17 September 2017
The main photo is a view from the house I am interested in buying – and although it’s hard to tell from the image, the garden is generally Southerly facing and located in the picturesque old part of the town
My summer work is now over and my time is occupied by searching for a house to buy – and it’s not been going so well! Lots of driving and nothing to show for it so far. Or is that true?
I had forgotten just how stressful moving house was and why to we block those moments from our memories? This has sent my emotions in to highs and lows. I have had many days of tears during the past month. I have been working on controlling how my emotions affect me too. Time is slipping away fast and the move out date is creeping up on me daily. Three times, I thought I had found the house I could buy and each one has fallen through, the longest taking over two weeks to find out. I am sorry to dominate the opening part of this to moving house but this shows you how it’s affecting me right now.
It’s Saturday evening and I have opened a nice bottle of Bordeaux which may send me to sleep or allow me to consume the whole bottle. Let’s see! I simply fancied a nice glass of wine. The first bottle I have opened at home for many weeks
Yesterday, I drove back to the town where I am trying to buy for a 10am meeting and to view a house bang in the centre of the town. Something I have had basically given up hope of finding due to house prices. But this one looked (online) as if it had potential. I chose to ignore the comments of my friend Karen who suggested it wasn’t the nicest part of the town to live. All I could think was, I just was lucky to find a house at all in the town. With that said, I arrived at the house and was greeted by a very pleasant agent Joelle, who took me around the property. Good size rooms and a garden too. But a fair amount of work to modernise it, albeit the house was habitable as it was. After taking some photos as reminders and commenting that I would give it some thought, I left saying that I would let her know very soon if I was interested or not.
My next appointment with a property agent was just around the corner to the house I had viewed, so I was punctual and arrived at 11am. This is the point where day began to shift in a new direction, and nothing I had not planned for. I entered the offices and introduced myself to the young woman sitting at her desk, informing her that I had an 11am appointment. By her reaction, it was clear that it wasn’t with her. She replied that her colleague was out of the office, but she could go through houses they had for sale and began taking details of my criteria. Shortly after, the phone rang. Oddly it was her colleague calling in and learned that I was there. Apparently, she thought she had given me an afternoon appointment, she couldn’t be back until 3.30. I quick decided that I did not wish to drive home after seeing only one house and agreed to the time. All I could think at that time, was how was I going to kill over 3 hours?
I decided to find a cafe and have a coffee to reflect on the house I had just seen. So, off I went towards a bar I had visited before with Karen. The sun was shinning, I put on my sunglasses and strolled along the old streets of the town. For a moment, when I arrived at the bar I thought it may be closed, as it’s that time of the year where they close and go on holiday after a busy summer season. Suddenly, the owner appeared from the bar and greeted a small group of English people looking at the menu, but they were merely browsing and walked off. I asked him if I could order a ‘demi’, a 50cl glass of a draught beer, and sat at a table outside. I sat pondering on the morning and what my options were. Before I had finished the glass, it began to lightly rain. I moved under a parasol on a nearby table, determined not to be deterred by the weather. But nature chose to be a little harsh and the rain became heavier, I was forced to go inside the bar. I sat down at the bar and ordered another drink. Across the restaurant was a table of four men, there for their lunch and waiting to order. I had already heard the owner announce what the menu of the day was and I didn’t like what was on offer. So I asked if that was the only dish available? To which he replied, no there is the menu as usual. I had not planned to eat while I was out, I was expecting to visit a few houses and then return home. Hopefully, having found something of interest, that I liked and wished to buy.
Anyway, that wasn’t happening so far – obviously! So I chose a dish from the menu and was seated at a table for two by the window, where I sat with my glass of beer. The owner being the only waiting staff, came to the table and took my order, asking if I wanted wine. I often make light conversation when I am in such situations and asked if he had a good summer there after declining the wine at that moment. Yes, it had been fine, he replied. I explained that I had been cooking in a restaurant for the summer and was in the town looking for a house to buy. He quickly said, and I am looking for a chef! I chuckled to myself thinking how funny that was.
We carried on chatting on and off until my meal arrived. He talked about the food they offered and I explained that I enjoyed cooking Indian, Chinese,Thai, Italian and other styles of food. I thought that may not have been of interest, as their menu was typically French, and not great at that. Low Trip Advisor ratings too, I later discovered. To my surprise he appeared to be very interested what I had said. I must have stayed for an further hour or more with us talking, compacting our lives, work etc into a short space of time with brief sentences. We got on well and there was a nice rapport between us. Out of nowhere, he passed a beer mat to me with writing on it. He had written the name and address of someone he knew that was selling a house in the town. In a better location that the one I had looked at and perhaps more importantly, a private sale. I thought how kind the gesture was and remarked accordingly. Suddenly, it felt as if the sands had shifted dramatically. It was a slightly unsettling feeling, although it felt good at the same time. It made me stop and think about the moment. It’s important to recognise these moments in your life when they occur. They can change things forever if you can be aware of opportunities that arrive from apparently nowhere. I paid my bill, we exchanged telephone numbers and I was invited to contact my new friend Philippe as and when I move into the town.
Feeling quite unexpectedly happier, I walked back to my car to try and locate the house on my phone but the connection was poor. A man arrived at a car parked next to mine, I jumped out of my car and asked him if he knew the address. I eagerly shoved the beer mat in front of him so he could read it. He thought it was probably very near the church in the old part of the town. Now, it was feeling even more strange. The house was just around the corner to where I just had lunch! Was this all too much to be a coincidence?
I programmed the address into my GPS and arrived a couple of minutes later outside the house. It was only a one minute walk or less from the restaurant! I noticed a handwritten sign on the door with two phone numbers on it. After parking the car by the church, down the hill and at the end of the road. I walked back to house and wrote down the numbers. One I had already called, but got no reply.
I walked back towards my car as I dialed the other number. A woman answered, she sounded a little weak and I thought that she was possibly unwell. She didn’t sound like a very old person, simply tired and weak. I explained that I had been given the number by Philippe the bar owner and began to ask questions about the house. She asked if I could call back when her husband was home later that evening. I was pleased that, I had at least made contact and knew that the house was still for sale. Better progress than on previous houses I had been interested in.
I got into my car and began to make my way back home. I had a strong feeling that I had seen the house on a property website and decided I would search once home. I was keen to learn more about the house and why I had not selected it to consider before! Almost home before I remembered, I needed a few items of food, so I stopped off at a supermarket near my home. When I say near, it’s a 15minute drive away. Believe me, that is near where I live right now.
I arrived home and was immediately greeted by my lovely Bertie, who was very happy to see me home again. I quickly unpacked my shopping and began the online search. Within 10 or 15 minutes, sure enough I found the house. I am still struggling as to why I had not selected this one to look at before! The rooms look in fair condition and spacious too. 110sq metres of property with 2 cellars, a terrace and 300sq metres of land. Generally a Southerly facing garden with a view across the valley, river and viaduct. Quite something on a sunny day! How did I pass this one by? I believe, originally I restricted my choices to houses that were independent, so this one never made the list. Since then, my idea of what I need over what I want has changed. I am now prepared to consider a terraced house which this one is.
At least the searching online and looking at the property details kept me from being anxious about the call I needed to make that evening. I waited until around 7.30 before I made the call. The woman answered again and I explained I had called earlier about the house. She called her husband and we spoke briefly about the house. I asked the all important question – when could I visit to look at the property?
He thought for a moment and said, the following Thursday. My immediate reaction was to ask if it was possible to see it sooner. No, came the reply swiftly, Thursday morning at 11am!
I agreed and a gave my contact details in case of any problems. I now find myself being excited again by the prospects of a pleasant house in the town where I would be happy to live. Add to that the chance of working one minute away from the house, is quite extraordinary. My only reservation is if I really do wish to work in a busy restaurant again. And in a full time capacity! After my experiences of working this summer and just long weekends, leaves me somewhat uncertain about that choice. However, I have plenty of time for reflection on this and I will see how I feel as and when I move to the town.
I am trying not to count my chickens just yet!!