648 Moving experiences, part 14: July/August 2015

11th July 2015. Last Saturday (4th), a combination of a short walk, a bus, two trains, another bus and another short walk took me to Howard Park in Letchworth where I found hundreds of people enjoying a bright sunny day, and among them six adults and five children celebrating my granddaughter’s forthcoming birthday. A good time was had by all, but, with no disrespect to the event, it wasn’t why I was in Letchworth; nor was the test of stamina involved in getting there.

Serious business was at hand; househunting on the Monday, ably assisted by the organizing skills of one daughter and the driving skills of the other.

In the course of a very busy Monday we visited five addresses. One of them was wrong, and when we got to the right address nobody was home and we couldn’t get in. A visit to the Norton Hall estate was a very cheerful and friendly experience, but the only available ground floor flat turned out to be just too small. Another flat elsewhere, very affordable, would have been just about acceptable but would have meant junking a lot of prized possessions. Best of all was the first one we saw, a two-bedroom ground floor flat in pleasant surroundings, which would have room for everything I really want to take with me.

I have made an offer very near to the asking price. Internet research reveals that at that price the present owner will have a £50,000 profit compared to what they paid two years ago; which is probably why they seem not to be insisting on the full asking price. It is near the top of my intended price range but not out of reach.

Having got home fairly late on the Monday evening I drew breath on the Tuesday and then started preparing for the next visitor to my house. Wednesday and Thursday whizzed by as I tried to do the things I would have done at the weekend, the things I had planned for those two days, and some housework in preparation for the visit on Friday.

This latter was a return visit by a couple seriously interested in buying the house; as their own sale has moved on quickly they wanted to take another look, and visualise their ideas for some changes. I’m still not counting any chickens but prospects remain good.

That accounts for one week of the fortnight. The other week was uneventful; the usual housework, junking and packing. I’ve got nowhere near the Glastonbury recordings and I haven’t checked for Ely yet. There hasn’t been time to do much to the Esperanto books and periodicals, but two parcels are ready to go to the Esperanto Centre and a third is well under way. I have at last finished the first run-through of the main kitchen cupboards; the under-sink cupboard will probably come next. The kitchen worktop is cluttered with all sorts of mainly small items; sorting these in combination with other collections in the lounge will take a good deal of time without clearing very much space. All I can do is begin at the beginning and continue until I reach the end. There was a very full bin of rubbish, and on the Monday evening after getting home, at about seven minutes to midnight, I remembered to drag it out to the front gate.

All in all, very routine stuff. On this occasion 60 cassettes have gone in the bin. 26 Esperanto cassettes remain to be copied; when they are gone I can make serious inroads into my own collection. On Wednesday I have to find my way into Ipswich for a hospital visit, quite possibly the last before the house move. Getting there, being there, and getting back will take up the whole day, and I’ll have to entertain myself in Ipswich for about four hours, which is no more enticing than it sounds. Other than that, the next reporting period will consist of five housework days, three library days, three days off, two each of Showroom and Office, a Music Day, and the opening of the Latitude Festival (it’s in Suffolk and I’ve never been there!), not to mention my 68th birthday.

Your homework for today: spot the song title quoted in the text above.

27th July 2015. The first week of this session seemed like a holiday. A working holiday of course, but still relaxing and enjoyable. Some of it was music, some was Esperanto, and some was both. Starting with the last part, I have now copied all of the Esperanto cassettes onto this computer and I can now get on with the editing, backing up, and uploading, which will take a while. In the Esperanto library department, three parcels are now ready for the Esperanto Centre, with a fourth nearly complete. The sorting and packing of for-sale duplicates has reached the letter R, as has the sorting and weeding of duplicate and/or incomplete periodicals. This work is now pretty certain to be finished before the house move.

Having finished the Esperanto cassettes I’ve moved on to my own cassette collection. At its peak, about 15 years ago, there were about 800 of these; I’ve been gradually replacing them with CDs and now 428 cassettes remain, to be replaced or copied to computer. I’ve also started listening to as many of the CDs as possible before packing them. Despite the easy availability of YouTube, Spotify and other services, I’m sticking with CDs as they are the surest way of hearing everything now and then without overlooking things, and they include a lot of live performances which remain difficult to get hold of. I rather doubt I’ll hear all 1163 CDs before the house move. As a result of all this, 110 cassettes have gone in the bin, which is a new record.

And of course the housework goes on. Currently I’m dismantling a couple of unwanted wooden bed frames that would make good firewood. Some of the junk on the patio has fallen to pieces enough to go in the bin. In the kitchen, I’ve started clearing the under-sink cupboard, which will take a while as it houses not only all sorts of DIY tools, but also numerous small glass jars containing a random mixture of nails, screws, nuts, bolts, washers, Rawlplugs and curtain hooks, and these are not much use if I have to spend ages looking for the one item that I need. I should have sorted them out years ago.

All of this changed on Monday 20th with a phone call from the Estate Agent; someone who had looked at the house wanted to take a second look. They are not the first people to do this. As they were coming on the Saturday aftrnoon I started getting ready on the Thursday (“Office Day”), cleaning and tidying downstairs, particularly in the kitchen, which was in some turmoil following the activities described above, then on Friday (“Day Off”) upstairs, especially Bedroom 1 where a large pile of books had collapsed on the floor. The Saturday was, at least, a housework day, and housework was indeed done.

So the couple turned up; amongst the myriad faces that I’ve seen in recent months I vaguely remembered theirs. They definitely like the house (so do I) and can afford it. The complication is that they want to extend the kitchen to roughly double its present size, and are wondering whether they can raise funds for that. They have already noticed that the oil tank would have to be moved, and the long west wall would need to be supported. They may not have considered the plumbing. Presumably the kitchen sink could just be turned 90° onto the [new] north wall, to avoid re-running all the pipework and drainage; likewise the washing machine. But the heating boiler would also have to be moved, as the opening where the steam and fumes go out would otherwise be brought into the kitchen area, which would cause some unpleasantness. Moving the boiler would complicate the pipework, as currently the hot water tank is immediately above the boiler, and any other position of the boiler would mean that at some point the water supply would have to move horizontally in order to meet the hot water tank. It’s difficult to make this clear without diagrams, but I hope I’ve given some inkling of the difficulties.

Anyway, that’s their worry not mine. One way or another I’m pretty sure to escape from here sooner or later. While they’re working that out I can proceed to the next working fortnight, which will include six housework days, four days off, two each of Showroom and Office, and two library days.

14th August 2015. If you’re in a Twitter frame of mind, the headline is that Mill Farm House is very nearly sold and No. 91 Wissen Drive in Letchworth is very nearly bought.

If we’re in Facebook mode, we can take a little more time, and start with things nearer to everyday life.

My spare moments are mostly taken up with the music collection. I’m working through my music cassettes making sure that as much as possible gets transferred to CD. So far I’m up to tape 98 (of 492). As I mentioned last time, once there were more than 800 cassettes, so I’m getting somewhere. As a result 40 cassettes have gone in the bin.

But it isn’t all work; rather than just bung the CD collection in boxes, I’m listening to them (it’s what they’re there for) whenever I’m at work in the kitchen. Spuds and carrots have been accompanied by Victoria Williams, Richard Thompson, Värttinä, and many others. Less productivity, more fun.

Packing, sorting and discarding of course continues, also in the kitchen. I’ll need much less DIY kit at the new address, and the kitchen is the packing room for whatever I decide to keep; and the ever-hungry rubbish bin is conveniently nearby.

Very little library work has been done in these two weeks, but I hope to have another consignment of parcels ready for the Esperanto Cenre before too long. I’ll be taking a trip up there shortly and if I can work out how to get connected the next report may well come from there. I’m nearing the end of the unwanted periodicals but the duplicates for sale have stalled somewhere around the letter T.

But this isn’t what we’re here for; it’s the house.

The putative next resident has made a third visit, this time accompanied by a gentleman, described as an engineer, probably retired, who looked at the house from a structural point of view and assured the prospective purchaser that a few cracks in the plaster don’t necessarily mean the house is about to fall down. The whole thing was cheerful, positive and friendly.

Meanwhile in Letchworth the search has moved a few yards down the road from the flat I first looked at, to another which seems if anything more attractive; I have made an offer which has been provisionally accepted. It’s a modern two-bedroom flat, conveniently located in a quiet part of town. This probably sounds like agentspeak, but it’s an accurate description. If anything I might perhaps have liked somewhere a bit noisier (us old people don’t always want tranquillity) but there don’t seem to be many noisy places in Letchworth.

All of this is naturally “subject to contract” and the whole thing could still fall through leaving us back where we started; we shall see.

One Response to “648 Moving experiences, part 14: July/August 2015”

  1. Debora Says:

    In fact, the organising skills of both daughters were used!

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