Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The reccie ... day 1

I was so excited on the drive up to the ‘Shire (as apparently Aberdeenshire is known – correct me if I’m wrong!). The drive back home was a killer. I feel like I’m a country bumpkin trapped in a city with no possible means of escape. And we don’t even live in a city! You probably couldn’t get more suburbia than Birstall! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice area, convenient, green bits here and there and of course close to family, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Fortunately I’ve married a guy who feels exactly the same, and we’ve talked about moving oop Norf for a couple of years. Well we couldn’t get much further north than Aberdeenshire really, so that’s now the plan. Hubby works with the UK Border Force, so he’s quite limited in terms of where he can work. So we’d kind of resigned ourselves to the good life being a pipe dream – after all, what were the chances of a job coming up in the sticks? Well, quite good it turns out! So, he starts work at Aberdeen airport on 5th March, leaving lil ol’ me and the kids in good old Birstall. Hubby's just read that Scotland is the best place to find a job in the UK, and Yorkshire's the worst. Aberdeen has more jobs than people seeking them, result!
Our first “official” trip to Scotland was a reccie – Hubby needs a room. He did very well, organising viewings of five potential houses over the course of the Friday and Saturday of the 3-day trip. Friday was interesting – a farm, a smoking (suspected) witch, and a very quiet geek. The farm was nice – idyllic scenery, beautiful horses, but a bit smelly, and in the middle of being renovated. The witch’s house was OK – seaside (well, cliff-top) village, but she was a smoker with another tenant and no outside space. The geek was OK, new-ish house and he liked rugby, but the room was very small. All would be hard work and potentially smelly. We found the B&B, feeling a little despondent. On the other hand, we’d found the most amazing house to buy!! It’s perfect! A four-bedroom farmhouse right on the edge of a village, so I wouldn’t be in the middle of nowhere on my own with the children. I won’t go into the background of the sale, but basically it’s an absolute steal. Hubby was getting really annoyed on the trip up – we got to Aberdeen with loads of time to spare (according to the good old sat nav, newly purchased for the occasion). Then, of course, we hit traffic. Well, specifically, a round-about. Hubby was getting more and more frustrated with every minute that was added to the arrival time. The viewings were apparently being very strictly managed and we only had 20 minutes from 1.30pm to look around the inside of the house. When we finally got to the other side of the roundabout, the sat nav decided to take us through the city centre, which of course added about 45 minutes to our trip. Aaaargh!! Hubby had gone from pretending to be a gentleman’s appendage (don’t ask!), to a snapping, defensive idiot. He doesn’t handle stress well!
Anyhoo, after a couple of phone calls to the agent and a couple of wrong turns (it turns out the postcode covers quite a large area, beware!), we finally arrived and met the builder that Hubby's been in touch with. The guy works with the Agent so he's already got to work when we get there (only 20 minutes late!). Fortunately, unlike our imagined conveyor-belt of potential buying-competitors, it's just us! We can't believe it! The Agent is lovely, and swaps with her colleague when she has to be somewhere else, so we get lots of time to wander around. The pictures on the agent's website really don't do it justice at all. All the windows and doors are new, as are the kitchen and bathroom. The only thing really that's wrong is that it's been empty for a year or so - there's damp where they've blocked the fireplaces but not capped the chimneys, and there are a couple of slates missing from the roof. Oh, and they've taken the oil tank, how bizarre! There are steadings on the same land which originally belonged to the farmhouse, and they're up for sale with planning consent, which is, according to the Agent, only going to increase the value of "our" house. The lane up to the house from the "main" road is literally up the back of the houses on the edge of the village, which is perfect because I was worried about being out in the sticks on my own with the children. It's just a 5 minute walk into the village, which has a little school and everything but a pub, which is fine by us, we don't really do pubs.
So we wander around for quite a while before we realise we need to get a wriggle on to get to the first room that Hubby's set up to view. Thank goodness for the sat nav! So, back at the B&B we decided to turn the weekend into a bit of a Valentine's Day treat so we popped along to the local Indian restaurant - The Spice of Life in Inverurie. Very nice! We forgot it was Friday night and it was packed, and of course we hadn't booked, but they managed to tuck us away in a corner. Hubby had chicken shahlik and I had a yummy lamb kashmiri, and a shandy (I can't handle my beer anymore!). So we sat and ate and chatted, then e-mailed the builder with a list of the jobs we wanted him to price up. Got the bill, had a little mosey to the taxi rank but the first driver decided it was too small a fare to take, so we got in with Sheila of Sheila's Taxis who was a little bit scary - I couldn't decide how serious she was about the first driver being a lazy goodfornothing - at least I think that's what she said! I need to get a Scottish to English dictionary ...!

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