Wednesday April 12, 2006
14 days to M-day
Another day, another couple of tasks ticked off. At this rate, though I make no promises, I shall have cleared the whole list with a good bit of slack left before Graham returns home to whisk around the house and shove every last loose item into cardboard boxes. That done, we sit back to wait for the removal guys to come along to stack everything into storage containers and drive the whole lot away to the secure storage depot in Lincoln where they’ll sit waiting for us to secure a new home in Somerset.
I’m informed that, since the removal firm has another large depository in Taunton, our containers will be shifted down at their leisure so they are close to hand when we identify the delivery address. That’s fine. The containers will be sealed in front of my eyes before leaving here, and I get to inspect the seals before they are opened at the final destination.
Barring accidents the whole effort is clicking along nicely, like a well-oiled clockwork mechanism.
What I shall do with any slack days at the end of my time here alone depends very much on how I feel when I finish my tasklist. I have a couple of trips I’d like to make, and it’d be good to make one last pass over the garden here, tidying it up before we leave it. I’d like to get both of those done but if I’m feeling at all tired I shall take the slack as one last chance to rest up before the big day. That would be no bad thing.
Backgrounding other things I have for some weeks now been studying the property market in our target area, seeking to get a good feel for the way things are going before I start shopping for a new home with a fistful of equity cash. My general impression has been that there’s been a slow, steady drop in asking prices in the past couple of months and even more in selling prices, where sellers are accepting offers way below their asking price. That’s good, if it turns out to be the case. Going over the agents’ listings, it’s clear that the market has slowed almost to a halt, and that’s good, too. If the slowdown continues past the Easter Holiday then it’s very good news indeed.
Coincidentally, Graham was talking today with a local property expert—he’s networking very nicely into the local Somerset business network—and was advised not to be in too much of a hurry to get our equity fund out of the bank and into property. Following government ‘strategic’ directives a great deal of new building has been going on in and around our target towns, over-loading the whole area with available housing. The builders have not been notably successful in finding sufficient buyers and it appears that a couple of them have gone bust with empty housing stock unsold. The remaining companies are, reportedly, becoming more and more willing to negotiate their selling prices, with some awfully good deals to be found by the canny buyer with cash funds available for a very quick transaction.
Our first target is of course going to be a nice little old house along one the lanes, possibly one in need of a lot of TLC. If that comes along, fine, but we’re not averse to the thought of a new or nearly-new house either. What we shall not do is buy a scuzzy house in a scuzzy location—there’s no profit in that, of any kind. [‘scuzzy’ — shabby, low-grade.]
I do like the thought that we needn’t hurry, though. I’ve bought houses in a rising market before and it’s a heartless, thankless task. I don’t relish the prospect of spending the entire summer and autumn in the caravan but a couple of weeks with feet up, settling gently back into Somerset does appeal. Greatly.
All in all it’s been a good day, if uneventful. Several steps forward and not a single step back. Can’t complain at that.
Dolly the Mega-Cat, sadly, found just cause for major complaint. Early in the evening, she came along for her daily table-top cuddle, the one where I shove all my stuff to one side to give her room and all of my attention. She got the timing wrong, though, because I’d just then decided that I fancied fish and chips for my dinner and was getting ready to pop over to Spilsby.
“Sorry, luv,” I said. “I’ll make it up to you when I get back, and you shall have a choice piece of my fish before I pollute it with vinegar.”
She wasn’t convinced and, when I got back and set a little bit of lovely fresh fish onto a dish for her, she wasn’t mollified by that, either. So I opened a tiny can of extra special luxury tuna steak for her and put it down instead. She did manage to set her outrage to one side for that but she wasn’t completely satisfied until I cleared the dishes away, swept her up and gave her a grand mega-cuddle. That seemed to do the trick. Judging by the loud purring, it probably did do the trick.
“Am I forgiven, Dolly?” I asked as we finished the cuddle.
She gave herself a good shake and stomped off back to her favourite nesting place in the living room. There was no malice in the stomp, though, so I reckon she has no complaints either. Not now, anyway.