Among the pigeons

It’s been a while since I posted, and to be honest I thought it would probably be a while longer. Next steps were all arranged – a week’s holiday in Devon – and between now and July all there was to do was print off timetables and colour in bus routes on my new Ordnance Survey map.

We like to go to National Trust properties when we can (which isn’t all that often). It’s a good way for us to get out of London, be around plants and gardens and get some exercise in the grounds. On Sunday we headed for Stowe House in Buckinghamshire, ready to walk around the lake and look out for snowdrops.

I can’t remember what made me think of it, but sitting in the car I said, “Harry, did I read you that email from Angela?”

“Estate agent Angela? From Narberth? No… when was this?”

“I don’t know, a couple of days ago? She sent over the details of some new development. I didn’t think you’d be interested.” We had said that we’d consider new build, in the right location and at the right price, but I always thought that I was more into the idea than Harry was. And we’d been clear with Angela that new build would be second choice, with a character property being the ideal.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me! Read it to me.” I fished in my handbag for my phone.

So: the location was good. Really good. Shops, bus stops, leisure centre, GP all within an easy walk. Station a little further, but then the station’s somewhat out of town. The right sort of size – bigger, in fact. Garden and garage. A quiet development in the process of being built. Harry was getting excited, and I could feel myself getting excited too.

“Well,” he said. “Well. This creates a dilemma. If we saw something we really, really wanted but now, or in the next six months, rather than the two years we’ve been working to, would we go for it? Could we go for it, financially speaking? Because this would tick so many of our boxes and we don’t know when something like that might come up again.”

It was true. In a small town, waiting for a character property that met this many of our criteria could be a very long game indeed.

We went for lunch in the café, where we talked about the house. We went for a long walk in the grounds and we did see the snowdrops, but we talked about the house. Every so often we tried to give ourselves a reality check. The house wasn’t even built. It didn’t exist. Someone else might have put a deposit on it anyway. Our estate agent friend might do some digging and uncover some major flaw in the design or location. It seemed like such a long shot.

That was Sunday afternoon. It’s Tuesday morning and I feel like we’ve done nothing but talk about and think about this putative house ever since. It’s become impossible not to get progressively more excited with every view of the floor plan, every read of the specification. We’ve exchanged no end of emails about it. “Anything from Angela?” Harry keeps asking, and I keep checking, and lo and behold there is something every few hours. Angela is on the ball.

We are both struggling to rein ourselves in, and failing pretty badly. At what point in the building of a new house do you specify any particular needs? Can we have a kitchen with space for a table? Can the kitchen door have a cat flap? Where is the nearest animal shelter? “Anna!” says Harry, “we need to stop. It could all come to nothing.” Five minutes later he is on his phone, scrolling through the plans again. “It looks to me like the garden goes down to this boundary…”

So yes. The cat is well and truly among the pigeons, probably via the flap. Everything we thought we knew about timescales has gone out of the window. We could face having to put our flat on the market much sooner than expected.

Or it could all fall through. Angela’s investigating and will meet with the agent and developer on Monday. She could come back to us with an honest recommendation to drop the idea after all. She could have to report that someone just pipped us to the post. We’ve emailed her a long list of questions to be asked on our behalf and she’ll write up a little report after the meeting. We just have to patient until the report comes through.

It will be very hard not to spend the seven days browsing for kitchen tables and rescue cats.


This blog shows you the most recent post first. To see where our journey began scroll down or click here





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