A new home for the Bagnalls!

And so the house move saga comes to an end and a new chapter in the lives of the Bagnalls begins.  Yes, Friday 1st November (two weeks after we exchanged contracts) we completed and took possession of our new home, while still retaining possession of our old home.

House moves are very rarely straightforward but this has seen its fair share of twists and turns.

We first saw the house on Monday 13th May 2013 (another 13 to add to the various 13s following us about this year – no triskaidekaphobia here) and fell in love with it.  It was the first and only house that we saw that we liked for both the house itself and its location.  Although far from perfect (is there such a thing?) it ticked a considerable number of boxes, including the majority of our major boxes but was over budget.  We chatted about it and decided to go above our budget and put a cheeky offer in.  Not surprisingly the offer was rejected but we were in no position to increase or indeed make any kind of counter-offer for we did not have a buyer for our property, so we sat and waited.

A couple of weeks later, the sellers had not had an offer on the property (and neither had we) and they said that they would be prepared to accept a lower offer than our cheeky offer, if we could start the purchase ball rolling.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have an offer on our house so that opportunity passed us by.

Then we had a day of mixed emotions.  An offer was made on our house that we accepted but on the same weekend an offer was made on the house that we were buying that blew us out of the water, we simply could not match it.  At that moment it looked like we were going to be homeless with our buyers looking for a quick sale (which suited us too) and no house suitable for us to buy.

Then the twists of twists.  Two days after accepting the offer on our house BAA submitted a new proposal to the Airports Commission (the Davies Commission) for the expansion of Heathrow Airport.  Stanwell Moor is nestled between Staines Moor, the western section of the M25, the King George VI Reservoir and Heathrow Airport and as such has been encroached before by the construction of the reservoir, the construction of the M25 and, more recently, the construction of Heathrow’s Terminal 5.  The South West expansion proposal however was the first time that it has been threatened directly.  The South West expansion proposal for the third runway at Heathrow airport will see the complete destruction of Stanwell Moor, the village that the Cathralls have called home for the last 50-odd years.  Obviously this is only a proposal, one of nearly 50 that affect the South East of England, and there is no reason to believe it will be the one that the Airports Commission give their backing to (indeed that backing will not come for any of the proposals until at least 2015) nevertheless it is a sword of Damocles hanging over the village.

In complete fairness to our buyers they investigated the situation thoroughly including calling council members and the Heathrow commission hotline.  However, they decided that it was a risk they were not willing to take (and I can understand that, as they were moving into the area and as such have no emotional ties to Stanwell Moor) and thus pulled out of the purchase.

This now left us with no house to buy and a house that no one was likely to buy.

There was still time for one more twist.  The chain for the alternate buyers was looking decidedly dodgy and the sellers were becoming nervous and they asked if we could up our offer and they would then go with us.  We still had no buyer for our house and we could not match the other offer but we spoke to a financial adviser to seek the possibility of releasing equity in our current house by turning it into a buy-to-let (or strictly ‘let-to-buy’) and scraped all our investments together and put in a final offer.  The sellers spent a couple of days mulling the options over and decided to go with us.  The rest, they say, is history!  We have the house that we wanted but have become reluctant landlords in order to realise that dream.  Assuming we can rent the property out without too many void periods or anything going tragically wrong then we should be fine, at least in the short term.  Depending on the Airports Commission decision this may either be a short experiment or a potential pension investment.  If we can’t rent it out or the void periods start adding up it could be a money pit that bankrupts us.  Life for the Bagnalls is never boring!

So it is goodbye Stanwell Moor, hello Staines-Upon-Thames (yes, this is its official name!).

Peace and Love


An offer has been accepted – but it is more complicated than that!

It is the midst of the busiest time of the year for me I am struggling to find time to do an update but as I always try to do one every month and I haven’t missed yet, 2013 isn’t going to be that year!  Therefore you will need to excuse the brevity of this write up, I will do better when the world has calmed down.

So what is going on?  Our new technical premises are coming on line and I am spending my time making things work as well as making sure that everyone is kept in the loop with the changes and new processes.  It is hard work and it is keeping me from my family, a necessary evil and although I am not happy about it, it is something that needs to be done – in the short term.  Therefore many of the following anecdotes are second hand to me.

Just before the madness at work started however, we did manage one last family date and that was the to the Frimley Lodge Miniature Railway.  Both Éowyn and Amélie enjoyed the Cockcrow Railway when they went in May (except Amélie didn’t like the spooky tunnel) and because Daddy missed out we decided to pay a visit to Frimley.  Nanny and Granddad joined us and I am not sure who had the most fun.  It was a very pleasant day – not as hot as it had been – and there were plenty of people with the same idea.  The queues looked huge when we got there but it is surprising how many people they can fit on one train and so you never had to wait long for a ride.

Just down from the railway was a children’s playground with the usual accoutrements one would expect with the addition of a zip wire.  Éowyn loved it and we had to keep launching her down the wire.  Éowyn was probably only just old enough to safely hang on and thankfully Amélie didn’t fancy it and I think we would have had tears when Daddy said no.

Amélie is certainly becoming more independent and is pushing the boundaries.  She has also taken to making up excuses but her imagination is a little too wild to make them believable.  You may recall that she had blamed the big bad wolf for stealing something from our bedroom and was a little surprised that we didn’t believe her.  Well that theme is continuing.  We always like to give the girls a little choice over what they would like to wear each day.  Lucinda was taking the girls out and wanted Amélie to wear a nice dress.  ‘How about this nice spotty dress, Amélie?

I can’t possibly wear that dress mommy.

Why not?

It makes my teeth fall out.

Lucinda, stifling laughter, ‘How about this one?‘  Pointing to an equally nice dress.

No Mommy, that one makes me sick!

She is quite funny though when she is trying to get something out of you.  If you refuse her request she will look you in the eye, smile and holding her forefinger and thumb close together (but not touching) say ‘Just a little bit.’  It is hard to refuse with her cute smile and cheeky face.

Éowyn is growing up far too fast, however there are still the vulnerabilities of a four year old.  She begun to enjoy watching Scooby Doo however she still has a vivid imagination.  So, in the darkness of her room late at night her imagination must of begun to kick in and she began to have nightmare about Mommy and Daddy being skelebones (as she called skeletons).  So after giving her a cuddle and telling her a story about princesses she eventually went back to sleep.  The next few nights she began to be scared to go to sleep in case she had bad dreams so Scooby Doo has been banned in the this house, at least for a couple of years and we make sure that the bedtime stories are about nice things.  However, we did complete the BFG and the idea of 54 foot giants snatching children out of their beds and eating them hasn’t upset her in quite the same way as Scooby Doo.

Ezra, too, has taken some large developmental steps.  He has outgrown his moses basket and been moved to a cot in his own room.  He has begun to take solid food, and had a bottle or two of formula milk (thereby freeing Lucinda up to go out without worrying too much about the next three hour feed).  He has slept through the night, twice (which isn’t as bad as it sounds – for me at least – as he doesn’t spend the night crying he just wakes about 0300, feeds and then goes back to sleep).  He has also begun to move.  Not so much crawling but ninja rolling is probably the best description.  You put him on his play mat on his back in the middle of the room and you turn your back for a second and he is the other side of the room on his front, rifling through Lucinda’s bag.  The girls are going to have to learn quickly that anything that they leave on the floor will soon be fair game to their little brother.  I wonder how long it will take them to learn.

So what is the title of this write up all about?  As you know we are trying to sell our house and we have found a house that we want to buy.  Surely it should be as simple as that.  As those of you that have bought and sold houses will know, it is never that simple and the emotional rollercoaster of buying and selling a house is not exactly what I need at the moment as we are in the middle of a move at work which is as equally stressful.  Nevertheless that is where we are and hopefully we are on the downward slope.

If I had managed to find time last week to complete this write up then that is exactly what I would have thought.  However there is always something that comes along and bites you on the bum!

So after having the initial offer on the house that we have fallen in love with rejected, accepted, gazumped and finally a higher and final bid accepted our buyers dropped the bombshell yesterday that they are pulling out citing the Heathrow expansion plans as the reason.  I can completely see it from their point of view and it is such a shame because not only were they a nice couple that I think would have fitted in with the neighbours (call us sentimental but we liked the idea of our house being handed over to nice people) they also loved the house and the village.  Unfortunately one of the Heathrow airport expansion proposals will mean that our village will become Stanwell No Mo(o)re and a third runway will be built on top of our house.  We need to come up with a cunning plan if the only house that we have seen that we like is going to slip through our fingers (indeed, potentially any hope of moving!) and we truly hope that this doesn’t mean that regardless of decisions regarding the Heathrow expansion (and that is still a couple of years off, mid-2015 – and even then the government of the day does not have to make any definite decision)  Stanwell Moor will be blighted (although not officially as they are no definite plans) in much the same way as Sipson, Longford and Harmondsworth are, and have been for some time.  Can anyone give me the 6 lottery numbers for this weekend please?

As ever I promise I will keep you up to speed with developments.

Peace and Love