We’re moving house… again. Not too far, this time – we’ve bought a house, still in the same city, but its ours (and the bank’s!). A small, three bedroomed semi-detached home – the box room is going to be my study, and we have a guest room for visitors. Nice big kitchen/dining room, and a comfy sitting room. Small garden. All we could want, really!

Its led to a great deal of stress though. Yes, as I am frequently being told, moving house/buying a house is one of the most stressful things you can do. I know all that. It still doesn’t change our experiences. We put an offer in on the house at the beginning of July; and we got the keys last week, and move in tomorrow. This is a two house chain, so it should have been relatively straight forward. The vendor’s solicitors caused the hold up – here’s a free tip for you – never.. EVER go with the solicitors that the estate agent offers you!!

What it has meant, though, is that we’ve not known when we were moving for a very long time, and this in itself has caused a lot of stress – not being able to plan anything or say “yes” to anything because we simply did not know if we would be moving or not. I have also signed up for a Masters in English Local and Family History, studying part time. I’ll hand in my dissertation for that in January 2017, which right now seems like a very long way away. That started last week, so I’ve been in the pleasant position of starting my MA and trying to move house. Arrrgghh!!

We’ve been focusing on getting things sorted out at the new house. My study was a ten year old girl’s bedroom: Pink hearts and One Direction posters. That had to be redecorated PDQ! Michiel was also keen to redecorate the room that would be our bedroom, in order to make the house more “ours”, rather than the previous vendor’s. In doing this we’ve discovered all kinds of problems that the survey did not (and should have) picked up. There is a strong possibility that the house needs rewiring – which was not reported, and had we known we’d have dropped the offer some – and the previous vendors weren’t great at DIY, took a number of cheap shortcuts that didn’t obviously show at the time we viewed but we’re seeing now. So that’s very much affecting how we view our new home.

However, I think its important to remind ourselves. In many ways, the new house is no worse than our current one, that has definitely been mistreated and unloved for a number of years. At least the new one has a working boiler – this one is very intermittent, which was okay in the summer when we only needed hot water (shower was on a different system) but now it is starting to get colder we’re starting to wish it was working, although given the boxes of books piled in front of the radiators in different rooms, we couldn’t turn it on even if it was working. And at least the new house is ours – with no interfering landlady who takes everything as a personal affront when things go wrong. I’m seriously dreading giving the keys back because I really think they’ll try to stiff us on the deposit, although we’ve reported everything to them.

So. moving tomorrow. We leave this house with very mixed feelings. Its a quiet home – despite the busy road we live on, with buses trundling by every few minutes – the back is quiet, and has fantastic views over the city, which come into their own on fireworks night and new year. This house has healed much of the damage that our old home did. When we moved here three years ago, and sat outside in the peace and quiet of a warm September evening, with no shouts of kids or people arguing or the fear of having our windows chucked in…. we cried. We still have the fear that our new house may be like the old one. It is ex-council stock and some in the area still rent from the council, but the deed is done and we must move. But then, I think we’d have this fear regardless of where we moved and we couldn’t afford a lot. This house has also seen me complete my degree, seen the death of both my grandmothers… seen many changes. Its seen happy times too – Christmasses spent with my mother, the visits of Michiel’s parents, happy times with friends, graduation. For all the problems associated with this house (the infrastructure, the landlady), it has been a good home to us and in many ways we don’t want to leave. I think If we had had the money to buy this house and do it up, we would have given it serious serious consideration.

I just hope that the next house offers us the same happiness. It’ll be a long slog to get it put right – not least the saving up to pay for it all – but given time, we’ll get there.

Goodbye old house…. I hope someday you find owners to love you as much as we do, because you deserve better than you’ve been treated before us…

[* line from a song by Paul Young, “Whereever I lay my hat”, originally released 1983. Printed copies of lyrics are widely available on the internet, video available on YouTube.]