|Crystal Palace: our new abode|
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine"
So warbled Dido -- and I'm inclined to agree. Although I've been a homeowner for 15 years (with the exception of the past month) I'm coming to the end of my fifth year of renting houses and I'm happy to report that we've just exchanged contracts on our new house.
Yes, NappyValleyGirl is no more as we're moving to Crystal Palace in August. Any suggestions on what to call the blog gratefully received. I've though of a few -- View from the Palace, Life in the Palace, Palatial Living -- but not sure yet about any of them.But we are sure about the house, and the area -- which has a great park (with model dinosaurs in it), fun restaurants and shops, and -- possibly -- an exciting future with the plans to rebuild the Crystal Palace itself.
There are upsides to renting. When something goes wrong (as it seems to do on a weekly basis in the house we're currently renting) you just call the landlord/agent and they have to pay to sort it out.
Luckily in our case this has normally been quick and efficient - but in our first rental in America, where our landlady was tricky to get old of and insisted on trying to fix everything herself first, it wasn't always so. But on the whole, the only stress you have is waiting in for the workman rather than worrying about how expensive it's going to be to fix.
On the other hand, you can't solve the longer term problems with the house. The reason something goes wrong with our current house on a weekly basis is partly because the plumbing is dreadful. If it was our house we would probably rip it all out and start again - but, we can't. In our 10 years in Clapham, I only once recall having to call a plumber out -- this year has seen at least three visits.
Clearly, renting also means you can't make decorative changes -- my landlady has quite eclectic taste in wallpaper, and we haven't put any pictures up this year because it didn't really seem worth damaging the walls for a 12 month stay. It's also hard to get too excited about maintaining the garden when it's not, well, yours.
Of course, I'll probably be eating my words once we move in and I'm spending half my earnings on house maintenance and half my time pruning what estate agents term a "mature" garden (read overgrown and out of control). But for now, I'm looking forward to making my own disastrous decorative choices, hammering some picture hooks into walls and planting some flowers of my choice (I have a dream of a wisteria-covered facade).
Crystal Palace, here we come.