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Down to the wire!

September 1, 2014

The few days in the B&B were fairly pleasant if a tad expensive having to eat out every day for lunch & dinner. The local pub, in walking distance, is really nice – good food and great people.  We spent some time in exploring the area and a few other pubs etc for lunch.

Communications with the estate agent were going nowhere, there seems to be a load of inconsistency and a distinct lack of urgency down the chain. I called the agent on Wednesday having heard nothing since before leaving Wales and all she said was “I haven’t chased it yet”. At which point I got out of my pram and let them know that no news is not good news. By Saturday am all we could learn was that one of the parties in the chain had not completed their enquiries despite the fact they told us four weeks ago that all formalities were complete. The particular party is not returning phone calls so now it’ll be Tuesday (after the Bank holiday) that we get the next update.

Anyway, over the weekend, we moved to the holiday let and it is very nice and well equipped if a little remote. We did a big supermarket shop on the way so we are now self-catering and can relax a bit. We had planned on getting some supplies out of the storage facility but that would mean at least four boxes to unpack and nowhere to put it all so we will continue with the local stores for now.

All this moving around has given rise to making comparisons with other ways of doing things. I am not sure if it is living in California for twenty years or some peculiarity of the British I don’t recall from earlier years but they seem immune to a lack of heat and incapable of installing working plumbing. The outside temperature the past few days had struggled to reach 12C but they are all walking around in T-shirts, shorts and sandals. The owners of the holiday let told us to let them know if we needed the central heating; I felt somewhat silly saying “yes please” to a man wearing T-shirt and shorts. They suggested we use the electric heaters instead and just heat the rooms we needed. As there are only three main rooms I can’t imagine this is economical or even efficient; the concepts of thermal mass and perimeters appear to be unknown. However a day later even they must have been feeling the effects of the weather because the heating was switched on.

Plumbing really is amazing; hot water arrives eventually at a steady trickle, cold water not much quicker. There are no shelves in the bathroom for toiletries and in two places we stayed none in the shower either. God knows where they put the soap, toothbrushes etc. The showers are electrically heated and driven, and vary from scalding hot to ice cold and back in a matter of seconds without warning. Pressure is non-existent and it is necessary to run around to get wet. One shower was a walk-in with no door or curtain consequently the bathroom floor was awash. Why do they mount wash basins so low, two have been at 30” from the floor, which is six inches lower than normal? And don’t get me started on soft-close toilet seats – they are soft-open as well and don’t stay up, with the inevitable results. Ah well, it all comes in useful when planning our own facilities which hopefully won’t be too long.

Another aspect of UK living arose when we had to do a bunch of laundry – the cottage has a washing machine but no dryer so we dried on an outdoor line; first time in well over twenty years. Result – clothes like cardboard; can’t wait to get our dryer back. The owners did adjust something in the plumbing after a couple of days; the shower now maintains a steady temperature but water volume is still like using a small watering can.

The plan for eventually moving into our own place is steadily evolving, there are some decorations we want to do before putting furniture in and we had hoped to get this done while still in the rental. However the timeframes are compressing so the next idea is to see if we can get a removal firm to do a partial move and leave some of our stuff in storage while we survey the place properly and get the decorating etc done.

We contacted the agent immediately after the Bank Holiday and were told that all was well and we would be exchanging contracts on Wednesday and final completion for Friday 5th. On Wednesday I went into the agents’ office to confirm and also into the bank to transfer the final funds. On Wednesday afternoon, we discovered they had not exchanged contracts but all was well for Thursday. On Thursday we learned that yet again no exchange has taken place but Friday was good. Guess what, no exchange Friday! On Saturday morning I spoke to the agent and got very heated when they told us that the reason for the delay was the guy at the top of the chain making additional searches. I pointed out that this guy had promised to vacate back in June and his purchase was not part of the chain. The agent argued and said he’d always been in the chain. I then sent a very strongly worded email to the branch manager quoting his email of June 16th which told us the top of the chain was vacating and asked if perhaps his ought to share this information with his staff. I got a grovelling apology and a promise that the guy will vacate in time but we still haven’t exchanged contracts. Monday is crunch day – we shall see.

The pressure for the 5th was a bit much – we spent ages trying to find a removal company but eventually one was available and promptly went to look at our stuff in the storage unit – well look at the wall of boxes when the door was opened. Anyway they are on board with the part move plan and I also found a decorator for the dining room. The big china cabinet is too heavy for June & I to move so the room needs to be ready first. Anything else we can manage – we hope!

Other than all that hassle, life isn’t too bad at all. We have been exploring the shops, pubs and other facilities, registered with the doctors and generally relaxing. We spent a very nice lunch time in Coltishall, having lunch at a pub on the river bank and watching the grockles fail to manoeuvre their boats – endless fun for all the family. This is a very nice part of the world and the pace of life is a tad slower which is what we really want from it.

Monday dawned and we made the call to the solicitors authorising the exchange of contracts – and finally at 12:45 we got confirmation that the contracts had been exchanged and completion was agreed for the 5th – we are on our way!




David & June

3 Comments leave one →
  1. jo Anne permalink
    September 2, 2014 13:04

    Your posts always seem to have me sitting on the edge of my seat ! Phew – thank goodness it ended well you will be moving soon into a lovely home. All the very best! Jo

  2. September 3, 2014 10:04

    Hi Jo, The suspense has been killing us too 🙂

    • jo Anne permalink
      September 3, 2014 11:00

      I can well imagine! Only 2 days to go – Bonne chance et courage!

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