For various reasons that I won't go into here, I felt uneasy about yesterday's valuation and the judgements that informed it ("we can't possibly value Jesmond higher than Gosforth..." and other strange remarks) so the second valuation that I requested from another higher-end agency took place today. Striking while the iron is clean and tidy, of course.
And it couldn't have been more different. Starting with an exclamation of "Now this is nice!" on entering my unfeasibly tidy kitchen, Nick the valuer, he of the trendy specs, the Egyptian Mau cats and the black BMW sports car (self-mockingly replying "No mid-life crisis here!" when I commented on it) was amazingly positive and took a keen interest in the aesthetic, such as it is, as much as the bricks and mortar and room sizes. It was the specs and cats that made me like him even before he enthused professionally over my house. Yes, I'm that silly....
We had a lively and wide-ranging conversation, and a valuation which was twenty thousand pounds higher than yesterday's rather begrudging limit. Twenty thousand pounds more..... I can barely write the numbers for such a sum, let alone imagine anyone wanting to pay me that much extra over the last valuation, for this old house. I'm too superstitious to tell you the full sum, for fear of a jinx, but it would greatly improve my chances of not having to buy a hovel with a holey roof because the cost of selling and moving had eaten up all my reserves.... I'll tell all in due course, and may even show you the sales brochure.
Naturally, it's a dream figure, no house in this street ever having realised such a sum before, but the positive and optimistic message that it conveyed was very cheering. There were other differences too: the small attic, which to my surprise yesterday was described as a double, was today more realistically pitched as a good-sized single; the loss of a reception room, yesterday a drawback, seemed today to be a point in favour as the addition of a kitchen-diner. Estate Agent World is very strange.
We parted with the promise that I would be in touch by the end of the week. I needed time to assimilate these two very different valuations and my own feelings about them.
I then went off to the Royal Victoria Infirmary where a friend is recovering from a hysterectomy, and got hopelessly, old-ladyishly lost in the glossy new buildings before being guided back to the old through miles of corridors. Both were spotless and without that distinctive hospital odour, but sat-nav, or even maps and compasses could only have helped. My friend was pleased to receive some fresh fruit salad and yoghurt and a couple of new craft magazines, and I was pleased to have discovered her at last before I collapsed, footsore and dehydrated, in yet another poorly-signposted corridor.
We had a pleasant visit, I being greatly pleased to hear that all sorts of worst fears had not been realised, and noting that she looked better, a day after a big op, than she has done for months.
On the bus home, thinking hard, fears allayed, I decided that I would go with the positive valuation experience, and would not prevaricate. Trendy Specs could have my humble custom. I rang the agency and booked an appointment for Thursday to start the process of photos and particulars and.... fingers crossed - eventual sale....
I felt slightly sick afterwards, but that might be an increasingly familiar feeling as the forthcoming chapter unfolds. For now, one day, one step, at a time will have to do. You're being dragged along with me, of course. I need all the support I can get.