OK, it’s not Narnia, and I can’t get to it through the back of a wardrobe, which is a great shame, because that would be far better than the tedious drive it actually is. After getting the online agent all ready to go it seemed a good idea to go and see what I could get there, so I gathered a selection and went to stay with a family member (one of my reasons for going ) so we could go and have a scout around.
Trying to gather a nice set of properties to look at, visiting ones in similar geographical areas on the same days is a bit like herding cats. You think you’ve got it all organised, then it changes, changes, changes, until you find you have an entirely random set of places to see, scattered all around. But we managed, despite losing some of my favourites.
Fortunately I didn’t find anything I fell in love with, though there were a few I liked. I discovered I could get a lot less for my money, that I was going to have to get the hang of truly downsizing, but that the entire area (quite a large one) has some lovely places, one or two of which I would love to live in. I also discovered that estate agents are the same everywhere. The same shiny suits and arrogance, the same lack of caring for anyone but themselves. I mentioned to one of them that the stairs were quite steep and when I got old they might be a bit difficult. His solution? That I could always crawl up and down.
I remembered how many compromises there would need to be, that there wouldn’t be anywhere that I’d be completely happy with. I worked out what compromises I’d be prepared to make, and what were deal breakers. I listened to a load of bullshit from estate agents, and the only owner who showed us round couldn’t shut up, to the degree we couldn’t take the house in at all. This included a lengthy history lesson of the house and area, while he stood barring the way from the kitchen to the rest of the house, and a goodly helping of self aggrandisement. All serving quite the opposite purpose of the one he intended, of course.
Predictably there was the odd mess up by estate agents. We turned up at one place to meet one and there was no one there. I called. “It’s sold,” I was informed. I asked why they hadn’t cancelled the appointment. “Oh we did, Daniel left a message on your phone at home”. It didn’t seem to register that I was 300 miles from there, so wouldn’t be able to get said message. They didn’t care we’d wasted an hour driving there, and would have to waste another hour getting back.
We saw one or two horrific ones, one in particular which looked nice on Rightmove, but hadn’t been lived in for some time, a very old property, which was in a state of dreadful repair. But much worse, it had a most awful feeling, as if something truly dreadful had happened there. I have no idea if it actually had, but we both felt the same, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I felt haunted by the feeling for some time afterwards.
The end point was that I had a good idea what was out there, and was able to come home with lots to think about. I always like to be able to process things, and lots has fallen into place since I returned. I’ve ruled out one or two I liked, and felt more positive about others. I doubt the vast majority will still be there when I can actually make an offer anyway. It was good to do a heart/head balancing, to give myself some time to let it all sink in.
Sometimes there’s this god awful rush towards a conclusion, to achieve fast, to get wherever we’re going, even if it’s not a geographical destination. But really, other than the odd time when something just right crops up and you have to go for it, mostly processes and happenings grow like plants, need tending and watering, pruning and nurturing. We’re maybe a little too caught up in having everything now. I know it can be frustrating when things drag on, but I also believe that we get in our own way in our desire to control our lives, leading to the very reverse of what we wish for. It’s a hard art to learn, even when you know it through and through, because every event, every different phase in life, seems to require a relearning of these lessons, for me at least.