After Sandie’s return from Glagow, we spent a further two and a half weeks near Stroud, staying with Ian’s sister Maggi. We were kept busy, not just with Ian’s work, but with property buying and selling on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ian (and his colleague Dougal) made good progress with their statistical analysis. It seemed that they were well on course for completing the project by the March 31st deadline. There was a panic on the 16th when Ian learned that they were due to submit a draft report next day: this was stated in the contract, which he had not seen, and Dougal had not noticed the relevant clause. So there was a rush to get a draft report together, and Sandie became involved in some editing. There was no way the report could be submitted on the 17th, but it was ready soon after. The only problem then was that the length of the report (with multiple graphs etc) made sending it electronically very difficult!
House buying and selling in the UK
We mentioned in our last blog that Claire had decided to move to the Stroud area. Things have happened much more quickly than we anticipated, though (as often with buying and selling property) there have been problems along the way.
The house in High Wycombe went on the market Thursday March 5th, and we were amazed to learn that 14 viewings had been arranged for the following weekend. Two of the 14 people made an offer, one at the asking price and one just above. This meant that we had to get on with finding a new house, and Claire paid three visits to Gloucestershire over the next couple of weeks. She decided that she wanted to live in Bussage, close to Maggi, and settled on a house which seemed ideal, even if over our budget!
So all seemed to be progressing well – until Wednesday 18th, when we were told that the buyers of the Wycombe house had pulled out! But our agent went back to the other couple who had offered for it, and after a second visit to the house they reinstated their offer. Sighs of relief all round – and fingers crossed that it goes through this time.
Condo buying in Florida
The American system of buying and selling property is very different to the English system: you are locked in from the start, so no chance of a buyer or seller backing out.
All seemed to be chugging along smoothly; we were occasionally sent papers to be signed, scanned and returned, but that was all we had to do.
But on March 12th we hit an unexpected snag. We had already submitted an application to the Condo Association, together with two references as required. This was approved BUT they then informed our agent that we had to produce either copies of our visas (we don’t have any) or criminal record checks in England. This set us in panic mode: we were legally committed to close (complete) by the end of March, but could not do so without approval from the Association, which they would not give until we provided these documents.
We were annoyed because the Association had not mentioned the requirement earlier.
So while arguing (unsuccessfully) that it should not be necessary, we tried to find the quickest way of getting criminal record checks done. We submitted online applications and were told that they would take ‘up to 14 days’; moreover, they could not be emailed, but had to be sent to our home address. The timing was very tight, so we asked Claire to call round at our flat every day and check our mailbox. Luckily on March 20th, they appeared! So hopefully all will be well.
Maggi had her eye operation on Tuesday 17th. Her recovery was in some ways quicker and easier than she expected, but when walking around she felt dizzy and nauseous, so she spent most of the first few days in bed. Her neighbour Jim took the dog for walks, so our role was limited to organising food and regular cups of tea!
With all of the above, we were kept busy, but we did manage a few breaks. One day we walked from Bussage through the neighbouring village of Eastcombe and over the fields to Bisley, another village. We had a leisurely lunch there before returning by a different route. Another day Maggi drove us to Gloucester, and after sampling the shops and pubs there we picked up a hire car to use for the rest of our stay in England.
On Saturday 14th March we visited our friends Brenda and Phil. They live in Evesham, which we had realised was not very far from Stroud. They took us to their favourite pub for a very nice lunch, followed by a brief tour of the countryside. Then it was back to their house, where we played board games based on Terry Pratchett books. We left early next day as Brenda and Phil had to go to church. We returned by a different route, and had brief stops in two well-known Cotswold villages: Stow on the Wold, and picturesque Bourton on the Water. But the day was very cold, so spending a lot of time outside was not appealing. We ended up in Cheltenham, where we could hide away in shops and cafés!