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.