A belated post to let you all know – whether you wanted to or not – that we have finally completed on Mount Pleasant! Relief tinged with some sadness, as we enjoyed our 7 years there, and it was our bricks and mortar contact with the UK. I suppose it represented a bolthole if all went pear-shaped here, but nearly a year in and all is going well. We sat up until just after midnight here waiting for the e-mail from the solicitor to say that contracts had been exchanged and completion achieved. Every silver lining has a cloud though, and it seems that on that very same evening, there was some aberration in the financial world and the exchange rate – which had been moving nicely in our favour over the last three months ($2.65 to the £ in May creeping up to $2.89 to the £ late in October) – plummeted to lows not seen for ever (£2.45 to the £) ! Sod and his Law spring to mind or maybe just that lesser known Scottish Robertson curse! Fortunately the pound rallied again to $2.66 and so we shifted our money as soon as the cheque cleared in the bank! I am sure there will be many of you who say that we should have hung on to wait for it to improve but, to be honest, we just want our money here where we have some control over it (aka spend it!!).
As a result of selling Mount Pleasant we have started house hunting with a vengeance. As you know the house we are living in is up for auction in a couple of weeks time so we really would like to find something before Christmas. The agent who is selling this house phoned up today to check whether he could do an Open Home on Friday and he asked how our house hunting was going and which areas were we looking in. I replied that we were mainly looking in Hillcrest but had been starting to look a bit further afield just to see what was about. He then said that he possibly had just the property we were looking for in Fairfield Downs. On further questioning he sheepishly admitted that it was the house our Landlords live in which they are also selling!
We have spent the last couple of weekends trawling the papers and the internet, have even been to a couple of auctions though haven’t bidded, and visited countless Open Homes. We have also spent far too much time cleaning this house to make it spick and span for the Open Homes here every Sunday! Yesterday, one of the agents picked us up and drove us round a heap of houses, some of them open homes, some private viewings he had arranged from a list of house we had given him. It is really difficult to juggle/balance out all our criteria – we have seen some beautiful homes that are in the wrong place, some dreadful houses in the perfect place, some wonderful gardens with awful houses and some great houses with pitiful gardens! Where do we compromise? Do we go for a great house with a pool and spa (Aonghas’ main criteria!) and reasonable garden which means we have to commute to work through traffic (admittedly nothing like Ingleton to Bradford) or a great house with a small garden within cycling distance of school (Lachlan’s criteria) and work? Difficult choices to be made, and we would have preferred to have made them without the pressure of our present rental being sold under our feet. But, hey ho! that’s the way the cookie crumbles! There are worse choices to be made in the world! We have seen one that we have arranged to look at again tomorrow which is a pretty strong contender, though we may walk in tomorrow and wonder why we wanted a second viewing! It is fairly close to school and work, a light airy feel to it, a reasonable size garden, though the house is in the middle of the section rather than in one corner or at an end, which means there is no big expanse of garden. It is beautifully decorated and modernised and is a good size so it “ticks” lots of boxes. It has a comfortable feel about it so we wll see…! I’ll let you know next time. Goodnight!