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Why does everything happen at once?

May 3, 2014

As planned, we spent a week or so getting ready for our trip, writing out wish lists for houses, measuring current room sizes and furniture (again!) and continuing with the downsizing and repacking.

On Easter Monday we set off up the M4 bound for Woburn, not the greatest timing in the world as the traffic getting out of Wales around Newport was very heavy but after that it settled down and we arrived in the early afternoon at the hotel. There was a minor organisational problem as we had asked for a ground floor room and they hadn’t allocated us one but it all worked out OK in the end. Woburn was great, nice old town full of pubs, restaurants and antique shops but no estate agents!

We had good meals in the hotel and two great dinners with friends in local restaurants. The rest of the time was spent in exploring the surrounding villages and visiting estate agents in Woburn Sands and Bletchley and scouring the internet. All to no avail, what we wanted either didn’t exist; wasn’t on the market or was too expensive so we decided to move on. Somewhat reluctantly as we would have liked to have been closer to friends and there are numerous attractions in the area that interest us – Bletchley Park, Duxford Imperial War Museum, Old Warden Shuttleworth collection etc. We actually drove out to Old Warden and had lunch in the local pub then went to the airfield and watched practice flying for an upcoming air-show – Hurricane, SE5, Chipmunk; all good stuff.

Then it was on to Norfolk and the market town of Stalham where we had arranged to meet an agent. After checking into our B&B and a quick bit of lunch we went to the agents’ office and started on our shortlist. She arranged to meet us at one bungalow and set up visits for a couple of others, some in Stalham and some in Ludham. She also started to work on others for Friday. The ones we saw on Thursday fell into the usual categories; a) possible, b) wrong neighbourhood, c) too pricey, d) needs a ton of work, e) not with a barge-pole, f) not with your barge-pole.  This of course helps concentrate the mind for the next day but the favourite one that we had on the shortlist wasn’t answering calls. Back to the B&B and then dinner in the local pub – 400 yards away 🙂  Great village pub, good food & beer, great atmosphere and we actually ate there both nights.

On Friday the agent had managed to contact our favourite and it was number three on the visiting list. Of the others one came close but really was a bit small but the favourite won hands down. It wasn’t 100% perfect (nothing is) but came really close; big enough, very well presented, walking distance to shops, pubs etc and on a quite cul-de-sac in Stalham. We debated this for a while, discussing location, costs etc then decided to put in an offer which was initially not accepted – we upped it a bit and this was accepted so now it’s all down to paper-work – fingers crossed.

We did discover that buying houses in the UK is not nearly as easy as it could be. Yet again there is no sharing of information between agents and they won’t tell you about properties they haven’t listed. So, just as in France but with a bit less secrecy, you have to visit every agent in the area plus internet searching. Then it turns out that a survey does not check utilities or appliances and any such surveys or tests are paid for by the buyer, not the seller. We live and learn.

We left Norfolk on Saturday and drove to our friends in Suffolk to spend an evening – Indian dinner, couple of pints in the local where we used to live, very enjoyable and relaxing. However this is where the “events” started – on the drive down a warning light came on the dashboard of the car. I stopped, checked the engine fluid levels and added a pint of oil but this didn’t fix it. When we got to our destination I checked the manual and it said “malfunction, contact dealer” so we drove back to Wales carefully and booked it in for a check-up.

Then the backlog of mail contained a note for me to attend a pre-operation assessment clinic for my surgery on 1st May and we also have to get June to her radio-therapy three week course soon. And we’ll probably be moving house soon! Why do all these things happen at once?

Problem number one was dealt with by the Hyundai dealer who couldn’t find anything wrong so reset the O2 sensor alarms and sent me on my way – £53 poorer. They strongly advised me not to use supermarket petrol; funnily enough I hadn’t until this long trip but as I had accumulated significant savings with Tesco I had filled up there twice. As suggested by the dealer, I bought a fuel cleaner additive which will be added with the next fill up and hopefully this is sorted.

I went for the pre-op assessment, a process involving three 15 minute interviews and some blood tests – how come it took over 2 ½ hours? However, everyone was very kind and helpful and I swear the doctor was only 14 years old. She seriously looked like a teenage school girl but definitely knew her stuff – very disconcerting, The upshot of this is that the actual surgery is likely to be in 4 -6 weeks – timing is everything! June’s three-week radio therapy starts on Wednesday next week so at least that should be completed by the moving date.

At this point as we have not exchanged contracts and have no moving date we can’t really make any plans at all, so it’s all down to sorting, packing and downsizing while we wait. W are winning this battle but the closer to the end game we get the less inclined we feel about getting rid of things. At least now we know where we intend to settle and as it isn’t an old cottage with an inglenook fireplace all the brass and copper stuff is probably up for grabs



David & June

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2014 15:24

    Well, that is good news about finding a house. Fingers crossed for a smooth closing. Wishing you well with your medical situations – you are in a good place for treatment.
    Love reading your posts. Everything fine here! bye for now JO

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