After the disappointment of losing Ivy Cottage we had to move on and find somewhere to live. Time had been passing during the failed negotiations, all too quickly in fact, and although our purchasers were being understanding, we did feel obliged to get a move on.

We had been lulled into a false sense of well being over the few weeks following our sale thinking ‘Ivy Cottage’ was the one, now reality had dawned we began the huge task of finding an alternative, suitable property. We’d always assumed this would be the easy bit, but in truth it turned out to be anything but.

We trawled the Internet. Whitby to Grantham, Skegness to Penrith. Lists were made, further Internet investigations followed which helped weed out a few non-starters. Such as the cute cottage which in reality was set in the grounds of a Tescos car park or the gorgeous old brick cottage sat smack bang opposite a pub. How do estate agents do that when taking their photos?

Short lists were drawn up and drive by viewings commenced, even though Google Streetview had allowed us to discard many undesirables before we left the house, we still had to drive many hundreds of miles and kiss a lot of frogs.

From these ‘short lists’ an even shorter list was compiled of properties worthy of internal inspection.

There was the detached 1980’s bungalow that looked like a cottage, we made an offer just under the guide price, but they wanted much more than the guide price.
The 1930’s style house on the river bank, that we both loved, with a burglary problem.
The old station house that wasn’t detached despite what the advert said and had ‘light industrial units’ over the garden fence.
The old coach house, with the lovely garden, that wasn’t big enough to swing a cat (apologise to Leonard).
The sad detached house in the ex mining village awaiting a decision on an incinerating plant on the site of the old colliery.
The pensioner bungalow that made us sad; the modern bungalow, beautifully presented and squeaky clean, but no view; the perfectly good bungalow but backing on to a ‘brown field’ site which could hold lots of future problems.

This was likely to be the last house we ever bought, so we had to get it right.

No matter how we tried every potential property had a drawback. I thought that was bad enough, but then things took a turn for the worst.