SOMETIMES circumstances contrive to turn your dream home into something just less than ideal.
That's what's happened to John and Val Lightfoot, who are reluctantly selling their lovely bungalow in the village of Hilderstone.
"If we could pick this house up and plonk it down in a smaller garden, that would be perfect," says 72-year-old Val.
John, 71, is a very keen gardener, but he is recovering from lung cancer - the second time in 15 years that he's been struck by the disease. And that's what is forcing the couple to leave Hilderstone Cottage, an energy-efficient, modern home in a lovely setting.
"The trouble is, he needs to take things a little easier," says his wife, Val. "The garden is a third of an acre, and he's transformed it during the seven years we've been here.
"But it's going to be difficult for him, and I worry that he'll try to do too much. He was out in the garden within days of his last operation. If he sees a stray leaf, he'll be straight out to bag it up."
John, who ran his own engineering firm in Longton, recovered from cancer when he was 56. He later handed the firm to his two sons, who still run it today.
He is now recovering well from a second, unrelated cancer. "He's still very active," says Val. "He goes to see his mother, who'll be 100 in September, to do her shopping. She lives nearby, so we're looking for something around this area.
"John would like to move to Stone, but I'd prefer to go back to Meir Heath, where we used to live. I don't drive, so I'd like to be close to shops and a bus route.
"Living out here is lovely, though. Hilderstone is a wonderful village, and there's always something going on. We've been really happy here, especially John."
The couple have done a lot of work on the property since they moved in, most notably the installation of solar panels, which have considerably reduced their heating bills.
"It's very nice to receive a cheque from the energy company," says Val. "We reckon we've saved a lot of money since having them installed."
Agents Tinsley Garner of Stone, highly recommend viewing for house hunters. They say that Hilderstone Cottage represents "a rare opportunity".
The modern, detached bungalow is situated in a very private corner of the village. The solar panels, combined with effective double glazing, means the house is very energy-efficient.
The bungalow is very spacious, and includes a large entrace hall, dining room and living room. The kitchen is fitted with a range of modern units and has granite work surfaces and a breakfast bar.
There is also a pleasant conservatory overlooking the immaculate gardens.
Upstairs there are three good-sized bedrooms, including the master bedroom which has an en-suite shower room.
The family bathroom is fitted with a stylish contemporary suite.
"Our two grandchildren often visit us here," says Val, "and they love the garden. The house would suit a family, and anyone who really enjoys peace and quiet."