Saturday 11 November 2023

Big things and new beginnings…

 I’m a shockingly bad blogger - I know. Tease you with mentions of a “big thing” happening, start a Frugal February and then go AWOL yet AGAIN - and let’s be honest, it’s far from the first time that’s happened, but still. 

I did finish February in a similarly consciously frugal manner. Clearly by now though I have no recollection of what our spending levels might have been, and to be honest I think things have well and truly moved on from the good old days of almost cash-neutral months thanks to various survey sites paying out copious vouchers and that sort of thing. Seems amazing thinking back that it was ever even possible, does it! About the best we can realistically hope for these days I think is that sense of mindfulness about what we are spending and how we are making our money work for us. 

I’m sorry, what? Oh - the Big Thing? Ah yes, sorry, got distracted there didn’t I! Well in many ways it could be said that it was far from frugal, as it did in fact involve us spending more money than we have ever spent in our lives before,  and even going back into debt again - but don’t fret, it is all in a good cause! Yep - those of you who guessed that we might be thinking about moving house would be right on the (considerable sum of) money!  We made the decision just before Christmas last year - various things have changed in our lives in the past few years and for now, we have accepted that the eventually intended move up to the Hebrides is right for us, but not right for us right now -  so with that in mind we decided that a more local move was right for us at the current time. Our flat went on the market in the new year, coincidentally at pretty much the moment the bottom fell out of the market in the area for flats of its type,  and we started casting an eye around to see what sort of thing we might want to buy. Our wish list was essentially fairly simple - our search area was most of the town we live in currently, and a couple of small towns close by, we knew we wanted a three bedroom property to allow room for MrEH’s working from home and also the voluntary role we fulfill with the Great British Beer Festival. Beyond that we were open to ideas. We had an offer accepted on a fabulous little house with the most wonderful garden - the history in it was incredible with it having been lived in by the same lady from when it was built in the late 1950’s until she died a short while before. Sadly due to the aforementioned issues with the market for flats, the property was then put back on the market - at the time this felt like a real low point as we had rather fallen in love with “one careful owner” as it had been dubbed during the process. 

Finally in May we received an offer on the flat at a level we felt comfortable accepting. In the meantime we had also done some thinking - we had been assuming we would buy at a lower price-point with a view to doing work - extending perhaps, knocking through a kitchen into a dining room…but remembering back to the upheaval of having what amounted to pretty substantial works done on the flat with the back-to-brick renovations of first the bathroom, then the kitchen, we began to question whether we really wanted to face living in a property while major works were done again. We second-viewed One Careful Owner - realised that on top of our other plans it would also need a full rewire, and with heavy hearts had to accept that at this point in time it just wasn’t for us after all. There were other reservations there too - a very small living room,  and a general lack of storage compared to what we had been used to. It was a tough decision because emotionally we were very invested in the house - but it was definitely also the right decision for us. 

Within days of getting the acceptable offer on the flat, a browse on one of the property websites showed us a fabulous house in our very local area - more than we could have dreamed of but equally right at the very top of our budget. We both agreed we wanted to view it as quickly as we could, and the second we walked in through the door we knew we had found our new home. We offered the next day, and after a little negotiation over the days following, we reached an agreement with the lovely sellers very quickly. We could hardly have dreamed of finding somewhere more perfect for us - a large kitchen diner, three decent sized bedrooms, a garden, an outbuilding providing a separate office space for MrEH, and the cosy sitting room I am in right now, in front of a blazing fire… 

See - pretty decent, eh? We’ve been here since the beginning of September - but it feels in many ways like we’ve always lived here. The sellers were downsizing, so we were fortunate in that they were terrifically generous with furniture they no longer had space for - a dishwasher, large fridge freezer and leather three piece suite sold with the house for a ridiculously low sum, and several other pieces left (by agreement) free of charge. It’s made a huge difference to our set up costs in a place which is basically double the size of what we moved from. We’ve also been fortunate that their decorating style is also very much aligned with ours - lots of soft colours giving the ability to add splashes of colour with soft furnishings made is ideal. We’ve made one change of colour in the kitchen diner changing a panelled wall to a deep, inky blue - the  light flooding in through the three velux windows in the extension roof means the room can definitely cope with dark colours - and we have plans to use the gorgeous soft brown we used in the flat in the third bedroom, now being used as a combined reading room and dressing room. Other than that though, there is essentially nothing much we need to do at all - inside, at least! We absolutely love the house though - coming home here make me smile every time I walk in through the door! 

So there you go - a big enough “thing” for you?!