I don’t know exactly how it happened, but having publicized our reasons for dissatisfaction with our current residence, we suddenly found ourselves seriously contemplating a novel idea: How about we finally look for another place to stay? There is a big question whether we will be able to repatriate this summer, and if we do find ourselves having to spend another year in the UK, we might as well improve on our location.
That’ll mean making a few sacrifices as well, most likely. We only have one area in mind, Blackheath, which brings Becky to the doorstep of her school, me to a much less schedule-dependent commute, and all of us in general to a more out-going lifestyle. The first requirement is that the house sits no farther than a 10-minute-walk from the center of the village and the train station.
There are practically no houses on the rental market in Blackheath area comparable in size to the one we inhabit now. To combine a good deal with a good location, we need to downsize our existence a bit. Like give up our nice garden (which we take advantage of far too infrequently for that to truly matter). And leave no space for house guests to stay with us in the future (which is a bummer, but then, how many people are actually thinking of coming to visit us in near future?). Our minimal requirement of 3 bedrooms plus either two reception rooms or a reception room and a study is considerably less than the accommodations we have had in the last 10 years.
Anyway, we are people of action. No sooner we decided that we should give it a try, than we had moving estimates arranged for and several viewings scheduled. There are literally a dozen of real estate agencies in Blackheath village. Today, we saw three available places with three different agents.
The first turned out to be a smallish dump on the outer edges of our search radius, with a tiny closet impersonating “a study”, and no same-floor bathrooms for two of the bedrooms. As soon as we stepped inside, we knew it was a non-starter.
The last was an apartment, not in too great of a condition, but in an excellent location just a few hundred yards from the village center. Besides its obvious appearance of slight neglect, it also was mis-advertized: It only had 3 bedrooms and 1 reception room, with no space for a study. Another no-go.
In between those two, though, we saw a beautiful townhouse also shorter than a stone’s throw from the village center. Immaculately maintained, fully furnished, currently occupied by the owners, who plan to be traveling around the world in their retirement for the next few years. It has only one shortcoming – its size. There are only two true bedrooms, so the lower-level reception room – it would go for a “family room” or a “den” in the States – will need to be used as a bedroom as well; fortunately, it is served by its own bathroom/shower suite. The study, while bigger than a closet, is not big enough to function as a reasonable bedroom – there is no way we would be able to convince Kimmy to accept that as her room, seeing that each of the two bedrooms are downright princely, – and is probably too small to fit two workstations. And we certainly would not be able to accommodate more than a single house guest at a time – who would have to be willing to sleep in the living room.
But it’s what I call a workable option, for starters. And we have two months to look at other properties and figure out whether we really want to do it.
At the very least, we found something to be excited about…