Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Ideal Home

It's been 23 years since my husband and I last moved house, but when my eldest son left home, last summer, it suddenly occurred to me that we were entering a different phase in our lives and it was possible that, in a very short time, we could once more be enjoying the dubious pleasures of house hunting.

We haven't made a habit of moving house since our marriage in 1976 and, when we were looking for our first property, we didn't have many requirements. We were both living and working in the Midlands, before we married, so our choice was limited to something we could afford and which was within reasonable travelling distance of our places of work. We finally found an old bungalow, which needed a fair amount of modernisation, but we lived there happily enough, until my husband was promoted 4 years later, when we were obliged to move a bit further south.

We were a little more discerning, when we were searching for our second property. It was difficult to find the sort of house we wanted, however, at a price we could afford, because we were moving into a more expensive area. On this occasion, we were again looking for an older, detached property, but with 3 bedrooms and a decent sized garden, in a village location, preferably with fields beyond. After endless searching, we eventually bought a neglected Baptist manse, which met most of our needs, but required a lot of repair work, before we could move in. Our mortgage payments doubled in size, as a result of buying the property and we spent a lot of money on renovations during the 6 years that we lived there. Our 2 eldest sons were born during the first 5 years that we spent in the house, but, by the time Middle son was 12 months old, I had set my sights on moving to a nearby country town. I had tired of village life, feeling that the whole family would benefit greatly from the wider range of activities and facilities available in a small town.

This time we were looking for a more modern detached family home, with as much space as we could afford. We were aiming for 3 receptions, fitted kitchen, cloakroom, one en suite bedroom, 3 further bedrooms, a family bathroom, double garage and a front and rear garden. When we finally managed to buy the house we had set our hearts on, we stayed put and, for the last 23 years, our home has truly been ideal. I shall be sad to leave the house where we have raised our family and made so many memories, but it will be too large for us, once the rest of our family has moved out, rendering the running and maintenance costs disproportionate for just 2 people.

Our requirements for our next ideal home, will be vastly different from the last. We don't yet feel ready to consider a complex for the over 55s, with House Manager, communal gardens, on site laundry, security door entry system and emergency call facility. We will, however, almost definitely be seeking out either a 2 bedroomed bungalow, or a house boasting a ready fitted Stannah stair lift and a downstairs toilet. A walk in shower room will be an absolute necessity, as will extra large windows to the front of the house, so that I can keep an eye on local goings on from behind my nets. A courtyard style garden, no bigger than a postage stamp, will also be high on our list of priorities, plus a garage big enough to house 2 mobility scooters, or one mobility scooter, with sidecar. Does anyone manufacture those? That's a missed business opportunity, isn't it?

The position of the house will be much more important this time. Views from the front of the property will hopefully include a pedestrian crossing, a couple of bus stops and a double decker bus at regular intervals of no less than 10 minutes, in each direction. Views to the rear should include the local Health Centre and hospital, which needs to be no more than 2 streets away. The house should be within easy reach of an extensive range of amenities such as the Co-op, Boots, Specsavers, the post office, the library, an NHS dentist (OK, now you know that I'm winding you up!), a hearing aid centre, a shampoo and set, a hostelry and the Crematorium.

We won't be considering any property, which stands at the top of a hill, at this juncture of our lives, as we feel that it would be too problematical. Whilst we feel sure that the trip down to the Cock and Bull, on our mobility scooters, would be a speedy delight, the return journey, after one snowball too many, could be meandering and tedious in the extreme, particularly if we roll down the other side of the hill, before I've managed to retrieve the front door key, from the bottom of my capacious shopper, and insert it, carefully, into the lock.

Finally, there is just one more requirement for our next ideal home, which I haven't yet mentioned. It simply must be within easy tottering distance of a cash machine, due to the fact that I am seriously looking forward to spending my children's inheritance.


Jennysmith said...

Good grief MMM, i'll come round now and help you to the toilet or something! You're a long time dead.

Funny i always have this fantasy of me and Husband buying a nice flat by the river once our two have fled. Sounds like it should be a ground floor one tho' xxxxx

Mean Mom said...

Jennysmith - That's such a kind offer! I'm waiting....

Rose said...

Having moved just a few years ago after living in the same house for 26 years I have no intention of moving any time soon--do you know what it's like to sort through 26 years' worth of accumulated junk?? I'm being extra nice, though, to my daughters-in-law so that when the time comes that I can't live here anymore, I'm going to move in with them!

As for spending your children's inheritance, I say go for it!:)

Granny on the Web said...

I am trying desperately to get hubby to see that a house with 4 bedrooms and an acre of garden is not conducive, to a relaxed retirement, and we should move on down... is that correct grammar? who cares! You know what I mean by the sounds of it.
Wish we were planning to move smaller, but a lot of work to do on hubby yet. You have given me the incentive to try harder on persuasion.

Love Granny

auntiegwen said...

Ah yeas, I only have 6 years to go and then when Beautiful Baby Daughter toddles her wee self off to uni, I can go and live where I want instead of in the catchment area for the school !!!!

Suburbia said...

OMG is that really all we have to look forward to?!!! Scary eh?

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

A girl after my own heart. We too are "downsizing" and keeping fingers and toes crossed. A x

Swearing Mother said...

STOP IT NOW!! You are younger than me, and talk of mobility scooters is really doing my head in!

Buy a penthouse apartment in Barcelona, spend your kids' inheritance on wicked bad-woman shoes, develop a taste for late night tapas.

And don't even think about stairlifts or I'll get really cross with you. :o)

Mean Mom said...

Rose - Lol! Yes, the junk is the really scary part. Always be nice to your daughters-in-law. They so often pull the strings. ;0)

Granny - Moving house has never been a very enjoyable experience for us, but I think it will have to happen eventually, if only for financial reasons. Don't know yet when younger sons will move out, however. I can understand why you are eager to move from such a large house. There would be less to clean, too, of course.

auntie - School is a tie in various ways. I was grateful for the education my children received, of course, but it was a bit of a relief when my youngest left.

Suburbia - Well, you may be one of the lucky ones, like most of my older friends, and spend most of your time going on holiday! I have some very 'well-off' friends! I don't think that I will be in such a fortunate position, so I didn't mention it.

Strawberry - I think that it makes sense to downsize. For me, it will be a wrench and probably stressful, but hopefully worth it. Hope things continue to go well for you.

Swearing Mother - I couldn't stop laughing when my aunt told me that she'd found a nice little bungalow she wanted to buy and that she could see the Doctor's surgery from the bedroom window! We've recently realised that we will eventually have to downsize, and somehow, my imagination ran riot and it all turned into a post!

Working mum said...

Buy a little pied a terre and spend that inheritance travelling the world! Grow old disgracefully and wear purple! That's what I tell my mum, anyway. She's all for it!

The Gossamer Woman said...

I'm very lucky in that I already live in a two bedroom ground floor flat and I am on level ground all the way to the supermarket, which isn't too far away and where there are two cash machines. I'm far from feeling my advanced age, though, and have enough life in me not to think of sensible shoes and mobility scooters. Retirement is for people way older than I am and always will be.

MarmiteToasty said...

I said to me lads the other day, when you have all gone I wont be needing all me pots and pans and a lifetimes worth of dishes etc, I will only need one plate and one knife and fork LOL.....

They looked at me like I was an alien.... I said a one bedroomed groud floor council flat will do LMFAO.... near clapham junction....

They now thing Im serious lol.....


Letty - A Little Girl With A Curl said...

oh my I read the first bit of this post and took it really seriously, dear me, I thought, she is taking a very depressed outlook on the future!!

Then I realised you were having a laff! Well partly I guess, perhaps you really do mean to move after so long in the family home.

I will have to have another read to extract the truth!!

We have been in our house here for 25 years this year, time has flown, so many happy memories and some sad ones. I would find it very hard to move now, except now I think about it, we are on the top of a very steep hill!! (;0D)

I am valiantly trying to catch up on all your news - just having returned from my mammoth Aussie Adventure. I do hope your son is better and back from hospital now.

more soon, Letty ;)

oh yes, it is a good feeling to spend the kids' inheritance!

Mother Mayhem said...

Make sure there isn't room in the new place for any boomerangers. I've seen enough horror stories. When they come back, they bring THEIR kids with them. EEK!

scrappysue said...

it sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I'm always looking at properties, thinking that's where we'll go when the kids are grown. They don't want us to move so I've told them I'm converting their bedrooms into a gym and sauna respectively.

Mean Mom said...

Working Mum - The way things are going, there will be no inheritance. Sons seem determined to spend it as fast as we save it. Oh, well - it was a nice thought.

The Gossamer Woman - I can see that you don't have much to worry about, then! The time will come when I really will have to consider the things I have mentioned in this post, but not just yet, I'm glad to say!

Marmite - It's funny isn't it, that sons can wind you up, but don't always see when you're doing the same to them? I love your remark about needing one plate etc. Sets just the right tone! Lol!

Letty - I'm so relieved that you realised I was having a bit of a laff. It all started because my elderly aunt was so excited when she found out that she could see her GPs surgery from her new bungalow. She made me laugh and one thing led to another. I think we may well have to move when the lads finally leave home. I will be devastated, because of all the memories in our family home.

Mother Mayhem - Yes, I've heard about that sort of thing too! It seems that many relationships fail these days. Scary thought.

scrappysue - Yes, there is more than I have mentioned. It is too much to burden everyone with. I wouldn't mind some good news, for a change.

wakeup - I've been looking around locally, for a while, for suitable properties. Not seriously, but just looking. It's all pie in the sky, at the moment. I suppose we could take in lodgers, as an alternative!