A new approach

Tuesday July 26, 2005

Finding myself in a dry spell, with rain forecast and threatening, I went out to cut the grass again today, one day late in my cutting schedule. No problem with the two front patches, nor the one at the side, but the back lawn had put on a fair amount of growth and caused me to huff and puff a bit.

I groaned a little, expecting to find that, when I’d done, I’d have to rest up for the rest of the day. To my great delight, as I sat outside to finish the big mug of coffee I’d set ready to replenish my liquid levels as I worked, the weariness fell away rapidly and completely, leaving me fit and ready to tackle the rest of the day. This additional outdoor exercise obviously suits me. There’s a lesson there.

Just along the lane a communal effort is in progress where a few good, and fit, neighbours are cleaning up the garden of the guy who’s back from hospital now after his second stroke in the space of a few weeks. The work is too heavy for me but I gave moral support, in particular chatting to the invalid while the labour was in progress. It’s likely he’ll not be able to tackle his garden again for a long time but I was greatly impressed to see his spirits lift as his garden came back to life again. He’s much improved from the day he returned, when I confess I felt I was talking to a man who had lost the battle. It’s astonishing to witness the recuperative powers of the human body and soul.

Walking back I bumped into the young local woman who wants to buy our house if she can only sell her own. Like me, she’s becoming resigned to a long wait. Neither of us much enjoy sitting around waiting for buyers to appear, but we both seem to have a realistic attitude to it. I have the benefit of experience. I’ve been through this before, selling a house into a slack, sluggish market. I think that things will pick up at the end of the school holidays and, it’s hateful to think this way, there will be people in London and the South-East who will be triggered by the present terrorist activity to seek to move out to quieter rural areas. I wouldn’t feel like that if I were living in London but I have complete sympathy with those who do. I shall be switching to a new estate agent next month and it could be that there’ll be a little more activity from that. I live in hope.

Whatever, it’s clear that we’re very unlikely to sell before the end of Graham’s summer season in Somerset. In the meantime, I push the vacuum around the house every morning, dust off all the surfaces, and keep everything neat and tidy ready for the buyers who, inevitably, will turn up one day out of the blue. I’m happy at the thought of being surprised, but I don’t want to be caught unprepared.

Working my way steadily through my journal photos, building a picture archive on Flickr, my intent to move back to Somerset is becoming more and more powerfully reinforced. We made a lovely house there, and nothing since has measured up to it. My growing fitness is helping, too, making me feel I can happily take on another major make-over.

Thinking over our past homes there are two that stand out from the crowd. Both the tiny cottage in remote Wales and the old ranch house in Somerset were daunting projects, requiring extensive and complete make-over. The result in each case was a home to die for. There are other ways but it does seem that we are best suited by houses that need a great deal of work.

To this end, if Graham agrees, I am thinking that a good way forward would be to drop the asking price of this house considerably when we switch agents, and go for the fastest sale we can manage. If we are to buy an old wreck, cheap, we can manage perfectly well with less cash from this one.

Timing is pretty crucial to the plan as it forms in my head, too. If we can sell up here by Christmas we can move into temporary accommodation on the Somerset holiday camp for the remainder of the winter and spend all our time hunting for the perfect place.

I like the feeling that increased physical fitness is giving me. It may be foolish but I get the distinct feeling that I am on the cusp of a new approach to my life.



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