Friday, 7 October 2016

The price of driving a bargain

I know that I have been AWOL again. For a good  reason. Well goodish. Back in May my mouse and I spent rather too much time surfing the Internet. The result was a problem with my neck and a weary mouse. In an attempt to give my neck a chance to recover I awarded the mouse a well earned rest, but every time that I picked up the mouse my neck complained. The only thing to do was to have a complete break from using the mouse and the computer. Needless to say I have found other things to do with my time and my mouse has got used to being idle. Enough of waffle and excuses.

Since January 2015 I had been looking, on and off, for a replacement car. Like all of us my car, Bluebell was ageing and needed money spent on her. I had decided on the make, model and colour that I was looking for. Now it was just a matter of finding it. With each MOT, tax and insurance anniversary my search intensified.  Then wained, when I could not find what I was looking for. Searching via the Internet allowed me to view all possibilities countrywide and saved what would have been many fruitless trips out to second hand car showrooms. Last year's prang, although repaired to look like new, had left Bluebell with a rattle and the driver's door window did not always shut as tight as it should. If I was going to change the car I realised that I would have to consider an alternative colour. So that decision made, it was not long before I found a car that was a possibility. In addition to being my second choice colour of white silver, it was older than I really wanted and the details supplied by the dealer sparse, by comparison with other cars that were also for sale. Over the course of the next few days e-mails flew between myself and a salesman at the showroom, that had the car 30 odd miles away. Eventually I managed to prize out of him the information that I wanted regarding the car, which appeared to be a middle of the range car without many extras, but it would suit my needs. Now it was decision time. Did I want the car moved to the local dealer so that I could see it? Yes, I thought so, but before I got around to asking for that to be done, I followed home from the supermarket a top of the range model that I had not considered. In fact, you do not see many of them about. It set me thinking. So there are some benefits to doing the supermarket shop. It did not take me long to establish that the local dealer, just two miles up the road, had two or three possibilities, all within my price range and more suitable colours than the car that was 30 odd miles away. OK they were all older. I reasoned that if I bought an older car, that I just would not keep it for so long.

What I have ended up with is a silver grey top of the range car with a lot of extras, which I would never have specified and shall probably never use, but at £10 more than the low specification middle of the range alternative it seemed to be a bargain buy. It has cost more to tax and insure, but it is fun to drive even if I do not need the extra power. More importantly a silver grey car is a more practical colour than white silver for someone who lives up a muddy lane. And those heated seats will come in useful in the winter won't they?

Monday, 27 June 2016

Something to celebrate

Away from the doom and gloom and turmoil in the UK, husband and I are celebrating our silver wedding anniversary in Agios Nikolaus, on the Greek island of Crete. As we had met on the Greek island of Alonnisos, when we decided to go away to celebrate our anniversary we thought where better than somewhere in Greece? We had been here before a couple of times and been smitten by the place and the hotel just outside the resort, where we are staying. The weather is reliably hot and sunny. The food is good. All the ingredients for a super lazy week in the sun. Sadly we return to grey, wet England tomorrow, but for now here is the current view from my sun bed.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


I do not think that we were being unrealistic, when we went away at the beginning of February, in expecting to find some changes to the lane, on our return five and a half weeks later. This is our lane taken from the end of our drive, looking towards the bottom end of the lane and the main road, which is really another lane.

It looks like a country lane, but we are not really in the country. We live on the outskirts of a village, a few miles from Chester. There ar just three houses in the lane, with a fourth house at the end of the lane on the main road. We live in the middle house - a Victorian cottage. It was originally two farm workers cottage, which have been knocked into one at some point in the past. Then various owners have altered and extended it. Both of the other houses are modern having recently been rebuilt. They have also both been for sale on and off over the last few years. Consequently we have been expecting that we would have new neighbours for some time now. Living next door to a house that is for sale is unsettling. Will the house sell? And if so when? Then there is the uncertainty of not knowing if your new neighbours will be to your liking. Would you be better off if the old neighbours stayed?

After a couple of sales had fallen through, the first house at the bottom end of the lane sold eventually, at the end of October last year. We had been given some brief details about the new owners and we were interested to see what our new 'lane mates' would be like. Husband has met the wife and two children and we have both met the husband, when they were making one of their many vists to the house, but seven month after they became the owners of the house our new neighbours have yet to move in. More than once they have said that they will be moving in in the next few weeks, but the house continues to stand empty and unloved. The garden, which has had no attention for some time, is fast becoming a wilderness.

Then turning in the other direction towards the top end of the lane and the farmer's field, again photographed from the end of our drive.

The house there has also been for sale, on and off, for about eight years now. We were delighted when we found out that the current owners of this house were trying to sell, as we have never got on with them and we know that the wife has never liked it here. This house has also had offers that have not proceeded to a sale, if we are to believe what we have heard from the neighbours. There is a bottle of champagne 'on ice' to celebrate when they eventually go, but it is looking increasingly as if it will be vintage by the time they move out. Before we went away in February we were told that this house was 'under offer'. Consequently we had high hopes that by the time we returned, the house would be sold and we would have some new neighbours. Imagine our delight when we arrived home to find a different car in the drive of the next door house. However, it did not take us long to realise that we had the same old neighbours with a new car! The sale, if there ever had been one, had fallen through and the neighbours had decided to take the house off the market and stay put, much to our dismay.

We have even thought about moving ourselves to put an end to all this uncertainty, but have not seen anything that would suit us and after all the effort that we have put into the cottage we really do not want to be starting again with another house.The lane is looking paricularly good, at the moment, with the hawthorn/May in flower and I am left wondering why wouldn't anyone want to live here?