Tag Archives: House Hunting

A week in review – house hunting, camping and the odd beer

Wednesday

We slept quite late considering we were sleeping in a tent, it was about 8am. Mrs.R wandered off to the kitchen room on the campsite to make us a cup of strong black coffee with honey.
Once the coffee had kicked in we had fun packing our camping gear away. We managed to get the sleeping bags back in to their covers, we even managed to get the tent folded neatly enough to slide back inside its cover, but the air bed refused to return to its box. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ So we scrunched it as much as we could, making it as small as possible and chucked it in to the boot of the car. Then we packed everything on top of it, helping to keep it flat(ish).
Then we hit the road, heading towards Hartlepool to hopefully begin our search for a house.
Once in Hartlepool we popped in to a couple of estate agents, and made some appointments.
Unfortunately our appointments were not until 5pm onwards, which meant we had more or less the whole day to waste.
We popped in to a cafe on the high street for breakfast. Mrs.R had beans on toast, I had a full English. Two cappuccinos and we were good to go. Go where? Anywhere to waste the remaining hours until we met the estate agent.

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I decided to drive along the coast, where we parked up, and we went for a walk. The wind was quite chilly, but this was interspersed with warm sunshine. Hartlepool is not the prettiest coastline we’ve ever seen, there’s quite a lot of industrial stuff going on. Plus there were lots of heavy machinery, and workmen, all busy building up the sea defences. We enjoyed our stroll though, and it did waste some time.

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Then I drove to Hartlepool marina, which was very different to the seafront, and a pleasant surprise. There’s been lots of development, with several large residential blocks, and various cafes, pubs, and restaurants, as well as the boats in the marina. We stopped for a drink, and soaked up some sun, which was pretty hot by this time.

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Finally, after a long day hanging around time wasting, we drove to the first property we were viewing, to meet the estate agent.
Property number one was a decent enough property, with a very good burglar alarm. The alarm was so good it refused to stop ringing. The estate agent tried everything to turn off the alarm, he couldn’t.
We explored the house, as the estate agent nervously looked out of the lounge window, saying he hoped the neighbours didn’t go mad. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ The estate agent made several phone calls hoping someone could help him reset the burglar alarm, but no luck. He said he’d take us to the next property, and sort out the burglar alarm later. As we left the house, locking the door, the alarm stopped. ๐Ÿ™‚
We liked this first house, but were less impressed with the actual street.
The second house was not as nice as the previous property, but the street was much nicer. The property smelt very damp, and was mouldy, there was fungal growth all over the walls and ceilings.
The estate agent said the previous occupants had probably been growing marijuana in the house, which explained everything.
As neither of the two houses we’d viewed felt right for us, we said goodbye to Hartlepool, but with plans to return on Friday to view another property.

After a very long day we drove to our accommodation.
We had wanted to drive to Seaham, where we were planning to house-hunt the following day,
but we stopped before we got to Seaham, not because it was particularly far, but because we couldn’t find any campsites, so we had to book a hotel. The best deal we could find was in a place called Pity Me. Hahaha! Hope that’s not a sign. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
Our accommodation was nice, it would have been even nicer if it was cheaper.
We had a drink in the bar, before dinner in the restaurant, followed by a film, then sleep.

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Thursday

We had breakfast at our hotel, then drove to Seaham hoping to view some properties.
We found parking close to the estate agents, popped in and arranged to view 3 houses at lunchtime.
As we had time to spare before the house viewing we went for a wander round Seaham.
First we walked along the high street. We did a bit of window shopping. We saw a Wetherspoon pub, which is good, as we like Wetherspoons because they do decent enough food, and value good beers. ๐Ÿ™‚
Then we walked to the harbour, looked at the boats, and stopped for a cappuccino in The Lookout cafe. We sat outside on the deck overlooking the sea, which was very pleasant.

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Coffee drank, we then walked back to the car, drove along the seafront, parked up again, and had another wander along the coast.
The lady who’d served us breakfast earlier that morning at our hotel had mentioned Lickety Split Creamery & Juice Bar, but when we walked past neither of us were in the mood for ice-cream. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll visit there again in the future.
Time seemed to be going very slowly, we still had a couple of hours before our first house viewing appointment, so once again we got back in the car and drove further along the coast.
This time we parked opposite St Mary the Virgin church. We crossed the road and walked around the church and its wild graveyard.
St Mary the Virgin church has a late 7th century Anglo Saxon nave, and is regarded as one of the 20 oldest surviving churches in the UK.
We took some photos of the wild flowers and graves in the graveyard, as well as the church building itself.

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Then it was finally time to meet the estate agent at property number one.
We were quite interested in the first house we were shown. Then it was on to the next house. This property required too much work to make it habitable for us, so we went on to house number three. House number three was fine, but we preferred the first house, so we followed the estate agent back to house number one.
We looked round it once again, and decided that we definitely did like what we saw. Food for thought. We said goodbye to the estate agent, and drove back towards our hotel.
We were hungry, so we stopped in Durham for lunch. Curry! Because it’s ‘curry club’ at Wetherspoons on Thursdays. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had a dragon curry, chicken, and very hot, Mrs.R opted for lamb rogan josh. Both curries were served with pilau rice, naan bread, popadoms, and mango chutney. A couple of pints of Strongbow completed our late lunch. We had Strongbow because it was one of the choices of drinks included in the price of our food. Otherwise we’d have had one of the ciders from their cider festival.
Lunch eaten, we had a brief walk about, before returning to the car and driving back to our hotel in Pity Me.

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Friday

First thing in the morning, after a very unimpressive breakfast at our lodgings, we headed to Hartlepool to view a house. It was a nice little house in a nice street but the big downside for us was the fact that the master bedroom was very small and it would have been hard to squeeze in a king sized bed. This house was so close to what we want, but alas not close enough.
We then set off in the car South towards Lancashire and found a campsite to call home for a couple of nights.

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The Quechua tent was up and pegged in a couple of minutes. Then it was just a matter of inflating the air beds, and chucking the sleeping bags into the tent.
House building done we then drove to Nelson to look at houses. Unfortunately there was nothing decent on offer in our price range.
It was then a quick trip to a local Lidl supermarket for some food supplies, and then back to the campsite.
I fired up the camping stove and rustled us up a meal. I sautรฉed lots of onions and garlic, that Mrs.R had helpfully chopped up, then I added passata, followed by fresh mushrooms. I let the sauce simmer for a good while, and then I cooked some egg tagliatelle. It all tasted pretty good, even if I do say so myself.
Meal eaten we sat in the car, to hide from the bad weather, and watched films on the iPad.

Saturday

We headed to Burnley for some more house-hunting. We managed to find parking, which was not an easy task because all of the short stay car parks had been taken over by the police.
It seemed we had picked a bad day to visit Burnley because there was a march on, and not just any march but one by the far right. Given the number of police we saw, it looked to be a big protest with a lot of potential for trouble.

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We stopped for a coffee and then popped in to a couple of estate agents.
We then drove around a few streets in the budget area of town. There were lots of boarded-up and derelict houses. In fact, street after street, after street of them.
Burnley was not the town for us.
Feeling a little deflated we retreated to The Anchor Inn in Salterforth for lunch and a few beers.

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Sunday

We departed Lancashire and drove to the hotel I’d booked, The George in Piercebridge. On the way we stopped for breakfast, and to visit Richmond and Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire.
There was little else to do with regards to house-hunting because it was a Sunday. A day of rest. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Monday

We departed the hotel in Piercebridge and headed to Seaham, but first we needed to stop at a Halfords in Darlington.
The previous day the oil warning light in the car had flashed on a few times, so I thought it a good idea to top the engine oil up.
Many years ago Laura’s Jaguar XJ ran completely out of oil, and there was a very nasty clonking before it juddered to a halt.
Not wanting to repeat this experience, I erred on the side of caution. It cost ยฃ35 for a bottle of oil, the car took a 1/4, which saw us safely on our way to Seaham.
Once we reached Seaham we headed to the house we had viewed the week before. I went for a walk locally to see the area, and Laura stayed outside the property. By the time I returned to the house Laura had got chatting with a local lady. She then knocked on the door of the house next door to the one we were interested in to ask the occupant what the street is like to live in. The lady who owned the neighbouring house invited us both in, and gave us loads of information about the street, the neighbours, and the area.
Feeling good about the street, and the area, we drove to Reeds and Rains estate agents and put in an offer on the property.
Then it was off to the pub for lunch and a beer. I spent more time finding us a place to stay for the night online then I did over lunch. It seems this area of England is very lacking in hotels, and campsites for that matter. There are some, but all are midrange for price but low-range for comfort etc. In the end I settled on a guesthouse in Sunderland.
We motored to Sunderland, found the guesthouse, parked up and headed into the town centre. I needed to get a mini bank statement for the estate agents to show I had the funds available to purchase the property in Seaham.
Happy days! The money was in my Natwest current account.
Then it was off to the pub for a couple of beers, before heading back to the guesthouse.

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Tuesday

I had seen a property listed on the RightMove website in Easington Collieryย , so I decided to drive down to have a look at it, and the surrounding area. On first impressions I was a little dubious about the street, but after viewing the rear of the property and seeing the extensive regeneration work that had taken place, I was a lot happier. I was even more happy after walking round the area for a while.

We then drove a little way up the road and parked at the coastal walk car park. We went for a little stroll along the coast path at Easington Colliery.
After a very enjoyable walk, and lots of fresh sea air, we went to a local estate agent to book an appointment to view the house in Easington Colliery.
The appointment was for after 4pm. We were hoping for something earlier, but no luck. So, we had lost of time to waste.
First we drove to Crimdon Dene, where we walked in the nature reserve, and then on to the beach. The sky was much less cloudy that it has been recently, the sun even shone on and off. There were quite a few people walking with their dogs, and also a couple of people horse riding on the beach.
Crimdon Dene is absolutely lovely, we thoroughly enjoyed our long refreshing walk, listening to the birds and admiring the scenery.

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We then drove to Peterlee where we had lunch in a Wetherspoon, The Five Quarter.
After lunch we still had some time to waste before the house viewing, so we popped in to Asda to buy some red wine, goats cheese, and mascara.
Not your typical dinner ingredients, but we like to mix things up a little. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Then it was finally time to meet the estate agent at the property in Easington Colliery. He was there when we arrived, so we went straight in to the house. Five minutes later I said I’d buy it. The agent said he’d let the vendor know, and we said goodbye.
So, I’d now put in an offer to purchase a second house in the same week.
By this time we were both knackered because we’d been awake since 5am. I drove us back to our accommodation in Sunderland where we spent the remains of the day relaxing, eating, drinking red wine, watching Foyles War, and catching up with writing blog posts.