Writing Back for Christmas

Sing the title and you might get it. One of my late grandfather’s least favourite Christmas songs.

I am writing whilst basking in the radiance of my own fireplace. A gas fire was never on my wish list, but when it’s as cool as this one I can make an exception.

The fire is an evil villain lair-esque double sided contraption. The living room is somewhat different now from the marketing shots… (Also I don’t know who technically owns the copyright to these, but they’re pulled from the property listing by Lang Town and Country)

Yes, we took the plunge and bought a house. Our housing situation over the last few years has been complex. A combination of living with family, renting rooms, hospital accommodation, and exhausting the goodwill of friends. Not having a place to call our own, save a few rooms here and there, was starting to take its toll. Most of the hobbies I enjoyed were just not feasible to pursue. We needed space, and we needed it fast.

Part of the reason I haven’t written anything recently is down to the the house. Since the end of June, we’ve existed in an almost infinite number of states. We spent three weekends having strategic viewings and figuring out what we wanted in a house, then the fun really started. It may sound clichéd (it almost certainly will) but when you find the right house you just know. The italics are crucial here. You don’t just know, you know.

We knew pretty quickly (Image copyright probably Lang Town and Country, but it’s my house, so I guess I own the soul of the image?)

You take a step or two in and say to yourself, “I could see us living here. For real”. Some houses do take a while to impress, but in our experience those first impressions were everything. And when it didn’t happen, the rest of the viewing was pointless. Walking around a decaying house with nothing going for it, and having to smile and nod and repeat “I can really see the potential here”, which can also be read as, “This would make an excellent meteor impact site”. The ideal way to view houses would be to schedule about fifty appointments to walk through the front door of different properties – you’d know which one you could live with pretty quickly.

It starts with excitement. And then comes…disappointment. And exasperation. And eventually madness. House buying drives you to do some silly things. You can easily be entrapped in a bidding war for a house that might not even be the best option for you. The words, “You would need to decide quickly, as there is already an offer on the table. The seller wanted to let this viewing go ahead just in case” can create a mind frenzy. We must have the house that someone else wants! Thankfully that someone else had their offer accepted.

It has also pissed rain since we moved, so the sum total of hours spent in the garden has been less than one (Image copyright probably Lang Town and Country)

These things take time, as frustrating as that can be, though we were very lucky. Most sources recommend at least two viewings to make sure you know what the house is really like. We instantly ignored that advice, but could you blame us? When you find the right house, for the right price, with everything you wanted and more, it’s hard not to throw money at the agents.

Offer was made. Rejected. Counter-offer made. Accepted. And then the fun began. I emailed every RCS accredited surveyor in Plymouth and managed to get a survey organised for that week, and Sarah arranged conveyancing through a local solicitor. In theory solicitors with knowledge of the local area are better. In theory…

Our mortgage offer came through quickly courtesy of Barclays, and everything was seemingly in order for a smooth sale. And then we waited. And we waited. And emailed, phoned, messaged, hassled. It seemed as though it would never happen, and I had started getting pre-buyer’s remorse, searching for other properties for sale and finding flaws in the house we picked. And a mere three months (one eternity) later, we were opening the front door to our new home.

It has been everything we imagined, and more.

And with that, I am back in the writing game.

P.S. Apologies for the lack of a Halloween horror film from Newforge Studios this year. Most of my time has been spent moving and assembling furniture, doing DIY, decoration and cooking. And galivanting around Venice. I haven’t even opened my copy of Shenmue 3 which arrived a few weeks back, but I have been playing Nioh and Outlast 2 so expect some gametalk soon.

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