Sunday, 11 August 2013

Where to start?

Lots happened this week, so difficult to know where to start.

The big news is that late Friday afternoon, our agent phoned out of the blue to say that we had an offer on our house.  It's from a couple that saw it a few weeks ago and they have now had an offer on their house from a first time buyer so it's a short chain.  The offer is a bit lower than we were hoping for but not bad, so given their strong position we decided to accept it.

We're busy next weekend so I hastily arranged a viewing on a big period house in Northamptonshire that we've had our eye on for the next day (Saturday).  The owner was only seeing potential buyers who were under offer which is why we couldn't look at it before.  Since we were driving up there, I was also able to arrange at short notice on Saturday morning, a second viewing on a house we looked at back in June.  The latter house is the one with the fantastic views near Wellingborough that DH thinks is too isolated.

The period house was amazing, absolutely huge, central town location, and not in bad shape really but there was easily £30,000 of work needed: rewiring, new boiler, rotting sash windows, leaking roof etc.  DH was in love with all the period features but I was just feeling stressed by all the work and future maintenance requirements.  It sure would have had enough space and then some for all our hobbies, there was even a cellar for storage.  But I would be worried about security and the constant need to repair things.

We ran a bit late on that viewing so had to hustle over to the other place without time for lunch.  As we pulled into the drive I was dreading it a bit - it still looks very unattractive and plain from the outside (it's a 60s house) and I was expecting that the inside wouldn't be nearly as nice and spacious as I remembered.

However, to my relief, the inside was actually better than I remembered and the view over rolling fields from the garden is just stupendous.  The garden is almost not overlooked at all, as one neighbour is behind a high hedge, and the view just goes on for miles.  I felt an instant feeling of calm and peace when I walked out into the garden, and I sat on their deck and could have happily just have them hand me the keys and walk out the door forever and leave me to it.  Inside the house is 2800 square feet, more than twice as big as our current 1245 square feet.  There's a huge conservatory (sun room) making the most of the views, which opens onto a nice lounge with folding doors so you can be open plan.  A spacious hall with a nice staircase leads up to four bedrooms.  Two big ones at the back looking out at the view, and another good sized one at the front looking at the road which will likely be DS's room.  The fourth bedroom is smaller.  There's a fitted solid wood fancy kitchen, a big utility room, a small integral garage, and a front room which would make a nice study.  It's all done to a good standard inside, the current owners are pretty well off and haven't stinted themselves on comfort.

After an hour wandering around there and asking every question I could think of, we went away to think for a while.  We looked at a few antique and book stores while we digested, and then ended up walking around some random village while we talked it out.  I didn't want to wait until next week as another couple were hoping to offer on the house as soon as they got an offer on theirs.  DH is still concerned that the property is a bit isolated:  it's 3.6 miles from a station so awkward for me as I don't have a car, it's on the very edge of a small and not incredibly attractive village and he is just not used to walking out his front drive and seeing a country road with few houses on it [I am because that's how I grew up in Canada], and the nearest shop is at least a 20 minute walk away, perhaps 30 minutes.  Also, there are not tailor-made hobby spaces in the house, we would have to think about how we are going to use the rooms and possibly convert the garage and possibly install a garden room for my sewing room.

However, the potential is there to do that in the house because there is room, it's on at a very reasonable price (cheaper than ours) so we wouldn't need a mortgage unless we want to make improvements, we both really like the inside, and he recognises the immense value of a calm, happy and peaceful wife who likes the house very much.  I promise I did not talk him into it, I played Devil's Advocate while we worked through the pros and cons.  But in the end, we recognised that having now physically visited over a dozen houses, while I've look at probably thousands online, there is no single house in our price bracket that meets all of our criteria.There is no right decision, but we both felt really comfortable and like we were at home inside of this house, and we haven't felt that way in any of the other houses we've visited.

So we've gone for it and made an offer at the asking price and will wait to see what the owners come back with next week.  Today (Sunday) we are both feeling very nervous about having landed on one property out of all the potential properties, and we are second guessing our decision.  But I just keep thinking back to how I felt in that garden, and how nice it would be to feel like that every time I came home.

Of course, I am trying not to get too emotionally invested because of the ludicrous house buying process over here which results in one in three sales falling through.  We are determined to sell ours and get out of here, even if it means we have to rent before we are able to move into the new house.  So fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong with our chain.  In theory, if everyone involved pulls their weight and solicitors don't dawdle, we could be moving out as early as late September.  In practice, the whole process more typically takes 8-10 weeks so it could be late October.


In other news, the treadmill I ordered three weeks ago finally turned up on Friday.  This is a major investment in my own health.  Not only have I become very fat while idling away at home, but a bone density re-scan revealed  that my spine is sliding towards osteoporosis.  I need to do more weight bearing exercise, starting with regular walking.  I got this set up in the living room on Friday and have been walking a mile and a half every day.  I start slow and build up to a brisk walk that gets me breathless and hot, then slow down and cool down at the end.  I'm hoping if I do that every day I will begin to see some results. At the moment it is facing the television so I can watch TV while I'm walking.  I can also read magazines but I haven't tested whether I can knit while walking yet.  I don't see why not.  The treadmill was on sale at Argos and so far it seems really good.  DS was even using it while he played video games.

A whole new world of time suck

On the subject of video games, I have discovered a whole new world of time suck.  I've never been a gamer, apart from getting addicted to Zelda Minish Cap on my son's Gameboy back in the day.  I had picked up his console just to have a look and see what all the fuss was about, and ended up spending hundreds of hours completing quests and puzzles.  In a similar vein, DS has recently started playing Skyrim: Elder Scrolls on his neglected Xbox.  Coincidentally, I had clicked past a gaming channel on TV where they were playing the "first hour of Skyrim" and had ended up watching that programme, intrigued by the graphics.  So since DS had Skyrim all set up, one day earlier this week I thought I would turn it on and see what it was like.

OMG, since then I have lost entire mornings to the world of Skyrim.  Whereas before I would spend a few hours watching 'Homes under the Hammer' while working on my latchhook rug or my knitting, now I am spending three hour sessions exploring caves and fighting dragons.  It is a completely immersive experience and while I was completely cr*p to begin with, and am still so bad that DS is entertaining himself by sitting with me to watch me bumble around while he mocks me, I am getting better and achieving more and more.

Meanwhile my crafts have sat largely neglected.  I feel like such a hypocrite as I have wasted much time and energy over the years criticising DS for spending hours on his computer games, and now I've got hungry family members plaintively asking when dinner is going to be as I try to pick off the last bandits in the fort and claim all their gold for myself.  I don't know how far I will go in the game as you could spend weeks progressing through it (especially when you are as bad as I am) but I'm enjoying it for now - apart from when the ??@#! monsters kill my character off again, and again, and again, and again....


I have done a few things.  I finished the Morioka square for my Great American Aran Afghan.

And I've started my sixth square which is the Carol Adams square.

I've started a new cardigan from my hoarded project yarn kept out of storage.  This is the Harvest Moon cardigan by Heidi Kirrmaier which I am knitting in Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran in a light burgundy.  You knit the yoke sideways so I cast on for that in the car while we were driving up the house viewings yesterday.

I finished my Yukimi hat.  I knit the seed stitch band in doubled yarn, so it's nice and cosy over my ears.

Because of the way this yarn is dyed, I knit it in two row stripes for a blended effect.

This week is the big week, with DS getting his exam results on Thursday which will determine whether or not he is going to Oxford university.  So far he doesn't seem too nervous, so fingers crossed that it all goes ok.

And that's about it.  So excuse me, I'm off to play some more Skyrim before DS wakes up and wants to play it himself.


swooze said...

Sounds like things are going your way. I wish you the best. When does your new job start? I have landed a permanent position and start on the 19th.

FabShabbyRoses said...

It's a wonderful thing to find a house that you feel at home in!!! Sometimes our gut tells us what is right! With such a big decision it's hard not to feel nervous tho! Wishing you the best that all goes thru now that you've made a final choice!

Linda W said...

Wow, you've got a lot going on with buying/selling a home and starting a new job. Just think that in a short time, this will all be over and you'll be settled in your new home with lots of extra space. Congrats!

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