Friday May 26, 2006
To Bridgwater, in the rain, to drive past the house another time. I doubt it’ll be the last time. Today’s venture had two purposes, firstly to verify that the agent’s sign had been changed from ‘For Sale’ to ‘Sold’, and then to check the road and surrounding area was free of flooding.
The sign had indeed been changed, demonstrating that things have been happening even though we were not aware of them. When you’re selling, this is an announcement to the world that you will be moving, and that new neighbours will be arriving. If you’re sensible, it doesn’t mean too much other than that. You’ve secured a buyer, but you’ve not yet secured a firm sale. To the buyer, it’s a reassurance that, while the legalities are being progressed, the house isn’t being actively marketed and that drive-by house-hunters are discouraged from making enquiries. We felt happier about that.
The house, of course, was unchanged. The only sign of life was the large white dog looking forlornly out of the living room window down the road. The ‘forlorn’ is of course my own invention. Many varieties of dog make a forlorn appearance part of their life-style, constantly seeking sympathy, attention, and gentle treatment.
We clappped eyes on what could well have been our future next door neighbour, a young man, late twenties or early thirties, stocky of build, rather like a rugby player.
“Yikes,” I said. “He’s a big bloke.”
“Don’t judge people on appearances,” Graham said. “You always say not to judge a book by its cover.”
“Oh, I’m not judging. Just speculating. One thing is certain, I’d rather have him as a friend than an enemy.”
“He looks friendly enough to me.”
“And me. It’ll be good to have new neighbours. I’m looking forward to getting to know them.”
Flooding there was none. All the drains were functioning correctly, there was no surface water loitering around on the roads, and no sign that there had been any. We cruised round the whole area, finding it all to be dry. We’d already checked the Department of the Environment maps, of course, and the new house is well away from any areas designated as being at risk of flooding.
And that was it for the new house for another day. It may be that Sally our solicitor has posted a packet of documents for us to process over the weekend but all real activity is now at a halt until Tuesday, when the offices open once more after Bank Holiday Monday.
We finished our trip by calling in at Sainsbury’s for provisions. Graham insisted that we should shop for two days, avoiding the Saturday tourist traffic.
“Good idea,” I said. “But I wish you’d said so before so’s I could make a list. I always forget stuff if I don’t have a list.”
“Didn’t think of it until now. We’ll just have to try hard to pick up everything we need.”
“Well, of course. Betcha we forget something, though.”
Back at the caravan I discovered within minutes what it was I’d forgotten. Cat litter. When I cleaned Dolly’s litter tray before we went out I’d made a mental note that we needed another sack but had omitted to write it down.
“Told you,” I said. “I always forget something when I don’t make a list.”
“Not to worry. You’ll be able to get back into a good routine soon. And if you forget anything, Sainsbury’s will be only a couple of minutes away.”
That’s a comforting thought. I’m looking forward to establishing a new set of routines, and not just shopping patterns, either. My life operates much better against a framework of established routines. Living like a gypsy in a caravan, shopping every day, is fun at first but it’s beginning to wear thin now.