Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Weekend That Was: Home Cooking Come Rain or Shine

After 7 months of frustration, dreaming and asking ourselves a lot of questions, we think we have finally decided to take our house off the market. Oddly enough, this decision comes a few weeks after another couple made an offer. Sadly, it started off as an offer far far below the asking price - and has only just started to improve.

The fact is that because the offer has only just increased to what was our very bottom line, this has forced us to ask questions about whether now is actually the right time to move, where we would move to and how this would affect our lives in the near future.

There are several reasons why we wanted to move house - although it's ideal for a commute into the City, which is why Alan bought it (well before I turned up), I work in Canary Wharf and it takes me easily 80 minutes to get into work. I work long and sometimes unpredictable hours, and it can be tough sometimes getting home about half an hour before I want to go to bed (yes, yes, I know if I lived round the corner from the office this might still be the case, but at the moment I do this regularly)!

Secondly, our house is not walking distance from the station, and the bus service inexplicably finishes at 7pm and is non-existent on Sundays. I don't drive (a sad accident involving a driving test, failure, and moving to a city as a student where car use was far from necessary), and even if I did, the idea of driving separately to the station every morning seems ridiculous. So at the moment I find myself dependent on Alan being willing to pick me up from the station, or having to get a taxi, if I have a day or evening out without him. Fine for the short term (so he says!), but certainly not ideal for the long term.

Thirdly, the house is lovely but it isn't a family house. It isn't where we envisage setting up our family, and although that won't be for a while, it's certainly at the back of our minds.

But then against that are other issues we had to think about, and which seemed so clear when we first put the house on the market. I will find out in December whether I will be staying at my current firm, and although I love my job and want to stay there, I may not have a choice. This then has an onward impact on where we live - an easy commute to the City is not the same as an easy commute to Canary Wharf, and the former gives us far more options that we would be silly not to consider.

Secondly, we have booked our wedding on the basis of where we live now, and we are now keen to stay close to this area where possible.

We debated renting, but this is also not ideal. Reading Esme's recent post on Any Other Woman, and recalling the time my friend and I came home one day to a notice to quit from our landlord simply because he wanted to move back in, I realise how lucky Alan and I are to have a house. We have space, we have a garden and although it's taken time for me, it suddenly feels like our home. We can decorate, we have security, and paying the mortgage is not money down the drain. Yes, we want to move, but renting just anywhere as quickly as possible no longer works for us.

The odd thing is, that if this other couple had made an initial offer that was somewhat nearer the mark, we might not have had this conversation, we might not have asked these questions of ourselves and we might have rushed into something that wasn't quite right for us - and although we are not necessarily looking for a house for life, it needs to stand up to at least five years of family Godfrey-Iwaschkin.

This weekend's cooking:

Fish pie

Butternut squash and chilli soup

Cardomom loaf (l); Chocolate and currant loaf (adapted from recipes by the Hummingbird Bakery)
A quick snooze in the brief Sunday afternoon sunshine!

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