Now, we'd seen old rural properties before and knew the imagination of farmers when it came to building. The most imaginative being a farmer in Cornwall who would never repair a building if there was room to build a new one alongside. I had never seen anything like it. As we drove into the farmyard, the first thing we saw was a long row of wooden barns going gradually downhill - in all senses of the word - each barn in a greater state of disrepair than its neighbour, until the one at the end was barely standing.
We stood outside the original barn, watching it decompose before our eyes. A pool of black water seeped out from under a rickety barn door.
"Don't go in there," the estate agent warned us. "There's lice and ... things."
I didn't like the sound of the word 'things'. Lice were bad enough but 'things' hinted at something far worse - perhaps the farmer's demented son chained and slobbering in the corner.
We didn't look inside.
The next barn was part flooded and stank of mouldy hay which was grey and piled up into the rafters. It must have been ten or twenty years old and just left to moulder. I looked at the standing water and noticed it was seeping through from the original barn.
We were definitely not going in there!
And then I noticed the rusting ice-cream van. Which was standing in the middle of a small paddock. A small paddock next to a larger field with an assortment of abandoned cars, vans and lorries. I looked at the estate agent and he shrugged his shoulders with a 'please don't ask' look on his face.
Opposite the line of barns stood the original house - its doors hung off their hinges, the stairs were broken and the ceiling was shot through with holes. The farmer had obviously given up on that as well and built a new bungalow next door. Which, amazingly, looked perfectly normal.
By this time I really wanted to meet the owner. What would he be wearing? Would he wear clothes until they fell off his back and then buy new ones?
Difficult to tell. The short squat man who opened the bungalow door was wearing overalls. He could have been wearing an even older pair underneath but I didn't dare ask.
He showed us around the bungalow and we couldn't fault it. It looked great. And normal. That is until we reached the back room. "I wouldn't go in there," started the farmer. Oh my God, my mind could see lice, ‘things’ and more chained relatives than a single room could possibly contain. Perhaps there was still time to run for the door?
"We had a bit of a flood last week," he continued, "and we've had trouble with the electrics ever since."
He pushed open the door. A pool of water lay on a new concrete floor, the ceiling tiles above were missing or broken. It looked like a cistern had exploded in the roof. And there, sitting in the pool of water, were two suspiciously bare wires, running from two large freezers in the corner.
We left quickly.
I could feel a new bungalow coming on.