Monday, 26 August 2013

Head versus Heart

I'm sitting on our decking in 24 degrees heat, drinking a beer, having just come home from a walk along the Hove seafront with Mandy, and I'm wondering how we can ever contemplate leaving this house.

I realised this afternoon that it's 23 years to the day (August Bank Holiday Monday 2000) that we first saw this house. We'd come down from Stratford, East London, for that weekend, to investigate moving to Brighton, as we were contemplating starting a family and didn't see that as possible in our little Victorian two-up two-down terrace house in Henniker Road E3. We saw various properties, had the details for this house, but could not get a viewing, as the occupants were away for the weekend. Before we went back to London, we took a last drive past - and saw the residents unloading their car outside. Cheekily we drove round the block, gave them five minutes to get settled back in, then knocked on their door, estate agent details in hand, and pleaded our case for a viewing. Mrs Stevens very kindly showed us around and we fell in love with it. We returned to London that evening, in the morning made an offer and by the end of that week had secured our new home. 23 years, two young adults and several remortgages later, we are now having to think about moving on.

If you read my previous blog "Not Moving On" you'll be aware that, for various financial and health reasons, we are seriously looking at selling up, paying off the outstanding mortgage and relocating as cash buyers to somewhere else. We've looked at the North East and Newcastle-upon-Tyne but decided it's not for us. I asked my network, via my blog, where they would recommend as a good place to live. Several folks queried whether or not we had really looked at elsewhere in Sussex. Good points - well made!

On Sunday therefore, we took ourselves over to Seaford in East Sussex. Bit of a well-kept secret, is Seaford. Between Newhaven and Eastbourne, it's half an hour from Brighton, 20 minutes from Eastbourne, and hour and a half from London by train. It's a 'proper' town in its own right (see Morpeth in previous blog), and from what we could see on this exploratory visit, house prices appear to be within our anticipated range. This could work!

Our criteria appear to be met. The financials look as if they stand up. My head tells me it's the right thing to do. But as I sit here in the late afternoon sunshine, in the (albeit shabby) garden of the home we have built over the last 23 years, my heart is hurting. 

So many emotional ties - we fell in love with this house exactly 23 years ago. Tash and Sam ran around this garden and up and down that tree for many of those years (as did I). This is the only home they have ever known. We only built the kitchen extension (The "Nessie Gavin Memorial Wing") three years ago. Many parties, celebrations, Shabbat candle lightings and cosy evenings in front of the telly have happened here.

Much reflecting, processing, calculating and decision-making ahead of us. Our Heads are clear. Our Hearts are heavy.

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