, Main Hall, looking towards the drawing room

Nor should it be imagined that failed deliveries, drunk workmen, substitute items, strikes, rules, regulations, sleight of hand and misrepresentation have ever, other than momentarily, deflected us from the task in hand. Indeed, we see the renovation and restoration of our Budapest apartment as testament to that.

But, where asbestos is concerned, then however reluctantly, a line must be drawn.

the Kastély showing the roof, dating from the 1970s, of asbestos tiles

The Kastély is, to a large part, made up of asbestos. This banned substance covers the entire roof and roof space and has done since the 1970s when, for whatever reason, the original tiles were removed. The cost of removal, disposal and replacement with an appropriate alternative is, we are advised, prohibitive. Add to this the purchase price and the estimates for complete restoration, and such conditions as may be imposed for enhancing the local amenities and environment, and, somewhat astonishingly, we find that it all comes to rather more than is to be found in our piggy bank.

Caveat emptor!!


  1. The differences between 'before' and and 'after' are quite astounding. But as for asbestos, that really is a nasty case of history coming back to bite one where it hurts.

  2. Oh my goodness and I am sure there would have been some hidden costs too, sorry about that, but onto another search perhaps after the forced loss is gotten over.

  3. Oh rats! Wretched asbestos!

    There are some adorable beach cottages not too far from us, that we always drive past wistfully, but many of them are riddled with asbestos too and are therefore a no-go as far as purchasing - although someone recently did buy one and the entire house was demolished (after the building was shrouded in a massive tarpaulin-like cover) and they are now rebuilding. Brave souls.

    Your Budapest apartment is beautiful - wonderful restoration work there.

  4. Ohhhh my dear dear, I feel your pain my dears! But you are indeed right! Asbestos is to be avoided at all costs! Horrible stuff that is! So sorry for the old mansion though, *sigh*
    On a happier note, I adore what you two did with the renovations. Pro's at work, shall we say? :) Lovely gentle colours and contrasts!

    Hugs to you both,

  5. Who could have imagined that such a beautifully mellowing manor house should be hiding such a toxic secret. I fear that now the truth is out, the future of the listed romantic Kastely may be very precarious. How sad, too, that any fairy godparents will be expected to save the ugly sister as well as Cinderella.


  6. Run away, quick!

    Thank goodness you discovered it before purchase.

    Someone I met at a party in England had bought an idyllic, (and amazingly inexpensive) property overlooking the village green, and discovered later that with the cottage came the financial responsibility for the upkeep of the church roof.


  7. Raybeard:
    The asbestos is, as you may well imagine, the final straw [or should we say fibre?!]. The rest we could, possibly, have coped with but that is, as our architect pointed out, going into unknown territory.

  8. Linda Starr:
    It is the hidden, and unknown, costs which have to be the deciding factor. We really feel that we cannot embark on a project of this size where it is not even possible to glimpse the likely end.

  9. Wendz:
    Terrifying to think that one might have ended up having effectively to almost rebuild the entire property. Even more alarming is what we took to be dust on the attic floor is, in fact, a thick 'insulating' layer of asbestos fibres.

    So sad about the beach huts.

  10. Kasia:
    It has not, as we are sure you are aware, been an easy decision but we are certain that, in the cold light of day, it is the right one. Sadly, we now think that there will be huge problems in finding a buyer for the kastély, leaving its future very uncertain.

  11. Oh what a shame, when we bought our house the survey showed that one of the down pipes was asbestos, fortunately that proved easy to dispose of, but a whole roof? Looks like that gorgeous property will remain empty for quite some time. How sad as from your photos it looks like it has so much potential and I have no doubt you would have made it beautiful.

  12. hello my friends,

    Don't worry, Wen,I had bought my house. I had a fifty houses visited. With many disappointments like yours. But on a day when you did not expect ...

    I wish you courage in your house hunt

  13. Ann at the Doll House:
    We too find it somewhat strange that any purchaser of an historic building may find him or herself having to contribute to other projects within the vicinity. And that is something which for every reason we cannot undertake.

    What will now become of the house is anyone's guess.

  14. its propably for the best. your apartment seem such a lovely lovely place! you have done a marvelous work there... enjoy it : ) - don`t misunderstand me here. its always alright to dream a bit, i doesn`t cost a thing ; )

  15. SP:
    We have run, and are continuing to do so. Yes, we may have left something of our hearts behind but at least we have our wallet intact!

    Yes, we have heard of these conditions, such as you describe, which date back for hundreds of years to a time when people paid such tithes. Alarming.

  16. Oh the dreaded asbestos, one of my friends was half way through a property conversion and discovered exactly this, it has been a disaster and he is now having to let the property go as it has taken everything from his budget.
    Caveat emptor indeed, wallet and lungs intact!

    Foo dogs - terrifyingly ugly!

  17. How sad for you. A dream shattered. But I'm sure another adventure awaits.

  18. Please add my disappointment to the pile.

    Not only have you lost the kastely, but the opportunity to have a school or hospital named after you.

  19. I'm sorry to hear this, but you probably find something even better soon!

  20. So the poor old dear is terminally ill? Such a shame. Asbestos rears its ugly head so often, thwarting the most ambitious plans, and forcing the demolition of some breathtakingly beautiful features.
    That the decision to end your grand restoration dream was essentially made for you, does this make you feel relieved, disappointed, or a mixture of emotions?
    I'm impressed with the sensitive renovation of your current abode, the morning light must have flooded in and really brought the space to life, once the dark wood was whitened.

  21. Dash:
    Yes, it is the scale of the asbestos problem which we find too daunting to undertake. A whole roof with all that this would entail is a step too far for us.

    And now we wonder if anyone will have the means or the will to save the Kastély.

  22. Maison de lin:
    You are right. In looking for our Budapest apartment we looked at many, many properties and then, when not looking, found what we wanted.

    At least if we do see another property we shall be more aware of what to look out for and what to avoid!

  23. Demie:
    You are absolutely right. This whole business has made us very appreciative of what we have already achieved and how lucky we are to have such a wonderful, centrally located, fully functioning home.

  24. Simply kick-starting the local economy would have been plain sailing; not really worth a moment's thought, as you say; however, too bad about the asbestos. A whole roof and who-knows-what-else of asbestos to remove and replace, perhaps that would have been an undertaking too far.

    I suggest you look for a disused goulash factory to restore.

  25. Bourbon and Pearls:
    Yes, just the very thought of asbestos terrified us. Not only would the disposal costs be ruinous but the environmental impact to the house and its surrounding land is horrifying. And, the Hungarian countryside has many houses with asbestos roofs!

  26. P.M.Doolan:
    We have indeed have had many dreams shattered in the past and yet, you are so right, another adventure is usually just around the corner!

  27. Thank goodness you found out. I hope you will go on to find somewhere that you love even more. xx

  28. Ben:
    You are right. We have passed up, almost on a whim, the opportunity to be immortalised for all time [a little tautology here for emphasis] and to be remembered, with gratitude, we should hope, in the annals of Hungarian education or medicine. Such a pity.

    Thank you though for your commiserations. And, by the way, we were not all concerned about the colourful language.

  29. La Sombra Sofisticada:
    Indeed. But most likely we should be well advised to stop looking!

    We are so taken with your very apt description of the kastély as being 'terminally ill' which, on reflection, we imagine that it most likely is.

    A mixture of emotions but, in sensible moments, of which we have very few, then we should say it is perhaps a relief.

  31. Friko:
    Your very witty, and clever, comment has amused us greatly. And laughter is in short supply here this Monday on what is, after all, a holiday in preparation for tomorrow's Dead Day!

    Now, could we possibly find a goulash factory.....!!

  32. A bitter blow. Oh well, back to the house hunting then.

  33. Belinda @ Wild Acre:
    Yes, thank you, we are somewhat relieved not to have rushed ahead without taking professional advice as, in the first instance, we were tempted to do.

  34. Oh dear. Yes, I can quite see how that might be biting off more than you could chew. But in the process I am very pleased to see the before and after of your Budapest apartment. Perhaps you could nip up to Northumberland and help me redecorate the lodge where we're staying?

  35. Tom Stephenson:
    Yes, of course, we are disappointed but, at the end of the day, it is only bricks and mortar and one does have to be, as we are certain you know, philosophical about such things.

  36. columnist:
    What fun it would be to redecorate that very attractive lodge and, having read the post, it is such a pity that is is unsympathetically treated. It is deserving of better!

    As for the kastély, we think that most likely we have been spared.

  37. Ahhh I am so disappointed for you but one must be sensible when it comes to dangerous substances.

    It is so sad that this lonely manor house shall fall to ruin because of the costs of removing the asbestos.

    On the other hand, the renovation of your Budapest home is superb. Well done you.

  38. Dear Jane & Lance - there is a serious lesson here for those Brits who buy abroad, and let their heart rule their head. Sensibly you took the latter approach, and thank goodness.

  39. I checked twice about 7 hours ago and nothing new on Le Castle de Hattatt. Must say, asbestos did not occur to me. Ah well, onward and upward for you both after a momentary diversion. As had been earlier remarked, you haven't done half bad already.

  40. Our 50-year-old high school is full of asbestos, so every time any work has to be done, specialists have to be brought in, adding thousands of pounds to any job. And it's just "dead" money, not bringing about any actual improvement.
    I'm very sorry to read the disappointing news, but maybe the fact that it's such a definite obstacle is a small relief - you don't have to evaluate all the pros and cons any longer but have extricated yourself from the situation at once. Poor kastély, I wonder what its fate will be.

  41. Joanna:
    If our architect is to be believed, and we trust her implicitly, then even the Rothschild family might balk at this. We have, in all probability, been saved from ourselves.

    Its future is, we imagine, anybody's guess.

  42. A shame for the kastely -- but one doesn't mess with asbestos. I'm sure you'll find another "sleeping beauty" which tugs at the heart strings and doesn't bankrupt the wallet.
    Compliments on your wonderful restoration of the Budapest apartment!!

  43. Rosemary:
    You are absolutely right. At the time of buying our Budapest apartment we felt that we were taking some risks, but we were fairly certain that the outcome would be achievable. And we were not required to renew the road and put down pavements!!

  44. Andrew:
    We love your expression 'Le Castle de Hattatt' and shall now, to diminish our disappointment, consider our apartment as 'L'Apartment de Hattatt' and may even get a sign made to that effect to advertise it to the world!!

  45. Z:
    The situation at your high school where, we imagine, you are Chair of Governors, sounds horrific and, as you say, requires huge sums of 'dead' money every time some major work needs to be undertaken. What a responsibility.

    It is actually a relief to have begun this week without having to consider the kastély having now, finally, laid it to rest.

  46. Hello Jane and Lance,

    In The Fall of the House of Usher, a giant foundation crack symbolized both the problems in the physical house and in the Usher family. Too bad Poe didn’t know about asbestos tiles, leaded paint, and radon gas. He would have come up with a real horror story that would also have explained all the other tribulations visited upon the Ushers.

    Do I detect a small amount of secret relief? The humor in this post seems more effervescent than sardonic. Moreover, there seemed to be some previous distress signals beyond the usual amount of old-house trepidation.

    Since you posted this on Halloween, I might be permitted to add that your grand and restored apartment reminds me of the one in Rosemary’s Baby, both before and after.
    --Road to Parnassus

  47. Niall and Antoinette:
    For the moment we have had enough of country houses and are now trying to convince ourselves that they only represent ruinous expenditure. We shall take stock for a while.

  48. Parnassus:
    What total innocents we are! Radon gas and leaded paint would be bound to come out of the woodwork the moment we exchanged contracts, along with all other kinds of horror previously overlooked by ourselves or, if pointed out, lost in a shaky translation.

    Yes, disappointment is tinged with relief but who knows yet what the future will hold. But next time round, may we call upon you to come with us to apply your House of Usher and Rosemary's Baby knowledge at appropriate moments?

  49. Oh poo! The search, therefore, must continue, don't let this be the hill you will die on - your dream place is just a corner away!
    I love the look of your apartment and the work you have carried out there. You are obviously up to many challenges.

  50. Your apartment is so fabulous what a shame the Hattat magic will never be worked on the poor old house.

    Better to cry now though, tears fall harder when your pockets are empty.

  51. Well, the decisions that are already taken for us are the easiest to make, aren't they?

  52. Good morning Jane and Lance
    We had a very small amount of asbestos to remove when we purchased our house. But dealing with a whole roof is of course out of the question. You have made the best decision to walk away. However, having seen the pictures of the restoration you carried out in Budapest, perhaps you should reconsider moving. You have turned a dark space into an absolutely beautiful apartment.... I love it!

  53. I'm reluctant to let you let this kastely go! I had you in it long since, camping in uncomfortable splendour in its panelled halls and wrestling with its recalcitrant trumpeting geysers. Oh, feet of clay Hattats! To be diverted by a little thing like asbestosis. Why I had already imagined myself an unnoticed lodger in some remote garret - a bit like an overgrown Borrower, living an improvised life based on your carelessly abandoned property and food.
    Aren't there different sorts of asbestos, some more lethal than others?
    You see, I'm not letting you off without some resistance.
    Love Alec xx

  54. And as news of your very wise withdrawal filters round the Internet, a village somewhere sighs and wonders how it will fare during yet another gas-less winter. Should we put on a little cake-sale for them, any excess if the buns sell well to go toward building a a ring road?

    I commend your courage in investigation and your pragmatism in retreat.

  55. I knew this would be the way after I read your response to my last comment. Your nerves were speaking, and the architect confirmed that this adventure was not to be.

    It means nothing more, my dear Jane and Lance, when one moves away from a door, indeed an entire house, that one feels, in some profound space, that this is not 'the way,' except that one has listened to that ever-knowing space within-- the sentinel which guards the gates of decion allowing only what is right to pass.

    I've a complete peace about what you've reported here and am genuinely in love with the photographs of the Budapest apartment-- and all they speak of your true nature.

    We look at those things before us, we survey their breadth and depth, and then we ask ourselves if we are meet to the entire scope of the proposition. When we are not, the only wisdom is knowing so and acting upon it. Therein lies the balance of both perfect adventure and perfect self-possession.

    I love you.


  56. Oh Fearless Ones, You Who Do Not Fear to Go Where Angels Fear to Tread, you must be so relieved not to have been caught out and wise enough to have been so cautious... One cannot help but feel how tragic that this dear grand old house must be left -- it's quite personal, do you not think?

    Commiserations and congratulations are the order of the day...

  57. That darn asbestos. It does represent untold problems, which you've now been spared.

    Back to the drawing board. I can see by your before and after images you are not in unknown territory. Surely, the perfect place is just up the road.

  58. YONKS:
    Who can tell what lies around the corner? We shall, most certainly, learn from this experience but think that we shall continue to keep an eye out for abandoned castles which we now realise are littered across the Hungarian countryside!

  59. Magic and Drudgery:
    How wise your words sound. 'Tears fall harder when pockets are empty', we shall certainly adopt this phrase as our own when we embark on the inevitable new search for the Hattatt Kastély!!

  60. Pet:
    Yes, you are so right. Relief, certainly but also a little part of our hearts will never be quite the same again.

  61. My Spotty Pony:
    How kind you are about our Budapest apartment. You have been terribly brave in tackling asbestos yourself but, yes, it is the scale of the asbestos here that seems overwhelming.

    One has to recognise the time to walk away, whilst one still can!

  62. Alec Lindsay:
    Dearest Alec, an unnoticed lodger, now that would never do! An invited guest, so much better and how we could enjoy tales of 'camping [something we have never done]with uncomfortable splendour and wrestling with geysers'!!

    We are sad to be such a disappointment to you. Feet of clay, most certainly, but at least they are warm and dry! On to the next adventure, say we,now when are you coming to stay?

  63. oh, jane and lance, i hope you are flooded with relief to discover this before you were involved in the process, rather than heartbroken that your kastely is no longer possible for you. what a wonderful adventure you have shared with us the past couple of weeks. in our small projects that we do, asbestos can be a deal-breaker. and in the quantities that you are talking about and with the bureacracy as well....i'm so glad you had all the facts.
    i hope you keep looking. i imagine you behind ivy covered walls now.

  64. Mise:
    A gas-less winter is something we, along with everyone in the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Slovakia and doubtless several other unspellable places in the East contemplate every year. Mr Putin seems to enjoy cutting us all off whenever he chooses. So, how disappointing it would have been to ensure that everyone was connected only to have the supply stopped at source!

    But, do not forget about the idea of a cake sale and/or a white elephant stall since, surely our next money burning adventure is just a heartbeat away!

  65. Dearest Lance and Jane

    Sorry for your disappointment and loss of sleep (we could hear the two of you walking the floors of your Budapest apartment at the bewitching hour of 4 am).

    On a positive note, your Budapest apartment is beautiful and sometimes we need reminding of the beauty we already possess.

    Happy searching and remember Pretty Far West (Mise) deep, deep down would prefer if your search included Ireland, she will also include free classes in Gaelic, Vol 2, as we know you already speak the basics of the language.
    Dia is Mhuire Duit


  66. There are some things up with which Helen shall not put! Endangering your health for a house is one of these (endangering one's health for fashion or fun, might be another matter, of course).

    Your perfect place is out there waiting. Ps - maybe it's Halloween or cold meds talking here but this place looks a bit haunted - are you checking for spookies along with asbestos?

  67. Suze:
    Dearest fairy goddaughter, how your words have touched us! We really feel your love and concern for us and know in our heart of hearts that to withdraw was the only decision possible. To have gone on would have been entirely foolhardy, if not dangerous, and, without the support of others close at hand, we have to be sure that we can manage whatever through our own endeavours and energies. In this case, the task was beyond us, but who knows what the future may hold?

    You are always so perceptive in reading what we write with such an uncanny sixth sense. Your counsel is so very, very welcome and your love valued so very, very much.

  68. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I have been reading with intense interest to you current line of posting and found that any comment I could possibly make had pretty much been said by others and wishing to always be original in my thoughts have remained still, this is till now. My dear Jane and Lance, thus far, you story has rendered impressions reminiscent “To The Manor Born”. And as I read I knew that the happy ending was in the offing. But alas with this last post I fret that the ending I had expected will not come to pass. How sad that the jewel that would have been “Hattatt Kastely” has been side tracked if not totally derailed. Yes, I am an optimist and I am still hoping for a twist in the plot line of this story that still will get our Lord and Lady into the manor that so sorely cry’s for there expert hands at renovation.

    We are all aware that enough grease applied to the right palm and anything can be brought to fruition but I fear the Saudi’s do not poses enough crude in this particular case. Nor would you wish to lubricate the wheels of bureaucracy to the amount it would require. For now the battle cry must be, “Save The Piggy, Save The Piggy”. - gary

  69. The Broad:
    It is true that we feel relief now that the decision to withdraw has been made,but it is a tragedy too. The Kastély is so very pretty and there are so many wonderful buildings simply rotting away as there just are not the investors to rescue them. We really felt that we could have saved this one, but the task was too great. We cannot see that anything positive will become of this house and are now also concerned at the scale of the problems with asbestos throughout Hungary.

  70. Chasing lightning bugs:
    We are feeling a strange mixture of emotions, that is for sure. Relief, yes, but also a heaviness of heart that we could not meet this particular challenge which we had thought could be within our reach.

    Yes, we pictured ourselves behind the creeper clad walls too!

  71. Teresa Evangeline:
    The problems of asbestos are indeed truly terrifying. The material was used widely throughout Hungary for its capacity to withstand the extremes of heat and cold that are so common here.

    Thank you for the compliments about our apartment. We learned a lot in that renovation project which lasted 6 months, so we may yet find another challenge to capture our imaginations.

  72. Oh dear, what a shame! Reminds me of that old Tom Hanks movie, The Money Pit! Ah well, onwards and upwards. I am very much enjoying vicariously house-hunting through your blog, so do keep us updated on any new potential Dream Homes!

  73. Dear Jane and Lance, I am so sorry that your dreams have been dashed and I am so sorry for such a lovely house that will not now receive all the love and attention that you would have given it. You are of course absolutely right to leave well alone.

    I do feel sure however that you will find something else, perhpaps even something better. I loved the fighting talk in your post, and I am sure that that determination and resolve can be put to good use (apart from keeping all of us amused and entertained that is!)Onwards and upwards.

    Thankyou so much for your most welcome and lovely comments on my blog. Do they not farm sheep in Hungary, or do they not have a taste for Lamb?

    I hope you are not too disappointed? Much love to you both, Linda x

  74. Oh dear Jane and Lance,
    Asbestos is the biggest swear word in the renovation game and one that would make me pick up my skirts and run !! A bit of damp and subsidence....fine....but Asbestos is really a no no, as I know that it costs a kings ransom to dispose of.
    What a shame but, will you be on the look out for a similar property? I'm sure that there must be others without the dreaded 'A' word ! XXXX

  75. Helen Tilston:
    Oh, dearest Helen, how we have talked long into the might and the early hours over this house. We cannot think that any other has taken up quite so much of our time. And now it is not to be. Well,perhaps we are destined for Ireland after all....!!

    Thank you for your kind words about our Budapest apartment. We found it rather therapeutic to dig out our few photographs that we have of the apartment before renovation. It does, as you say, make one realise the beauty that surrounds us every day and to be grateful for it!

  76. DearHelenHartman:
    We like to think that it is just your very vivid imagination which is talking about the 'spooks'.Until only recently the Kastély was home to five families so at least they did not seem to be too concerned about what went bump in the night, other than the old boilers,perhaps!

    But, strange to say, we did get 'spooked' about the idea of sleeping under a sea of asbestos!!!

  77. Do you think I can work a little deal with the Hungarian government and they can add a new roof for my house and a second floor remodel on the purchase price of a house?

    any old house?

    xo Janr

  78. Gary:
    How delighted we are that you have been keeping up with things and we have appreciated this very touching comment very much. Alas, Gary, there is to be no twist in the plot. Or rather, if there should be any subsequent twists and we can well believe that there may well be some, they will not be of our making or our concern. The task is too enormous and the resources needed too vast.

    As for finding some tame Arab sheikh with sufficient funds to donate to our good cause, well, this might be the stuff of fairy tales but we cannot see it happening in reality. Sadly, we have to say, that this party is over!!

  79. I come to your blog from Sonya at Counting My Blessings blog. We met through our blogs & ended up living a few short blocks from one another. She is so sweet & speaks highly of you & when I saw your comment today on her post, I had to stop by & meet you! Your apt renovation is beautiful. So sorry to hear of the asbestos in the other home. Best of luck finding an even better place to enjoy! I love all the pictures of your area. I am a new follower now.

  80. Eleni:
    Well, 'Money Pit' is certainly a very close translation for the words that our architect used. Indeed, even hazarding a guess at the overall costs was a problem!!

    For today, we have little appetite for searching out new castles, but who knows about tomorrow?!!

  81. Flowers on my table:
    Well, dear Linda, better to have our dreams dashed than be in a completely hopeless state over it all. Certainly, the worry we can well live without!

    Sheep are farmed in Hungary but in no where near the numbers as in the UK. Pork is the meat of first choice for Hungarians, followed by beef. Lamb is rarely to be seen on a restaurant menu and is not always available at the butchers. And, when it is available, it is usually expensive.

  82. Jacqueline@HOME:
    We find it strangely reassuring that you too, Jackie, are put off by the asbestos. We regard you as a role model of fearlessness when it comes to renovating and for you to write this comment we find confirms our own thoughts hugely.

    Well, we were not on the look out for another house when we fell across the Kastély, so we are of the mind that if a new house is to be, it will present itself to us, possibly when and where we least expect it!

  83. Flwrjane:
    Your comment really made us smile! We rather think that the Hungarian government might have its hands full at the moment. The fourth Metro line is still incomplete due to fraud, the executives of the public transport system are nearly all imprisoned,the previous Prime Minister is in court most days and the EU bailout loan [more low profile than that given to Greece]seems sure not to be repaid. However, if you should like the matter of your roof to be put to them, we shall seek an audience!!

  84. Blessings from Cindy:
    We are thrilled to see that you have signed up as our latest Follower and shall be looking in on you soon.

    We do so enjoy Sonya's blog and how curious that you should be neighbours!

    Thank you for your kind comment about the renovation of our apartment. Losing the Kastély has indeed made us appreciate even more what we already have. No bad thing.

  85. Sorry to hear that news about the asbestos. But I am glad you found out about it beforehand.

    At my last job there were buildings over 50 years old with asbestos. Any maintenance that would disturb the stuff required an abatement team to come out to deal with it first. Always a scary, time-consuming, and expensive ordeal.

  86. Oh I am sorry .. We too have come across this sort of thing in our own househunts, both here and in the United States.
    I still remember fondly the first house we wanted to buy .. every single room had something terrible wrong with it .. but I wanted it anyway :)
    But as luck and fate would have it, we bought something else that we loved even more and after that , well, a few years later, we found ourselves shopping and buying a beautiful old apartment in Buenos Aires.
    It all works out for a reason, is my thought ~
    besitos, C

  87. Von LX:
    We have little knowledge of dealing with asbestos, but what you write concurs exactly with what our architect has said. This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back since, as you say, once disturbed, dealing with the roof material alone would be a task of gigantic proportions, not to say expense!

  88. aBroad:
    Yes, Candice, your philosophy is one we very much identify with. What will be, will be, and we have no doubt that if another house has our name on it, it will present itself somehow!

    And, how wonderful it is that you now have such a beautiful home in Buenos Aires.

  89. Dear Lance & Jane, the renovations in your apartment are amazing to see. I am so sorry that this castle has such a huge dilemma. You do not want to mess around with asbestos. No no no. I am glad you had all the facts you needed before your final decision. xo

  90. Dear Lance and Jane,

    As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz said, "There is no place like home, there is no place like home." Your apartment is exquisite and says so much about you both. It is elegant, sophisticated and very comfortable looking. Kastely, with all its romance and charm, is definitely a money pit that could forever be a source of great angst, even without the dreaded asbestos.

    The Death Watch beetle alone would have had me running for the hills.

  91. To begin with your apartment is beautiful with so many wonderful architectual elements that we can only dream about.

    I am disapointed that we won't be taking the trip with you restoring the house, because I know it would have been astounting. With luck you will find the right property soon. Asbestos...who would have thought!

  92. BarbaraF:
    Thank you, Barbara for your kind words about our Budapest apartment. This whole event has certainly made us appreciate what we have already achieved.

    Asbestos, the very thought terrified us and, knowing that the entire roof was covered in it, brought home the fact that this house could not be ours like nothing else could.

  93. Starting Over, Accepting Changes:
    We recognise that we already own a most beautiful place in which to live and are extremely grateful for that. The Kastély was a beguilingly pretty challenge and we have always pursued property adventures. But, you are right, this would have been much more of a nightmare than a dream come true.

  94. La Vie Quotidienne:
    It is so interesting, Adrienne, that you mention here the architectural elements in our apartment. It was, we have to say, quite a disappointment that the Kastély's interior did not match up to this in any way. The exterior, of course, compensated hugely.

    Thank you so much for your kind comment. And, who knows where the next adventure may be found?

  95. NNNOOOOOOOOO! Phooey! Of all things!
    I can only say I'm glad you did your homework. Are you peeking at the real estate pages again, Jane and Lance, or have you decided to stay snug as a bug in a rug?

  96. Gardener in the Distance:
    Well, Faisal, we really must give ourselves time to recover from all this excitement. But then, well never say never that is our motto!

  97. Darn that asbestos! And here I thought I'd drop in for a visit next time I was in the vicinity!

    Your restoration of the Budapest apartment is wonderful!

  98. Oh I so loved the before and after shots. Triumph.

    Oh what a poop and a piddle in the dream that all that nasty stuff is up in the roof and thus this avenue of the hunt falls flat into disappointment. Of course, on top of all that is the very real notion that there would have been other horrors to find, which would have doubled restoration costs further.

    Better out than in as my granny used to say, but I'm sure that was to do with wind and not buying houses!

    Another search?

  99. All the more reason to pop to Old Blighty every so often, to get your Lamb fix, as well as other things no doubt! Thankyou for keeping me informed of the farming situation in Hungary, it is most interesting.

    In my hast last visit, I neglected to say, how beautiful your apartment is. I love, love, love the table in your hall. You did a glorious restoration job, keeping the old character and atmosphere, yet adding your own style and personality. It is a fitting tribute to your talents and good taste. I am sure there are many more such places in Hungary needing your expertise! I am not coming back again....honest. Love Linda x

  100. Rose:
    Thank you for your kind words. Yes,asbestos, a horror!

  101. Oh so sad for Kastely. And for you. But would have been even sadder if you would have purchased this manor and face the unknown cost of asbestos. You've made the right decision and unfortunately decisions are always happy ones.
    I'm sure there will be something else that comes along that you will love even more and not quite so daunting.

  102. Jason Shaw:
    Thank you for the compliment. This whole process had us searching out the 'before' photographs to remind ourselves about what a big undertaking our present apartment had been. We needed to convince ourselves that we had not entirely lost our nerve for adventure!

    Yes, disappointment but also relief we have to say. Will there be another......we shall see!!

  103. Flowers on my table [again]:
    How wonderful that you have returned, Linda, we love our conversations!

    Lamb, yes, we do try to eat it when in the UK but we were seduced on our last visit by Venison. Perhaps next time and with lashings of mint sauce!

    You are so very kind, dear Linda, about our apartment. We do hope that we have achieved what you say here, a home that is elegant but also warm, welcoming and comfortable. The table used to sit under the Tower in our Herefordshire garden and has seen many a good party in its day!

  104. Sonya:
    We think that you are absolutely right. Teardrops today but buckets of tears in the future we could say with a high degree of certainty. Best now to look forward and not back.

    Decisions are, as you say, not always easy to live with, but we do believe that it is better to decide than just dither.

  105. What a terrible shame. But asbestos is too high a price to pay, both financially and with the risk to your health.
    My uncle died 4 years ago from asbestosis contracted from having worked in demolition in London during the 1960s & 70s.
    It seems that that lovely building may now never be saved. I am a believer in fate though and am sure you will find the right house in time.
    However, how wonderful your apartment looks - can we see more pictures please?

  106. Dear Jane and Lance,

    Oh no! I was so excited for you after reading your last email.

    But ... onwards and upwards. I'm sure you will find somewhere just as beautiful, if not more so!

    Thank heavens you found out in time.


  107. What a great shame - I am so sorry. I hope you will find a viable project soon. The work you've done on your apartment is wonderful - just beautiful.

  108. topchelseagirl:
    How dreadful to hear about your uncle which certainly underlines how dangerous a substance asbestos really is. We do rather feel that we have had a fortunate escape, certainly financially as the cost of removing the roof safely is exceedingly high.

    How kind of you to comment on the apartment. Occasionally, as in previous posts, 'In Praise of Dining Rooms' and 'Making a Splash', it does feature. But we should not wish to bore everyone silly!!

  109. Cottage Garden:
    One does in these situations, as you so rightly and wisely point out, Jeanne, have to be fairly philosophical and we really felt that we could not when it came to it go ahead with something which might so very easily escalate out of control.

  110. Mrs. Exeter:
    We were, of course, very disappointed when we learnt the true state of the house but now, having had time to consider it all, somewhat relieved that we were not caught in something of a trap.

    Thank you so much for your very kind and generous comment about the apartment.

  111. Ah, well then, all the more money to be used for adventures to not so far away countries where you will be regaled with fine food and wine!

    I share what must have been deep disappointment but also your relief. Yes, such large amounts of asbestos make it absolutely too, too much to even consider. And so she will be a haunted castle after all. I know that you will find something that is perfect for you both. Good karma demands it. Hopefully, you will both sleep well tonight without the worries of what ifs.

    I thought it especially perfect that you gave us the fine gift of seeing your before and after photos while letting us down gently. Your apartment is as beautiful as I knew it would be.

    Bisous from Arles,

  112. Lost in Provence:
    Dear Heather, we can think of nothing nicer at the moment than to be if not exactly 'lost' in Provence, then to be with you and Remi in celebration of an escape from financial ruin and a lifetime of worry. And that day will most certainly arrive if not before we have tempted the two of you to the Motherland where the spare room is always simply waiting.

    And, yes, tonight we shall sleep more soundly.

  113. Oh, your heart has been dealt a severe blow of reality which is always hard to accept....although that removal cost of the asbestos will definitely soften the pain of parting with a new love! Sorry!

  114. The Shade Shop:
    Alas, a short lived romance the ending of which it has been hard to accept. But, deep down, we are not a little relieved and it is quite fun now to be thinking of doing something different. As yet, we have no foolish plans!!

  115. Oh dear Jane and Lance!

    I am sorry for this. But you have a wonderful attitude, and this just means that another "door" may be opened elsewhere! I do hope, though, someone will take on this dreamy place, and clean it up. It deserves it so.

    You apartment is gorgeous!!
    It reminds me of a friend's home I visited in Komarno, Slovakia. Very similar interiors. Just enchanting!

    Thinking of you, and I also wanted to let you know, I have given your blog an award here:

    I wanted to highlight your very special blog, but please do not feel obligated to pass on the award..:)

    A beautiful week to you, dear Jane and Lance!
    - Irina

  116. What a let down to find such a deadly substance over a large area of the property. At least you know about it so can make an informed decision.

    I love the before and after pics of the apartment, which just goes to show what is possible.

    I'm sure there are so many other properties where your skills can be employed. You just need to find them .....

  117. Asbestos doesn't sound good, but at least you're also preserving a historic piece of art when you restore a historic building:)

  118. Palomasea:
    Yes, the Kastély does deserve a clean up but although many have looked over the past two years,no offers have been forthcoming. One cannot help but feel that all is just about lost.

    Thank you for your kind comments about our apartment. We have only a fleeting knowledge of Slovakia but would anticipate the architecture of the buildings to be somewhat similar.

    We are so thrilled to think that you have made an award to us and shall look up the website you give here.

  119. Gaynor B:
    Yes, let down with rather a big bump, similar to the first day of term after a holiday for you, Gaynor, after having such a lovely time in France!

    Thank you for your generous comments about our apartment. It cheered us up to look at the pictures and, as you say, to remind ourselves of what is possible given a fair wind!!

  120. Mark Noce:
    Yes, the preservation of an historic building is in every way the same as keeping a work of art in good condition for generations to come. Sadly, on this occasion, the task is beyond our means.

  121. Dear Jane and Lance - If you are disappointed, then I share that disappointment (because you certainly would have years of wonderful blog postings for us all, and it would have been fun to watch you rebuild your world).

    But I am glad that the reason for not buying the Kastély is so definitive. And my belief in such situations has always been that it's not meant to be and something better will come along. No regrets.

  122. Such bad news but so happy you found out about it before all the papers were signed.

    cheers, parsnip

  123. Lovely work on the apartment reno. It's so fortunate you learned about the issue before buying. I'm always amazed that some people don't complete due diligence and end up with a money pit. An ounce of prevention...

    Thank you for sharing.

  124. Mark D. Ruffner:
    How right you are about the years if not decades of blog posts that the Kastély would have provided. But, we doubt that we should have been able to afford the internet connection by the end of it all!

    Yes, we share your philosophy about things that are not meant to be and we have always been able to 'let go' and move on. This we shall do!

  125. Angryparsnip:
    Indeed. So much better to have found out at this stage that an impossible [for us] hurdle would not be able to be overcome.

  126. Xoxo:
    Thank you for your kind words about our apartment renovations.

    You are absolutely right about due diligence. It is so easy to be seduced into something that turns out to be a nightmare rather than a dream come true!

  127. The Breakfast Lover:
    Thank you. We do hope that we shall see you again soon!

  128. Dear Jane and Lance
    So sorry to read that it is a no-go! It must be a huge disappointment but one cannot circumvent such a big problem as asbestos.
    Hopefully something else will come along soon...

  129. Nat:
    You are absolutely right. Some problems just seem insurmountable and, for us, asbestos was the straw that broke the camel's back. Thank you for your kind words. Onwards and upwards say we!

  130. I haven't read all the previous comments - which is what I also enjoy doing usually - so I don't know if anyone else thinks the same as me, which is that in a positive way, I am glad if the survey was going to show up problems that would make deciding difficult, then at least this is so unacceptably bad that the decision was really made for you.


  131. Annie:
    Dear Annie, yes, the decision was in many ways made for us and that did make the whole process of 'letting go' easier to bear. It does, however, sadden us to think that perhaps this little treasure of a house cannot be saved without a huge injection of resources that are well beyond the limits of ordinary people. And, as a result, may never see its glory days again.

  132. It's unbelievable how many different things you need to know to be able to renovate a building or an apartment. Any of your decisions will certainly be made with reason. I hope your enthusiasm will help you out of this situation.

  133. Olga:
    We are afraid to say that, even with the best will in the world, no amount of enthusiasm can make good this situation. Our minds are resolved that the Kastély cannot be ours.

    We always knew that we could draw upon a team of very skilled people whose services we have used before but we are totally terrified by the prospect of the asbestos and so, sadly, we must withdraw.

  134. Jane, Lance,

    At the risk of being rather bland, I work in Property Management and as you are now aware, you have had a fortunate escape indeed. Well done that Surveyor!

    The horrible truth is that Asbestos is all around in many buildings that were built (in the UK at any rate) prior to the 1990s. In many of them, it can be managed however and it is exceptionally fireproof.

    My Dad tells tales of Bricklayers chucking the stuff around like snowballs on some building sites in the 1970s. Horrifying!

  135. Oh yes you're wise to stay well clear of that one!
    I've had to have a tiny bit of asbestos removed from an old house and it was not pretty. The entire roof? It's really too bad for the house!
    Of course it's nice to know that you are cozy in your gorgeous Budapest apartment, which I find so beautiful.

  136. Now I come to think of it the Kastély did have an air of "The Old Hackett Place". How sad,

  137. Better to learn all this now rather than later. But I know how it is to get attached to a place only to have to pass on it. Once we were going to buy a house and then learned that the entire town considered it 'haunted'. We got 'spooked' and passed on it, only to find our dream house a short while later. Ever since I've always believed that if a house falls through, it's for good reason, and there's a better one around the corner...good luck!

  138. Yikes - agree with you both, asbestos is nasty stuff. Funny how one can look at that beautiful building so differently when one knows what lurks beneath! Drats, and what a shame but I am sure your kindness will be placed on another home soon. Annie x.

    PS - I absolutely LOVE the picture of the front hall of your apartment. It is perfect x.

  139. What a beautiful job, you guys!!! I think it is amusing that they still think those of us in the west have bottomless pockets... boy are they wrong. We are equilibrating slowly but surely. I owned a money pit for nearly 20 years... loved it... but boy... a part of me is grateful not to get those phone calls " the roof just.... the ancient willow just..." well, you get the idea.

  140. I am sorry to hear that! It must mean that your predestined house is still out there, best of luck.


    p.s. I love the design of your Budapest apartment. I love how open and inviting it looks.

  141. Ah, too bad! But I must quickly say: from what you show of the restoration of your apartment, it's so stunning I'd think it hard to leave!

  142. Jane and Lance...

    Oh, I am so sorry! Asbestos is one of those materials best left alone when possible. I loved looking at the before and after photos of your Budapest apartment. They are a testament to your ability to see beyond the cosmetic. Bonnie

  143. So sorry this place didn't work out, it looked lovely but the asbestos is not. Definitely too risky and very expensive to renovate, good for you for having it checked out before you committed to it!

  144. "a hole in the ground into which you pour money --" always true, sometimes more stinging than others. I still think of the classic Roman-style house built by a Classics professor in northern New Jersey, atrium, little brook, kitchen in a separate building, marble floors, overflowing with charm. Upon sober reflection, completely unlivable (inter alia, the little brook was a tributary of a larger underground stream which was under the domus and there was no way to connect the kitchen to the main house). We were not, after all, surprised to learn that the house was for sale due to divorce... Sometimes you can just see trouble coming, and this time it sounds like its name was Kastely. Communism has a lot to answer for.

  145. Many thanks to you for visiting, and your blog is such a treasure! As are both of you:)

    Warmest Regards,
    - Irina

  146. Almost every part of the house could be nicely restored and renovated like your Budapest apartment. However, asbestos, which causes serious lung disease in a long run, is no-no. With that fatal demerit, your decision could come up easier, though I understand your disappointment.

    I understand that the word "last home" sounded misleading and ominous in my comment to your last post. I meant that all these restoration works and moving would require tremendously lots of energy, so I hoped the next house could be the last one where you could relax yourselves in the rest of your life which will of course last long.

  147. Oh, I'm so very sorry to hear this Jane & Lance...but you did give this ancient beauty another shot at life, and that is to be greatly commended! Poor old girl, what will become of her with such a serious toxic mess upon her head?
    Now, about your apartment...the two halls are absolutely beautiful, you've done such a lovely job in restoring them. I'm sure they are even better than when they were new...thank you for showing them, my breath was taken away!
    I hope one day you will find the manor of your would be a very fortunate manor indeed, to be in your care!
    xo J~

  148. life is the art of the possible...

  149. Oh bugger, as we say in the antipodes. Very sensible of you to avoid the asbestos though. Love what you've done with the apartment and look forward to the next possibility which I'm sure will find its way to you soon. Hope so anyway.

  150. Genius Loci:
    Far from finding your comment bland, Ben, it makes very good sense. We actually do think that we have got off lightly as the expense of a replacement roof would have placed the entire project well over budget. Added to that, unless one is very careful, there is often a 'different' price where foreigners are involved.

  151. DaniBP:
    Almost daily are we discovering more horror stories where asbestos is concerned and so, as you will imagine, it is something of a relief to have escaped relatively unscathed.

    Thank you for your kind words about our Budapest apartment.

  152. Annie:
    It is all a little sad and we do, of course, wonder what will happen to this particular house. Unfortunately there are so many similar properties in Hungary in much the same state.

  153. 'Twas not meant to be..........

    Dammit! (Picture a bottom lip pout - I really would have liked to have seen that little room converted into a game larder).

  154. Sue/the view from great island:
    Like you, we should most likely have avoided a house said to be haunted even if sceptical of this. And, as you say, if something is not meant to be, then something else will take its place in the goodness of time.

  155. Annie Loveridge Interiors:
    It is, as you say, strange how one views the whole house in a completely different light when one is aware of the major problems. It certainly helps to let go.

    We are so pleased that you approve of the Front Hall of the apartment. In time we hope to add lemon trees in large, terracotta pots.

  156. lostpastremembered:
    You very obviously, having had the experience, know exactly what it is like to keep and maintain an old property. Not always so much fun when one's hand is permanently diving into one's pocket.

    It is still very much part of the culture here that foreigners from the West have unlimited means. Sadly this is seldom the case.

  157. Elizabeth Gilmore:
    Yes, it really does seem to be a case of what will be will be and, even more so, what is meant to be will be.

    For the moment we are content to go on as we are with our Budapest and Brighton homes. Thank you so much for the kind words about our apartment here.

  158. Susan Scheid:
    You are most kind and we know that we should be very reluctant to leave our Budapest apartment, particularly after what is now a considerable number of years.

    But can we not have a house in the country as well?!!!

  159. Bonnie:
    It does rather seem as if asbestos is, in reality, the Devil in disguise. Oh well! Thank you for such kind and generous words said about our Budapest apartment of which we are quite fond and which, if we set our minds to work, we could still improve!

  160. LR @ Magnificent or Egregious:
    We are, as you may well imagine, so grateful now that, on this occasion, we have allowed our heads to rule our hearts. It is, we feel, always in the long run worth seeking professional advice before embarking on projects of this kind.

  161. wellfedfred:
    The New Jersey house sounds absolutely fascinating although desperately impractical. That said, we could well see its appeal although the kitchen arrangement, even to non cooks such as ourselves, sounds a trifle [no pun intended] odd.

    We live, as you may so readily imagine, surrounded with the aftermath of nearly fifty years of Communism.

  162. Palomasea [again]:
    The pleasure was, and is, entirely ours. And it is you who is so very kind, Irina.

  163. stardust:
    You are so right about the asbestos and even if we had unlimited money, which we do not have, then we should, in all probability, be very reluctant to tackle such a project with such a problem.

    As for our 'last home' we do assure you, Yoko, that we understood exactly what you meant and did not, in all seriousness, take it in any other way.

  164. 24 Corners:
    Your generosity and kind words about our Budapest apartment are so very much appreciated, Jessica, and we are pleased that you like the Front and Main Halls.

    Just for the moment, perhaps tired from the whole 'project' of the last few weeks, we have decided that, at least for the time being, we will give up looking for a place in the country. Perhaps we shall think differently in the spring?!!

  165. wellfedfred [again]:
    Most likely so, providing one has the means!!

  166. Kerry:
    As you so aptly say, it is all a bit of a bugger!! But one really does have to be philosophical about such things and, at the end of the day, it is simply a house made up of nothing more than bricks and mortar and, in this instance, asbestos!

  167. Menopausalmusing:
    Picture two pouting bottom lips here as we had rather set our hearts on the idea of a 'game larder' although, as neither of us hunts nor shoots, we had not gone as far as to consider what actually might be put in it!!

  168. The news about the asbestos was probably good in the long run! But, what an exciting adventure to have considered. Sometimes that's much more fun than the reality. Besides, the Budapest apartment (and the work you did) looks incredible. Who needs a kastély!

  169. Amazing differences already.Lovely.

    Thanks so much for visitng and leaving a sweet comment...always nice to see the both of you.


  170. In a case like that I always think that I do not know the reason why something is the way it is. After sometime you will know - it is then when you see the house that has been waiting for YOU! Have a fantastic day! Still - I am a bit sad as well! Christa

  171. Mitch Block:
    You may well be right that we had the best fun from the hunt! The reality would, whatever, have been a tremendous commitment.

    But, thank you so much for your kind and generous words about our apartment. It is so true that one does come home and appreciate things such as hot running water!

  172. Becky:
    The renovations on our apartment were completed some seven years ago now and took six months to finish. Soon be time to start again!

  173. Emilie's Daughter:
    Yes, Christa, we are just a bit sad too but the fear of dealing with such a toxic substance totally made our minds up for us. In many ways, it did make 'letting go' easier than it might otherwise have been.

  174. My dear Jane and Lance, First thing first, I'm sorry to hear that Kastely house is full of unwanted toxi asbestos. But still, this is not the end of the world. There is something lovelier waiting for you both - just straight out from Molly Keane's novels as you wanted it.

    I absolutely adore your apartment in Budapest. I think it's so elegant. A lot of hard work had gone into that, I bet! It takes so much effort to make something that looks efforlessly beautiful. To be successful in renovation, one has to look at every brick, every tile and every door handle and supervise everything. That's why I love doll can get away with building and refurnishing endlessly without the contractors. I'll be thinking of you. Adieu for now, ASD x

  175. A Super Dilettante:
    To realise that our Kastély was choked with toxic material was really a bitter blow, but that did make the final decision easy. We knew that we could not live with it and dealing with it in such large quantities was too overwhelming.

    How well you know us, dearest ASD, since the lure of a faded Georgian mansion from the pages of MK would, as you point out, most probably be our dream. But, how we should miss the European climate, the elegant coffee houses and alfresco eating for months on end. Always dilemmas...!!

    There are so many fine details to consider when renovating, you are right. We are thrilled to read that you approve of our efforts here. All your talk of dolls' houses has prompted us to make a return visit to an emporium in Steyning when we return to Brighton where the most magnificent display of doll house furniture etc. can be found. Adieu until we meet again!

  176. I suppose the asbestos problem was predictable in a house of that age, and how could you be sure, even with its removal, that your living environment would be particle free? Wise decision! That said, this thriller of a house saga has been delightful! What's down the road?

  177. A disaster averted! It was only after we bought Darlington House that we were made aware the heating system's pipes running throughout the house were plastered with asbestos in the 1930s. Fortunately, we did not need the assistance of the EPA to remove it when it came time to install a new HVAC system. Consider yourself among the fortunate to have discovered the asbestos when you did, ahead of the purchase! Rgds, Reggie

  178. smilla4blogs:
    To be truthful, Carol, it never entered our heads, even when looking at the roof, that there could be any, let alone so much, in the way of asbestos. What we took for dust in the roof space was, we are now informed, asbestos fibres. A happy escape.

    We have simply loved your description 'this thriller of a house saga'.

  179. Reggie Darling:
    Indeed, we now regard ourselves as having had a fortunate reprieve from this particular situation which did seem attached to escalating costs. Clearly you have had your own encounter with asbestos at Darlington House where, as we understand it, much in the way of restoration was originally required.

  180. Dear Jane and Lance,

    This post is full of suspense.

    Firstly, i was so surprised when in the end you revealed that the place is ridden with asbestos. For some reason that was the last thing i was expecting. I don't blame you for passing on this adventure. Asbestos is a dangerous thing and i am sure there will be another beautiful house worth rescuing very soon.

    Secondly, renovation of your home in Budapest is absolutely beautiful and amazing. Your style is,.... something else!

    Have a good rest of the week.


  181. OH SADNESS!!! Poor Kastely for not getting a new outfit of clothing :/
    Wipe off the dust and carry on Hattatts...I'm SURE there is a nice farmhouse here in Kentucky for you to remodel :) probably near a stream and not far from music halls in Nashville. I'll be watching for you.

  182. Boye by Red:
    Asbestos, yes, we could scarcely believe it too. We had previously seen so many similar roofs in the countryside and had vaguely wondered about asbestos tiles but then thought that it could not be. How wrong we were.

    You are so kind and generous about the renovations we have undertaken in our present apartment. They took 6 long months to complete but we did have a marvellous team of workmen.

    We assume that you must be back at the chalkface and hope that it is going as well as it can!

  183. Auntie Bliss:
    Now, a house in Kentucky! Here, Phyllis, you have planted a new seed in our minds which may yet, before you know it, germinate into something interesting. But are you up to having us as neighbours? Indeed, would we recognise you in your Gypsy costume?!!

  184. Thank you Jane and Lance! I hope you will participate in my next lottery and just to tell you: I am always thrilled to read from you! Big hugs! Christa

  185. Emilie's Daughter[again]:
    We so enjoy our visits to you and are already eagerly anticipating your next giveaway!

    Happy week ahead!

  186. Oh, what a shame, Jane and Lance! You went to view with such anticipation and now this. Yes, asbestos would be a hurdle too much for us too. I do sympathise with your disappointment.

  187. Oh, what awful news. I had looked forward to reading about the restoration and wanting to see what you did with this gorgeous (at least from the outside) place.
    What a shame.

    Oh well, you'll just have to find another special place. Your apartment looks so homey and warm, by the way.

  188. Oh, yes, of course, a country house as well! May you find another, even better, and less problematic. Somehow, I think you will.

  189. Hi Jane and Lance,
    I'm very impressed with your ongoing restoration project and very impressed with your dedication and determination in what must be considered a bit of an adventure.
    And being of generous heart, I, yes shy and humble Gary, will duly send you my empty piggy bank.
    With respect and kind wishes, your way, Gary and co-starring Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star :)

  190. Wow! The place has completely undergone radical changes after renovation. Looks so much more beautiful.
    And asbestos is very dangerous for health.
    Have a fabulous week ahead Jane and Lance:)

  191. Nothing exclusively Hungarian about "failed deliveries, drunk workmen, substitute items, strikes, rules, regulations, sleight of hand and misrepresentation..". My son in Israel finds that whenever he wants to talk to a property owner, the person lives in the Ukraine or Peru or Uganda... and cannot be reached.

    In Australia, a sale of property takes 60 days from first inspection, to auction, signing the contract and moving in. In Israel is might take 2 years and even then, you still are not sure the property is yours.

  192. Perpetua:
    Upward and onward! In the great scheme of things, and we are fairly certain that you would share this view, none of it really matters and a house, however attractive and desirable, is only bricks and mortar and, as we have said previously, asbestos!

    Alas, your thumb nail portrait is not yet sorted!

  193. Yvette:
    Of course we were, and are, disappointed but what is, is, and we are so glad to have discovered this major problem before making the final commitment to purchase.

  194. Susan Scheid [again]:
    We think, just for the time being, we will give ourselves a rest from looking and concentrate on more manageable things!

  195. klahanie:
    Yours, and Penny's, generosity knows no bounds. The piggy bank may be empty, but it is the thought which counts, and for that we send our heartfelt thanks.

    Life is, as we are sure you are aware, full of adventures. Doubtless we shall find something else equally uncertain!

  196. Arti:
    Thank you for such kind words. At the time we had builders working on the apartment for over six months. Possibly enough is enough.

    We hope that you are having a good week too.

  197. Hels:
    The situation which you describe in Israel where property purchase is concerned does, indeed, sound something of a nightmare and we can only imagine that both vendor and purchaser end up with very frayed nerves.

    The process in the UK is very similar to that of Australia with solicitors taking that amount of time to carry out searches and complete all paper work. Here in Hungary it is usual for contracts to be signed within twenty-four hours.


Your comments are warmly welcomed and appreciated. We shall reply to each one individually since we value establishing a dialogue. However, we do not publish anonymous comments.

PLEASE NOTE: On occasion when comments are in excess of 200, then it is necessary to click on 'Load More' to view all comments that have been left.