Moving house in the time of Covid!
Well here we are, today is the day, moving day. How and why is a long story and I haven't wanted to write about it until now, some funny sense of maybe jinxing things maybe! So for the various people who have asked about it here is the story.
We have been here for fifteen years and have loved it deeply but there is only one life and one of the things which has always interested us is building a new house from scratch. Lots of people watch Grand Designs and Amazing Spaces. That might have been all we did too but we began to feel that doing something about that itch might be a way to resolve the question of whether we would at some stage want to move from here. There are two houses here - an ancient farmhouse and a holiday cottage, many outbuildings, two acres of land. It is high up on a hill. Probably at some stage we would need to leave. Perhaps we might build something? Did we have another adventure in us? It hung around as an idea but building plots are few and far between.
Three and a half years ago we were driving through the Vale of Clwyd with our heavily pregnant older daughter. We had been out for a pub meal and it was a beautiful summer's evening. "Shall we drive along the Vale?" we said. We chose the back roads which we did not normally use and that is how we came to be driving through Gellifor, a small village about seven miles from here on the edge of the Vale just before the hills begin to rise.
"Look, there is a for sale sign", I said. "It looks like a building plot."
When we got home we looked at it on Rightmove. It was a building plot, reasonably generous but an odd shape and with a huge lime tree on the boundary with the road. Up here we have got used to big views and the privacy that comes with no immediate neighbours. This plot was right at the end of the village with views up towards Penycloddiau and Moel Arthur from the side and back of the plot. Those are our hills, the hills we look across to every day. From the plot you look across the fields and up to those same hills. We mused. We looked at it again. In an odd sort of way it felt right.
It took a while to buy it and then in spring of the following year we put our house on the market. Various people wanted to buy it including a family who seemed very serious but were ultimately not able to raise the money. While our house was on the market we found an architect. Again that odd feeling of serendipity: we wanted to use someone local but it was only when we went to see him that we discovered exactly how local he was, living only about a hundred yards away from the plot!
So life went on. The architect designed a house which we really liked. Our house stayed on the market. More lovely grandchildren were born. Life was full and busy with family and friends and choir and yoga and learning Spanish and Welsh but there was a bit of a sense of being in limbo. Until the house sold we couldn't afford to build. Still things kept on chugging along. We found a builder we liked. Ian went through the extraordinary hoop jumping exercise which eventually led to our being connected to Welsh Water's sewers.
Then Covid 19 struck. Particularly in the spring of last year we were glad to be locked down here. The sun shone and we threw ourselves into making things grow. If you can't go anywhere then to be here in the hills with the daffodils blowing, the buzzards flying, the garden throwing off vegetables at a rate faster than we could eat was a good place to be. In the summer lockdown eased, the housing market reopened and we were overwhelmed (in a good way) with people wanting to buy our house. We chose someone who seemed to have the same feeling for the house we had. It is beautiful up here but there is work and commitment in living in a place like this which feels much less like work if you love it!
And now the legal process has ground through its slow and tedious way, not helped at all by coronavirus, and the next stage of life begins. We are renting a house in Caerwys, our most local place so that we can keep all our local connections, for eighteen months or so while the new house is built. Ian is down at the rental house supervising the removers with their first van load. I have been packing and cleaning and now I am looking out across our view. Will I miss it? I expect so. Am I excited at finally beginning to see the new house emerging? Yes I am. Mixed emotions. But a new day. I like a new day.