Dot writes: we’ve started house-hunting in earnest. No longer is our search confined to long, bickering sessions trawling myhome.ie: we’ve actually begun viewing houses. And, God help us, we might even make an offer soon. There’s a house we’re going to see on Saturday that I think may be The One. Then again, there was a house we went to see last Saturday that I thought might be The One, but it turned out to be round the corner from The Broken Arms* and an extremely boarded up house that might as well have Please Light Fires in Me sprayed on the front of it. Pity: the house was big, cheap, very close to a good playground, and even had a second bathroom that, being ready-plumbed, could easily have been converted into a small home brewery. Which is, of course, the top priority when one comes to fit out a family home.
It’s a little hard to blog effectively about the house-hunting because, although this blog isn’t awfully anonymous, and although I published a picture of our current house and will probably publish pictures of the new one when we get it, linking to myhome.ie so you know what I’m talking about would mean provide the actual addresses, and that seems a bit much. But I can mention a few things we have learned. First, the people who take the pictures for the website do a pretty good job. You realise this when you see the houses and find out how much smaller they are than they looked online, and how cleverly the photographer snapped the kitchen so that the revolting oven with the broken door was behind him. (The oven is not really a problem because we would almost certainly buy a new one anyway. But you see what I mean.) Second, it’s wise to prepare a list of questions beforehand. Given how much time you could end up spending in this place, the viewing feels astonishingly brief. And afterwards there seem to be all sorts of important things I didn’t find out: Do we get to keep the washing machine? Is the back garden usable in winter? Is the neighbour the sort of person who will complain to the police if the children sneeze before 8am? Third, you have to overcome completely and rapidly your sense of how it is polite to behave in someone else’s house. Open all the cupboards. Run the taps. Peer at the tiling. Crane out of the window and try to see the gutters. And let the children loose, because if there is some ghastly hazard you would be constantly pulling them away from you might as well discover it now.** (Fourth, take along with you a hook, a rope and a small winch.)
We have two more houses to view at the weekend, and another to see at such time as the owners have fixed a burst pipe. Watch this space.
*Pub. Not its real name. Ken suggested The Break Inn as an alternative and probably funnier pseudonym.
**I wouldn’t really let them fall down a hole / get stuck in the chimney / be eaten by the neighbourhood wolfhound.