Journal – August 2016

Hello again. We’re still edging towards our hopeful move to London, as we’ve had more viewings of our house in Devon this month and I’ve been doing some research into socialising in the capital, plus I’ve celebrated my birthday of course. So I hope you enjoy these journal posts as always!

Friday August 5, 2016

As it’s been a month since my last post, here’s a quick update on our moving plans.

Firstly, the woman whose offer we accepted last month is still interested, but has had to step back for the moment, because the buyer for her own place has pulled out. No formal paperwork ever materialised for her offer as a result, and the house was left on the market until her own sale could be confirmed.

Things went quiet for a couple of weeks, and then recently we’ve had 2 more viewings within a week of each other. Last week, a couple of guys, who were first time buyers, came round and had a look. While they liked it, they ultimately decided on another property in the end. They seemed nice enough – they came at 5pm in the evening, so I saw them when I came home from work. Indeed, I showed them around to begin with, as the estate agent took an hour to get to us from Torquay – which is understandable, as it took me well over half an hour to get home one night this week. Holiday traffic is terrible in summer sometimes!

Then this week, a family (a mother and father and their 2 kids) came round on Wednesday morning (so I didn’t see them). They didn’t stay long, but apparently they really liked it, especially the fact that you could see the sea from the upstairs front windows. Currently they live in Bristol near an industrial estate, so it’s a much better view. And they have friends in the area here, so they want to leave nearby. At the moment they’re staying in Brixham, on holiday with the kids, so they can look at properties in Torbay.

So later that afternoon, we got another call from Bettesworths, saying that the family wanted it, and the best they could get for a mortgage was £155,000. Which we accepted of course. The next day, we got an email – followed by a paper copy today – with confirmation of the sale. Well, subject to contract anyway – there’s still more than enough opportunity for things to fall through yet. I’m not going to feel at all relaxed or confident about it, and I don’t want to tempt fate, until it’s actually definite. For all we know, they may feel they rushed the decision and pull out, or they may come across another property they like even more, or when they do a survey it may throw up something they don’t like, or they may have trouble getting the money together, and so on. There are so many things that could go wrong and, given how long all this whole thing has taken, another delay wouldn’t surprise me. But we’ll see. It is the most positive step we’ve had so far, and given that it is the summer holidays, the fact that we’ve had 3 viewings is quite impressive really.

And there has been another positive start to the month, as I won £100 of Premium Bond prizes, and Mum got £25. We usually get a little bit each month, but for me to get 2 x £25 and 1 x £50 in one go is quite unusual. Just need more noughts on the end of those really!

I’ve also been figuring out what I’d like to do in London to begin with, particularly with regards to socialising and meeting people. James Buller, a trustee of Aniridia Network UK, has already offered to met up and buy me a drink to welcome me to the capital, having seen the blog posts and Youtube videos I’ve been experimenting with. There’s also an old school friend I want to meet up if I can, as I know he lives in London these days too.

Beyond that, I’ve also found an intriguing social club called Thinking Bob. It’s a group for intellectuals, culture vultures, etc, who are looking for friendships based on personalities, not dating based on looks or anything like that. They hold 50-60 socials a month, hosted by the staff of the company or other members, on all sorts of things – pub quizzes (many on particular themes or based on TV shows), board games, walking tours, street games, escape rooms, museum treasure hunts, retro sports days, karaoke, discos and loads more. Reading their website, Twitter and Facebook pages, and watching their Youtube videos, has been fascinating.

It’s ultimately about helping strangers to meet and form friendships, whether you’ve moved to London or have been there a while. After all, in London it can be incredibly difficult to meet people, despite the fact that there are millions of people there. Most people usually don’t talk to random strangers in the pub or elsewhere, and trying to start small talk with someone is always hard.

So what I like is the promise that Thinking Bob helps to make it easier. Whether it’s too good to be true or not remains to be seen, but it sounds good. Every new member gets a month’s free membership, and they have to attend a ‘Signature Social’, where a member of the company will meet and greet them, helping them to meet others and get involved. The small talk is all done for you – instead, you and the rest of the group can get stuck into the activity at hand. It could be a pub quiz, or a Cards Against Humanity game, or a debating session, or a Talking To Strangers event where you’re given cards with fun topics or questions to discuss, or a picnic in the park, or any of the other examples I gave above if appropriate.

Or they do have New Members Drinks as well, where you just get to talk normally to the host and to other newbies, so you’re all in the same boat. And there are boat trips too for that matter – either boat tours, or playing games on boats, things like that. And after each social you get an email to say who you met, so you can add some of them as friends, chat to them and see what other socials they’re going to.

So it sounds like a really great way to get to know people, make some new friends, and explore and have fun in London. It will certainly be worth giving it a go anyway, and hopefully being partially sighted won’t be a huge barrier, with a group of friendly people that can help me out if I need it. But we’ll see. We have to get to London first, but it’s an interesting prospect for sure.

Other than that, Mum and I have agreed that a new fridge, a new cooker, and new computer desks for my study room (one for my personal machine and one for my work machine), are among the first things we need to buy when we arrive. And if we can get there soon enough, I’d also like to go to the Sight Village exhibition in November, which showcases technology by lots of different companies for visually impaired people. So that could be really interesting.

An IT colleague at work has also contacted me to say what they need to do for homeworking. Basically they need to get a cost code from my manager, get BT to install an ADSL line, then sign me up to the ADSL service that the organisation uses. Then they’ll give me a thin client computer than I can use to remote desktop into my office computer.

But I don’t want to get that stuff done, or generally get too hopeful, too early, in case we don’t move for ages. I’d rather confirm that this current sale is actually going to happen first, if it does. But we might not know for a good few weeks at least yet. So all we can do is keep our fingers crossed…

Thursday August 25, 2016

I’m 33! Another year gone already. And hopefully this will be my final birthday in Torbay. Fingers crossed anyway. Our solicitor sent us a load of forms to fill in, including ID verification for Mum, the fixtures and fittings that we were including in the sale (everything from the TV aerial to light switches and loads of other things), and other details about the property. Our solicitor’s office happens to be just across the road from my office, so I was able to drop it in at reception last Friday instead of posting it. We haven’t heard anything back yet, but we’re assuming no news is good news.

A guy from Bettesworths estate agents did come round a few days ago to ask if they could put up a Sale Agreed sign – but Mum quite rightly said we’d rather wait until it’s actually sold, so as not to tempt fate. We figure it’s also an extra incentive for them to ensure it does actually sell. So we’ll see what happens.

Other than that, I went into work today, getting the cakes in as is the birthday tradition. My Aunt got me a new top from M&S as she always does. And on Saturday I’m meeting up with AB – we’re going to have some fish and chips and then see The BFG at the cinema. Yes, it’s a kids film really, but she wanted to see it and I’m happy to watch something light and fun like that. I’ve watched films like Matilda and Jumanji recently online as well, so I’ve kind of been in the mood for those easy and enjoyable types of films. There’s a big kid in all of us!

Most of all recently, though, I’ve been watching the Olympics, where Team GB did extremely well. They beat their London medal total – the first time a country has got more medals at the games after the one it hosted – and we even beat China in the medal table! It was great to watch. The Paralympics start in a couple of weeks, so they should be good too, though it’s sad to hear about the budget cuts that the event is facing.

And that’s it really. Not an awful lot to report at the moment. It’s just a waiting game again. Maybe by the end of next month we’ll know a bit more one way or the other, but we’ll have to wait and hope and see what happens.

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger, culture vulture & accessibility advocate, with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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