Back In The Chain, Gang!

It’s funny how, when you look back on “horrible times” after they are all sorted, you then can’t really imagine or appreciate why you were such a worrywart/dick about the whole thing. Human nature I suppose.

Having sat and stressed all last weekend about our property predicament, Monday came……and then went without any progress from the potential buyer of our buyer’s house. He was still fannying about speaking to his mortgage advisor, Childline, The Samaritans and anyone else he could speak with to inject further delay before actually doing something crazy like making an offer on a property he wanted to buy.

On Sunday afternoon, I had contacted our estate agent to express my lack of confidence in this chap ever actually doing something and said that we should get our property back on the internet. We’d been holding off doing that as this chap was “really close” to making an offer and sorting the whole thing out. Having given him a week, it was time to do something. Louise might tell you that this was her idea, but don’t let her fool you.

So by tea time on Sunday, we were advertised again and we were feeling suitably annoyed that every house we went to view had 412 offers on it within seven minutes of being on the market and here we were still looking for a buyer who had a buyer, who had a buyer etc etc.

By early afternoon on Monday, we had a call to book a viewing in. So we did for that evening. I admit I had little to no hope of a new viewer being the saviour we needed but absolutely didn’t mind spending hours preparing the house again.

So, we tidied up, again, and got the house into a state that suggested nobody actually lived in it to make someone think they wanted to. Louise was working a late shift so Emily took the dogs out whilst I showed the couple round the house.

I made all the same small talk I had made on the other viewings, and did my best to sell them probably the most expensive thing they had ever bought in their lives to date. They made all the usual noises about it being lovely and off they went. My spirits were not soaring with hope and expectation. We were, I thought, still relying on “delay man” to rescue our chain.

Earlier that day, we had been told that our buyer’s buyer (delay man) had a final call with his mortgage chap at 10am on Tuesday after which he would know whether he could offer or not. Sigh.

Tuesday began and at 9.30ish my phone rang and as by now I know our estate agent’s number by heart, I knew it was them. Expecting another tale of delay and dither I answered with zero expectations.

They were calling with feedback from the viewing the day before. Apparently, the couple liked it. The tone of voice being used suggested an incoming but. However, the call took a mighty fine turn when they told me they wanted to make an offer and it turns out it was exactly the same offer we had accepted from the last ones to do a similar thing.

Joy, deep and long-lasting, flowed and it was only surpassed by a huge sigh of relief. I tried to call Louise, many times. I messaged her, many more times. She did not reply. This was not unusual as when she is at work she can often have her hands in places that do not facilitate them handling a phone. However, this went on all day and the news that she had waited over a week for could not be delivered because, as I would discover when she got home, she had left her mobile in our bedroom!

Even when she returned home, I was then on endless work calls, and it was only an hour later that I was finally able to tell her the good news and a large dark cloud lifted from over us. For now (I do recognise, these are early days in this process) we had a buyer, a chain and no reason to think we would lose the house we were hoping to buy.

As much as I overshare all sorts of crap all over the internet and have for years (Louise still berates me for the Vagisil episode from a trip report a million years ago), I’m not going to post a link to the property we hope to buy here. It may, of course, all fall to pieces as the UK property market seems to exist as a deck of cards that the slightest tremor can destroy but it feels a bit crass to be doing stuff that could be a bit “braggy” when no doubt many folks are struggling at the moment.

We have been incredibly fortunate that the pandemic has not impacted us financially and we have been able to carry on with our long-held plans to upgrade the house a bit. I will though, share a couple of photos so you get an idea of what it’s like.

I guess now we can now claim to be truly middle class as we will have an Orangary!

And that, as I believe they say, is where the magic will happen!

Again, let me attempt to keep the evil forces of bad luck away by stating that we have a long way to go until we know for sure that we’ll be living there, but compared to this time last week, we feel better about it.

Typically the house we are hopefully getting does not fit the exact criteria that we set out as essential when we started this process. It shows that house buying is more of an emotional thing than a logical one. Firstly it is over budget and secondly, it doesn’t have a few of the things that we thought would be deal-breakers.

Ultimately it felt right and struck us as a really lovely family house that would serve us well for the next stage of our lives that will hopefully be filled with grandkids and rats (Emily has expanded her rat family again this week!). It is also within the geographic boundaries that we wanted to be in so that we can still be close enough to our parents to help them out and borrow DIY tools from my Dad.

If nothing else, the endless stress and occasional joy of this process have distracted us from the endless shitshow of the pandemic. My “are we going on holiday in March meter” is at rock bottom. I just do not see what will change by March that will see holiday travel being allowed again. That then leads into a spiral of doom, as that scenario may well be terminal for airlines and theme parks. So, with that in mind, I hope you can forigve the indulgent smugness of talking about spending some cash on a house.

Till the next time…….

Battles, Bruises and Baxter.

It’s been a bit of a week really.

I think both Louise and I feel pretty battered and bruised by the last seven days for different reasons.  I have done a mini UK tour, taking in London on Tuesday, which is always a chore and never a pleasure, and then Newcastle over Wednesday and Thursday.

I always find traveling for work, especially when mixed with overnight stays tiring and laborious, especially when the venue for said overnight stay is the very glamorous Premier (you must pronounce it Pree-Meer) Inn.

After a one meeting jaunt to London on Tuesday I drove up to Newcastle on Wednesday morning to open our new office there.  There was no gathering of local dignitaries unfortunately.  The grand opening was pretty much just me, carrying a new PC, and our new starter.  To his credit he settled in very quickly, and the two days passed without much incident.

One highlight of the stay was dinner with Steve, my ex-colleague, but thankfully not ex-friend.  He was in Sunderland on that day so we had arranged to meet up.  Every day is indeed a school day as when we came to order our pre-dinner drinks in the exclusive Pree-Meer Inn bar, the two Guinnesseseseses we ordered were served up from a tin, looking all flat and uninviting, but then they were placed on some contraption, in a little pool of water, and as if by magic, agitated into a fully fledged perfectly acceptable pint.  It was as if I had just witnessed the invention of fire!

Food wise dinner was OK, but it was great to catch up with Steve, and I only rubbed it in a little bit about our recently booked trip.  I have to be gentle with Steve as I never know when we will next need loan of some DVC points or a dog sitter!

Towards the end of dinner, we were delighted to hear the dulcet tones of the fire alarm.  Of course everyone sat looking at each other for a good few minutes hoping to not have to move, but alas the staff ushered us outside.  Now, up in Newcastle I am classed as a southern jessy, and I confirmed that status by coming close to death whilst stood outside in the sub-zero temperatures of an early May evening.  It was bloody freezing, and of course being a resident of the hotel my nice warm coat was enjoying itself up in my room watching some channels it shouldn’t have been.  Well, that’s my excuse for them appearing on the bill!

newcastle fire engine
It was too cold for snow!

Eventually, the fire engines came and went, and we were allowed back in to thaw out.  Steve set off for home and I watched crap telly in my underpants.  Don’t worry I did go to my own room first!  It truly is a showbiz lifestyle I lead.

Homeward bound…..

So there you have my bruising week.  Whilst I was living the Vida Loca by the Tyne Louise was having all sorts of fun and games with the vendor of the house we are buying.  This fun and games was made all the more interesting as she is “family”.  I won’t go into details here, frankly as we are all now absolutely sick of talking and hearing about it.  In summary the survey on our new house flagged some issues, and these had a material impact on the valuation the bank gave to the house, and in turn to the amount they would lend on it, and so began two days of heated debate about us trying to “rip her off” etc etc, when it was absolutely nothing to do with us.

That is the tip of that iceberg but it shall remained submerged here.  All I will say is that you would not believe some of the goings on if I wrote them here anyway!  Suffice to say, we ended the week in a position where we can progress, and the move is still on.  This was not the case for some of the week, so it has been a bit of a roller coaster.

So we arrived at the weekend, thankful to hear the bell for the end of the fight, and for the extra day off, and needing a good sponge down, running repairs to a couple of cuts, and some words of wisdom from Buster Meredith. (He was in Rocky(s))  Excellent use of brackets there!

Holiday wise, there hasn’t been much time to drool over Disney websites or plan too much, but I did manage to book the minivan, and start to put a plan together.  The plans so far involve a meet up with Jakki, Steve and the kids whose names I dare not try to spell.  We have arranged a golf day for the men folk where Steve and I will be easily beaten by a man in his mid seventies.  I love golfing in Florida! Then that same evening, the Cooper and Williams clans will convene at a suitable Applebees for feasting before invading Epcot for fireworks and frivolity.

The only other thing we’ve committed to do is return to Daytona to watch the Cubs play baseball whilst we eat!

The weekend so far still has not yielded too much time for Disney planning as we’ve been busy with other things.  There is still tomorrow of course but that is Rebecca’s birthday, so much, no, all of her day will be spent readying herself for her birthday meal tomorrow evening with five friends, and Louise and I will be on taxi duty.  I hope they eat well before they come!!  Rebecca has a new outfit, shoes, jewellery and enough make up to keep the cast of Chicago going for months.

After spending this afternoon at a steam fair I shall be doing similarly exciting and sexy things tomorrow no doubt.  Garden Centres, Stannah stairlift demonstrations and walk in bath showrooms will not be safe from me.

To be fair we had a nice afternoon at the Last Drop Village.  We met up with Mum and Dad, and my brother and his wife, who took their dog Baxter.  Much hilarity ensued as he and Oli spent about an hour chasing each other and playing like things possessed.  I think they tired each other out so it has been a peaceful evening.

He’s eaten a whole wheel of cheese.

We entertained Louise’s Mum for tea, and then spent our evenings watching films we’d seen before or browsing the internet.  Louise was looking at stuff we can’t afford for our new house, whereas Emily was watching YouTube videos of the Fantasyland expansion to see if anything new would be open when we go.  Not much will be it seems, but my obsessive planning ways seem to have made it down the family tree well enough!  My work here is done.

Speaking of which…

Till the next time…..

Cut, Thrust, Stab.

It has been a week of offers, counter offers, industrial espionage and daring do, of the likes not seen since Gordon Gekko bought a new pair of braces.  Yes, that’s right, we have been embroiled in the cut and thrust of property sales and purchases this week.

gordon gekko
Not a penny under the asking price, and the lounge curtains are non negotiable!

Following our viewing last Sunday, the working week began with an offer, the obligatory derisory sneer from us at such an offer, and from there a spiral of further offers, poker faces and letting folk sweat, until at some time on Wednesday we received an asking price offer.  This is not the glorious victory it may sound like as we had reduced said asking price by a chunk in previous weeks, however, a win is a win as they say.

We were glad our viewers were able to get there financially as they were lovely, and we will be delighted, should the next couple of rocky months deliver us closure, to see them live in “our house”.

For our part, we have had our house picked out for, well, a couple of decades really.  The house we want has been in Louise’s family for nearly thirty years, and my Mum and Dad have lived next door to it since 1984, so we are quite familiar with it.  We offered, and it was accepted.  All very painless really, mainly as we’d agreed the price with Louise’s family member up front, but again, I’ll take a win where it comes.

Following the abject horror of discovering the full extent of the legal costs in simply buying some bricks and roof, I recovered enough to instruct someone to handle it.  For the prices involved, I expect him to rebuild it brick by boring brick to ensure it is fit for purpose.  The bank have agreed the mortgage in principle, that principle being that I will continue to be their bitch until I am close to death, and so we have the wheels in motion.

So with all that admin and faff complete literally by 5.30pm on Thursday, we could no more as Easter arrived to shut everyone down.  Whether we now wait six weeks or twenty-six, is now in the hands of a lawyer I found on the internet and some call centre mortgage clerk just outside of Birmingham.

To celebrate spending large amounts of money, Louise and I went out on Friday night to, quite aptly, TGI Fridays.  It is the closest dining experience to the US we have in the UK, whilst at the same time being so far away from it, as to remind you why you want to go back so much!  Upon arrival, it was busy, and we were handed a vibrator and told to go to the bar.  I’ve heard about these types of drinking establishment, but haven’t yet visited one.

A tenner’s worth of wine and diet coke later, and we are soon seated.  The food is good, there is no denying, although the waiters all seem a little forced, rather than the natural good moods and charm of their US brethren.  However, as I drove home on the receiving end of Cheesy Nachos, a Chicken Fajita Salad and Cookie Dough Cheesecake, I certainly felt full enough to imagine I had just eaten US style.  The only difference being that on holiday in the US, I would be doing all that again within a matter of hours.

The long weekend is doing us nicely, with not a lot going on beyond planning stuff for the (hopefully) new house, with even the girls getting quite excited about the prospect of their new rooms, and the sheer volume of expensive tat that they can procure to, as Louis Walsh might say, make it their own.

Every year, pre Easter, our house echoes with the cries of “Girls, you’re not going to get as many eggs this year as you are too old now”.  This is all in vain, as now, there is so much chocolate in the house, I’ve had to hire a couple of oompa loompas to stock pile it.  We usually find a couple of Emily’s eggs down the back of her wardrobe just before Christmas, whereas if Rebecca’s make it to Tuesday that will be a new record!  Dad might just have to help out a little I suppose!

Before I get back to my restful long weekend, I need to express my thanks for everyone who has taken the time to “Like Me”.  This is not an outward expression of my neediness,  no, I keep that to myself mostly, but more a recognition of all those who gave a toss enough to get over to Facebook and like my new Mkingdon page.  I still don’t know really what will happen there, but we seem to have had fun this week??

mkingdon fb

Finally, we’ve had a make over here at  I don’t mean that I have parted my hair on a different side, although I might!  Instead, I have changed the look and feel of this here blog, as it had been the same for ages.  I hope you like it, but if it gets the same sort of reaction that a change to Facebook gets I expect to receive the parcels of dog poo through the letter box shortly.  The internet is odd like that.

I hope you all enjoy the break and love eggs.  Wait, no, love eggs is something altogether different and in no way related to Jesus.  Still, whatever floats your boat.

Till the next time……