4th May

So today we saw the house that we’d liked best on paper and unlike the one I saw yesterday and loved at first sight I was initially disappointed by this one. I don’t know why but I thought that it would overlook open fields and instead of which there was a new and somewhat unsightly housing estate behind it. I’d also thought the garden would go back a long way and it clearly didn’t. Nevertheless we went inside to be shown around.

The house was nice inside there was a living room that went from front to back and a good size kitchen. Upstairs, past the stair lift, were 3 reasonable size bedrooms and a recently refurbished bathroom/wetroom. The lady explained that it belonged to her parents who had had a lot of work done to make it suitable for her mother to stay but in the end they’d been offered a bungalow and much to her dad’s annoyance they’d moved out. Once back downstairs again we were shown the downstairs loo and the utility room. Just outside the back door was a glass porch and again I was disappointed because I though there was a proper greenhouse and maybe this was the Estate Agent’s exaggeration.

We went outside and immediately outside the house was a small garden laid to lawn but to my right WAS the greenhouse and behind it there was a shed. The shed was huge split into 2 with all sorts of storage areas and drawers. Beyond these two outbuilding was a patch of ground that had clearly been used as a vegetable garden (with some rhubarb I noted) and on the other side of the patch was a Summerhouse.

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The Summerhouse again overlooked a gravel area and at the far end of the garden was another shed. Sarah was saying that she was having the summerhouse and it wasn’t going to be for my crap so I went down to look at the other shed. I was somewhat crestfallen as it could, at a push, have been used for my stuff but it did smell a bit damp and it wouldn’t really have been big enough or too ideal. I was really liking what I was seeing but somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t immediately see a space for my stuff. Then I remembered, or thought I did, that it had said something about an attic. I asked Sarah and she suggested I go and ask the couple.

The man showed me back up the stairs and opened the loft hatch. He pulled down the loft ladder and as I was climbing up it he said that the loft was fully boarded and plasterboarded. He also added that knowing his father-in-law it would all be insulated behind the plasterboard and not to be surprised if there was a train set up there! I got to the top of the ladder and my heart leapt for joy. I was standing looking at a huge loft space that could easily take all of my stuff and be an office if I do decide to work from home. I was smiling from ear to ear when I turned around………..the space I was looking at turned out to be less than half of the available space and behind me there was an even bigger area. there were lights and power and it was just what I needed to see!

We asked for their number just in case we wanted to come back and have another look and then set off to look at the next house. This was also near to the first house we saw yesterday and we got there in no time at all. However there was no one there! We waited and waited and rang the agent and eventually someone did turn up. He (or we) had been given the wrong time by the agent but never mind it was better than yesterday when we were booked into see the wrong house! It was a nice house overlooking countryside and had been nicely done out but it just lacked something and empty it looked soulless.

It still looked better than the next one which was the only disappointing house we saw all weekend. The owner greeted us with “knock yourselves out” and then told us the french windows did open but he had no idea where the key was! The last house was nice, beautifully decorated and clean. Sarah liked it a lot but we both agreed that it wasn’t really in an area that we would be happy in.

So that was all the viewings and we had narrowed it down to 3 with the one in West Auckland without carpets and an outsider. I suggested that we drive back to the areas and have a mooch about and see what we could find. The first thing we discovered was that the two houses we saw first yesterday were indeed a lot closer to each other than we’d though. They were both about the same distance from the local school, one up the hill and one down the hill. We had a drive around and could only find the shop opposite the second house so I stopped and had a chat with an old lady I saw in her front garden. It turned out that there wasn’t anything else close by and the nearest other shops were in Bishop Auckland, about 5 miles away. We pulled up at a bus stop and discovered that there were only about 5 buses each day between about 9:30 and 5:30 so without a car you probably be quite cut off. We decided that it might rule out these two houses so we set off to go to Tow Law and look round there.

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One of the things we had been keen to find was the community centre and we’d spotted it earlier over the road from the entrance to the estate. We parked in the car park behind it and headed into the pub as Sarah and Ben wanted to use the loo. Afterwards we walked down the road looking at the few shops and wandered right down to the other end of the village where the school was. We are still finding it amusing that if Ben goes to school here there’d be sheep grazing in the field next door. We walked back up the other side of the road and got back into the car. We drove round the estate and stopped so Ben could have a wee behind the garage on the edge of the field at the end of the close. Afterwards we headed off down to Wolsingham where the local secondary school before heading back to the Step mum’s for dinner.

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Before we’d even got out of the village I think Sarah and I already knew that this was the one!

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