Wednesday, 4 August 2010

How it is



I shall never sell or buy a house again, and that's a solemn vow. Except I'm not even sure that I'm selling or buying one right now. Nothing much is happening to indicate selling or buying, and none of this is my doing. Let's hope that my buyer is less dozy and distracted, more organised and better at communicating, when he becomes an eminent neurosurgeon than he is at buying a house he said he was in a great hurry for.....

I am assured that this period of resounding silence, with estate agents working to chivvy everyone along, and everyone (not me! I'm organised!) forgetting to send vital information before they go on holiday, or to let anyone know where they're up to, is perfectly normal. Well, there has to be a better 'normal' system than this, frankly.

Dave the Consoling Window Cleaner told me that his buyers pulled out the day before they were due to move. But on the other hand, I'm also assured that suddenly everything will happen, and that I will find myself in a flurry of intense activity and tight deadlines. Good; I look forward to it. Flurry sounds perfectly fine to me. Intense activity would be good.

Meanwhile, I behave as though it's true, that dozy Dr D is really going to come up with the goods, so my house is almost entirely packed up, except for the breakables which I am delighted to leave to the removals people. I do have clothes, bedding and other essentials to last till the hoped-for moving day, and the cats haven't been packed yet, because that particular ordeal has to be the most-dreaded element of this ghastly process, and I'm not giving them a rehearsal because I may never find Hamish again afterwards.

The Lovely Son has been and gone. The dog was in heaven; the cats had mixed views. Hamish forgot that he had ever met the Lovely Son before, and became invisible for several days; shameless Scooter emerged at mealtimes in the hope of titbits, but both made it plain that they weren't happy moggies, and that the bike in the hall was their latest object of terror.


We were happy moggies, though; we had a very easy, pleasant, distracting time together. The LS tackled some horrible little last-minute screwdriverish-type jobs for me. We dug some treasures up from the allotment to transport to Somerset. The rhubarb root (only a fragment; we left most of the three different types to continue their mission to take over the plot), has shown its enthusiasm by producing a few vigorous new leaves, bless it.



Two of the prolific little red gooseberry bushes are sitting in the yard now, their killer thorns looking perky and ready for their new home. The semi-derelict greenhouse has been tidied up for the new family who have taken over half the plot, and will probably take over the remainder when I go; meantime, I still have peas and beans, beetroot and potatoes, to gather in before handing over my key. In my head, I am planning my new garden.....


There was no way I would let the Lovely Son do any packing - his cavalier attitude and ruthless approach would be too nerve-wracking for me. Mostly, we spent time together, companionably reading, chatting or pottering about. We sat on the beach at Tynemouth, and sipped coffee from the cafe there, gazing out at a grey sea where surfers tried their best in the tiny wavelets; the Lovely Son indulged in a little nostalgia for the days of his youth when he shared a house in Whitley Bay, where he had fun. Whitley Bay nightlife is er... lively. He caught up with friends; I cooked carnivorous meals.


We tried our hand at basic Vietnamese for beginners; not an easy language, we decided, rolling our eyes a lot at the CD player and eventually giving up, defeated. The LS reckons he'll get by with pointing and smiling his way through Vietnam. Neither of us are adept foreign language-speakers. We feel cheated, somehow, of the good-with-languages gene - my mother, whose first language was French, spoke wonderful, complex, nuanced English, albeit with a strong accent, as well as fluent German, Flemish, and a smattering of Russian. We, however, are Hopeless; in particular, I am useless at grammar, which makes many of my remembered French nouns useless too.

I can, however, count from one to three in Vietnamese.....

And then he was gone. "See you in Somerset!" he said, as he pedalled off to the station.


Hamish appeared from deep cover as soon as the strange ogre with bike disappeared. To distract myself, I packed the attic wardrobe and one of the kitchen cupboards, and tried to believe that we really would be in Somerset next time we met.

Wish me luck! Muốn cho tôi may mắn.....

12 comments:

Rattling On said...

You've never said if you've actually exchanged contracts yet. That's the vital bit. No backing out after that, or at least not without having to pay up. Make your solicitors and estate agent earn their fees and do a bit of chivvying. I know what you mean about the cats. Ours used to howl on every journey, the longest move was about a five hour drive. I think we just got used to it in the end!

rachel said...

No, there hasn't been any exchange of contracts yet - that's why I'm so anxious! The buyer's mortgage provider (Abbey/Santander, for those who want to know who to avoid) is notoriously slow and the buyer hasn't even had his mortgage agreed yet, let alone arranged a survey...... Until there is some further evidence of commitment on his part, and an agreed mortgage, I can do nothing. Except wait, of course....

Susan said...

Dear Team,

merci !! for the very satisfying and detailed report, avec photos (especially one of the tiny dog who I will soon kidnap).

Your back garden looks lovely and we see plenty of one of our favs - lobelia. Doug of course is in the beginning stages of selling his house and thankfully doesn't have to worry about a house he's buying at the other end (29 Black Street) but in our many real estate buying /selling conversations it does seem as if the planets (and a myriad of other tiny yet complex details) must be lined up just exactly so in order for it to be mutually successful. And in your case there are 4 parties in the mix - so that would be mutually x 2 - you, the Dr. the seller in Somerset and the tenants. Yikes - that's a lot o'planets.

But ... we firmly advise - pas de worrying please.

cheers for now,
les Gang

mountainear said...

Buying and selling is such a pain. It starts out easy peasy and ends up a weasel's nest of complications and stress. It really should be possible to be beamed down in Somerset complete with chilled cats and dog to find everything in its place and tea and cake on the table.

Dan said...

I still cannot get my head round the fact that it's so easy to make an offer on a house and that people accept pretty much just your word that the sale will go ahead. I fully sympathise, and we've had our fair share of house sale woes this week too.
I'm very impressed with your Vietnamese!
Dan
-x-

frayedattheedge said...

I hope you haven't packed the corkscrew yet!! My motto has always been - when the going gets tough - have a glass of wine! Seriously, it is a very stressful time and I do know what you're going through, having moved several times because of Malcolm's job. When we were selling Malcolm's (late) Dad's house last year, my sister-in-law had to give the senior partner in the solicitor's a severe bollocking to get things sorted out!!

Lucille said...

I'm reliving some ancient house moving nightmares which I will not share, and despite them, edging towards a repeat experience, with a viewing this weekend. I am full of sympathy for you and so wish we could fast forward to your posts about your lovely new life in Somerset.

elizabethm said...

I remember this so well from our move to Wales - you whizz around being competent and organised and it seems that no-one else manages to do a thing until it all threatens to go pear shaped and then the proverbial hits the fan.
The very best of luck with it. I hope you have lots of interesting and diverting things arranged to do to take your mind of it!

Von said...

I said that once!When 12.5 acres of perfect land fell into my lap did I say no? You won't either, good luck, it will all be over one day soon.

Sue said...

Hang in there Rachel, hopefully everything will come right in the end.

the veg artist said...

I've been afraid to ask how it has been going!

Unfortunately, this lack of visible activity is normal. My solicitor is a personal friend, so for the last three moves at least I've felt that someone was on my side. When we bought this house, the vendors' estate agent was a woman I have known since I was a child - she was on my side too!

The only way around the will-they/won't they stress is to sell your house, arrange rented accommodation at the other end, then hope that you find something you like before you have spent all your money on rent! Most people don't do this (although I have, once, and it made me so laid-back that I forgot to phone the solicitor on the final day to see if I was the pround owner or not!).

It will come together in the end - we are all willing it!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Dear Heaven! I turn my back for two weeks and you learn to type in Vietnamese . Just don't be tempted to further your knowledge by investigating the weird comments in square cyphers that pop up fairly frequently !
Hope you get signs of progress sales-wise v. soon ....

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