Words by Kate Thompson. Photos: Charlotte Griffiths.
When Lizzy first decided she wanted to live in Southsea, she had a very specific list of requirements.
Honed over many weeks coming down to Southsea from her home in London (driving around the streets, come rain or shine, to pinpoint her favoured location), she came up with a number of ‘must-haves’ that were needed to seal the deal.
A whirlwind of creative fun and energy, Lizzy set the estate agents a very explicit task. “I told them I want to be able to walk to Waitrose – and that was before I discovered that Southsea’s Waitrose is the place where you meet everyone.
“This new house was going to be my forever home, so looking ahead, I wanted a place that was big enough for a Stannah stairlift, and wide enough to house a mobility scooter,” she declared.
In the end, Lizzy found the house under her own steam in one of the roads off of Elm Grove. She knew as soon as she walked through the door that it was the place for her.
“I knew I could live here quite happily.
“It’s like a Tardis. There are five bedrooms – one has become a study, and another my walk-in wardrobe (I had always wanted one), “she said.
The living room is a lively landscape of colourful cushions, paintings, and treasured paraphernalia gathered over a lifetime.
“Every item has a story, and all the gifts are treasured,” confided Lizzy.
When she moved in, she brought with her 370 boxes delivered in two huge removal lorries and a plethora of pots containing most of her London garden.
Her beloved Dachshund, Crumpet is immortalised in paintings, along with other sausage dog pictures. Everywhere you turn there are wonderful items to coo over, including two framed Hermes silk scarves hung on the landing by the master bedroom.
Happily ensconced, she has added to the mix with items bought in Southsea – including treasured artworks from local charity shops.
“I had to get cupboards and shelves built in the living room before I could properly move in. As it was, it took me five months to unpack,” she said.
The garden is bursting with mature trees and shrubs transplanted from her former home, and they have settled just as happily as their owner.
“You buy a house because you love it, and then you just hope against hope that the neighbours are fab – and I really have fallen on my feet.
“We’ve even got a WhatsApp group so we can help each other at the click of a button. I also belong to a great local book club, which is a riot” she said.
Far from missing her old life in London, Lizzy is a Southsea convert who delights in finding out new and quirky facts about her new home.
“I love having friends from London come to stay. When I first moved here, they thought I had lost my marbles, but now I delight in telling them that Southsea won the Pier of the Year. In the summer some friends came down and shopped like mad at Gunwharf, and then we went for a swim in the evening, it was heavenly.
“I’ve got friends coming over from New York soon, and I can’t wait to show them the sights – Southsea really is the best place to be.”