Saturday, 9 April 2022

Decisions, Decisions........


my favourite Japanese Acer hidden under the shroud.



space - you need more?

Now that my desktop is back  I can finally get back to boring the pants off you. What fun. Why you keep on reading this drivel is a mystery to me.

For the past several weeks I have been in a state of permanent confusion. 
"What am I going to do, am I leaving, am I staying, what is best?" has been the refrain accompanying my days and sometimes nights. 

Nothing very dreadful has happened, but there are times when it seems that you have to make changes to your life; at the same time it is difficult to come to a decision that is both suitable and sensible.

It started with one of next door's scaffolders. "Lovely house you got here", he said, "must surely be worth a bit." The last time I had the house valued was more than five years ago, since then house prices have risen sharply and it is said that many town dwellers have seen the error of their ways during Covid and want to change to a calmer, greener pace of living. Working from home has made it possible and space and fresh air is now something to aspire to. 




more space, if you want to go exploring 

Space and fresh air I have aplenty, I needed an estate agent (realtor) to put a price on it. A smartly dressed man turned up in a largish gas guzzler with a bundle of glossy, colourful brochures under his arm. The brochures were specialist ones in their range of 'Fine and Country' properties, nothing commonplace and everyday for a property I had described to him on the phone as "with a location to die for". I wasn't even exaggerating, who else can say they live right next to an English Heritage castle ruin with three gates directly into its grounds? Estate agents in the UK have three requirements for properties out of the ordinary: location, location, location. 


'my castle'


The agent came up with an astonishing estimate, three times the price we had paid 23 years ago. The country housing market is in a fix, too many people chasing too few houses; that meant that the agent more or less begged me to put my house on the market NOW. With his firm. Quite innocently I mentioned that I had nowhere to go and that I'd have to dispose of lots of contents first. Oh yes, they'd be able to help all along the way, finding me somewhere to live and auctioning off my goods and surplus chattels. They do indeed have an auction house as part of their set-up, a reputable one (in case you are warning me off).

After quite some time and a long chat I finally managed to get him to the door without committing myself in any way. Since then I've been deliberating along these lines:

First and foremost: I like my house. It's large and so is the garden, but it is also convenient and comfortable. I know the village, my friends live here. I can afford modest help around house and garden and if (not when) I get too infirm to go upstairs I have a shower room downstairs and can turn my study into a bedroom. 

On the other hand, house and garden are too large for one elderly lady. I am a little isolated from the village and nobody ever comes all the way up the drive just on the off chance. Isolation means utter peace and quiet, and endless green space and fresh air around me. And then there's the neighbour and his shroud which is actually damaging a part of my garden for which they may not be willing to compensate me, in spite of having undertaken to do so officially. However, everything passes, as will the shroud.


the shroud along one side of my garden wall.
under it is their barn, their house is further away.

Then there's the money. I'd want to downsize of course, and although I'd have to pay a fair chunk for a new house I might have a (smaller) chunk of cash over. But, is that such a good idea? In the UK interest rates are minimal, inflation is high, property is the only valuable asset to have, unless you are rich, of course. I'm not.

All things considered, I think selling up and leaving my little haven now would be a bit silly. As I said, I like my house. I'll never find another location to equal it. When the time comes I will probably move into a retirement apartment, there is quite a choice in my county town and rather than move twice, once into a smaller house with garden now and later into a retirement apartment when living on my own becomes more difficult would surely use up more energy, nerves, stress as well as cash than is sensible..


the flower bed hidden under the shroud

I may be elderly (OK, I am) but mostly I forget about it. Unless admitting to my elderly status comes in useful, which it does, at times, particularly when I need physical assistance. Many elderly people start the gradual process of reorganising their last years much sooner than me and maybe I am being foolish. But, while I can, I would like to continue enjoying my garden in particular, for a little while longer.

Sorry, Mr. Estate Agent, but not just yet. Maybe next year, maybe never. I am not ready to discard my hand trowel for good.


PS: apart from the shroud picture all others were taken at different seasons.
It's a bit early for such splendour.




27 comments:

  1. I expect you'll be hearing from him at regular intervals now. It's good to know you have a solid asset, abd the luxury of deciding. I don't blame you for staying as long as you can.

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  2. You have wonderful views and being able to afford having a little help to keep things up is a blessing. Moving or staying is such a personal decision as we age. You'll know when the times is right. My tip is to keep an eye on areas you might like to live, narrow it down so if your health suddenly forces a decision finding the right fit for your next home won't be such a overwhelming job. Same goes for downsizing, doing a little over several years instead of putting it all at the end makes a difference.

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  3. I would certainly stay in that wonderful location for as long as I could. Love your garden, despite the aggravation of the shroud (and the neighbours).

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  4. I'm glad you're staying for a bit longer. It's such a beautiful place and you sure don't want to rush into such a huge decision. You made the right choice for now, to my eyes at least. :-)

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  5. Delighted you were going to stick for now!

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  6. I think your decision makes sense. I am a senior and am happy staying in my home. Like you said, why move to a new home and then some years later move again to a retirement home. So we are staying put for the time being. Your location is fabulous, near the castle ruins and gates to the castle property.

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  7. Your reasoning is sound. Why move twice, with all the hassle and money involved, when once should be enough?
    Hopefully, Mr Estate Agent will let it rest when you have informed him of your decision and not pester you with endless calls.

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  8. Good - dear Friko - this is a wise decision ... it's beautiful and you love it so much ... much wiser to wait a while and continue to enjoy. That's relief - decision made ... however frustrating that shroud is ...

    Presumably the builders can only work 8 - 5 or 5.30 max ... the evenings will be quiet and peaceful to enjoy your wonderful home. Makes total sense ... with thoughts and love - Hilary xo

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  9. Your garden is beautiful. I think you are making the right choice and staying for now.

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  10. I so understand your thinking about this, as I do the same. I have no castle, no shroud, but also no neighbors that I can see or hear and a beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east. I will try to stay for as long as I can because of my dog.

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  11. One ore thing It's lovely to have you back blogging.

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  12. Well, your "drivel" covers about the most important decision we have to make at our age, so we are actually anxious to read all about it. We downsized four years ago, into a smaller house in town, convenient to stores, doctor offices and a hospital (even tho' we're relatively healthy). There are no right answers for everyone, just a right answer for yourself. It sounds like you're making the right one for you.

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  13. Pushy real estate agents. They don't really care about you just counting their percentage from the sale. When I lived in the city and the neighborhood was undergoing gentrification I had real estate people out the wazoo wanting me to sell my house with them. Stay where you are, I agree, two moves in your future instead of just one is undesirable and such a lovely garden. You would probably have to start over if you moved.

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  14. Ooh, I'd have a tough time walking away from that place. It's just gorgeous.

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  15. Your choice is right, Friko. I love your garden with many beautiful plants. I would never leave this place.

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  16. I think you'll know when it's time to move. I knew when it was time to remodel our daylight basement and create an apartment with no stairs for ourselves. I'm starting to think about a retirement center now that my husband is losing some of his mobility. I suspect that's several years away still. I've been decluttering and downsizing for three years now. The time seemed right for that. Excellent to have household help as well.

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  17. You are blessed with such beautiful propertya nd garden. You will know when the time is right. For now, continue to enjoy. We receive daily mail from agenst asking to buy our house which is not on the market. Enjoy your beauty.

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  18. The biggest blessing is that you're able to make a choice -- or several choices -- about when or where to move. I envy that. I'll be stuck where I am until I die or end up under a bridge. On the other hand, having no family and no assets certainly does limit my options!

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  19. You can never bore the pants off me as I am not wearing any.

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  20. I think I would love living by your English Heritage castle-with-three-back-gates and a view of those hills and farmland. I'm sure whenever you decide to move, you will have no trouble selling your home. And, you have resources for some help now. And you love your home. I'm inclined to think if I were in your position I would wait, too. I'm quite convinced you will know when the time is right. If it is right. I love that you can choose!

    On another note, I'm not sure which is worse -- the big white shroud or seeing the construction. Quite the toss-up. I'm wondering how very close they are to your property that this is essential. It brings back very bad memories of our up-north neighbors (the bad ones) and their monstrosity. When they put in a tall, solid fence it was probably the best thing that ever happened!

    Well done, Friko.

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  21. You've reasoned out your decision well. Why leave a place you love when you don't need to do so? That is a MASSIVE shroud. I had no idea it was so large. Hopefully it will be gone soon.

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  22. Housing prices here are as you describe. I receive calls to purchase my home but decline since I am committed to the "aging or living in place" concept. "Thriving in place" might be a better way to state what I'm doing. Unfortunately, I have encountered some unexpected physical challenges but that's the gamble I've chosen and I still don't regret doing so, especially since this inconsiderate Covid virus came on the scene. Sounds like you've thought through how you want to proceed through these years ahead, for however long, so you being content with your decision is what is important.

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  23. Dear Friko, your readers are assuring you, for a variety of reasons, that your choice is a wise one. It seems that way to me. What really is important, as you know and as others have said, is that you be happy and content with your decision. More and more, I think of the song "For Everything There Is a Season." That surely applies to the decisions that we face as we age. A season to move; a season to be grateful for all that is; a season to celebrate a choice that is right for now and that can be re-examined when the body and the spirit feel the winds of change.

    Thirteen years ago, at the age of 73, I moved from a two-story, 1870 lumberjack home in Minnesota where I'd lived for 38 years, to a small home here in Missouri. I moved because of health. It took me four years to finally stop looking back at what I'd left behind and to start appreciating what I'd found. I suspect that others might have adjusted more readily. I needed to take seriously my mom's legacy to me: "Dolores, you find what you look for: if you look for good, you will surely find it. And if you look for bad, you will surely find that also." I spent four years looking for all that wasn't right in Missouri (especially the Republican politics!). Finally, I began to look at what was good and I found it.

    You, it seems to me, have looked for the good in your home and your garden and your decision and have found it. It's wonderful that you are being so good to yourself and so in tune with where you are right now in your thoughts and emotions and needs. Peace.

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  24. Friko, I heartily congratulate you on Easter. May these days bring peace and joy to your home. And I'm glad you chose to stay in your beautiful home. Love your view of the castle.

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  25. And I'm glad you chose to stay in your beautiful home. Love your view of the castle.

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  26. with a high property value, you could perhaps get a reverse mortgage if you need extra $ to continue to live comfortably in your home. it's gorgeous. it sounds like with a good friend or two, you'll be pretty darn comfy. love kj

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  27. You have made the right choice – moving is not easy. I am still driving 9 hours round-trip once a month between Nashville and Atlanta to clear my house in GA – it is so slow going. Also unless you move into the same area, it is quite difficult to make friends. I know no one in Nashville as Covid has made it very difficult to go out and find new acquaintances. Now you will keep receiving offers for your property I bet. I keep getting offers on my Atlanta house by mail, email and they even text me – almost every day! You are in a great location with a beautiful garden; enjoy it as long as possible.

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Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.