Moving House

I happened across another blog by a family in America that are living the dream. Reading the content (I read it all in under a day) has inspired me to unpack the Raspberry Pi 2 that runs this site and put some content on it!

Why we moved

I’ve enjoyed living in an apartment. It was small, requiring a certain amount of self control over buying stuff. It wasn’t cheap, but I managed by learning to budget. As it was a new build, I didn’t really have any repairs or unexpected bills, everything worked. I didn’t enjoy anything about the location, however.

Some of what I didn’t enjoy:

  • City-noise
  • Neighbor-noise (wasn’t too bad, honestly, but it was there)
  • Driving, but especially in traffic
  • The time spent traveling to work
  • The seven flights of stairs to climb to reach my floor
  • The trash
  • The vandalism
  • The maintenance charge (almost as much as the mortgage repayments!)
  • Lack of garden

It made for a pretty bleak picture. As I said, during my time there I enjoyed it, but now I’m out I realised how much I despise it. The idea of cramming as many people as you can fit into as little land as possible.

I met someone special at work. We’re now together, a bona-fide fairy tale item, and I’ve never been happier. She and I have worked hard, and we’ve now moved into our dream home together!

Reality hits

So it’s not quite our dream home. Yet. We can tell that it will be in time though, and that’s important.

When we saw this place we fell in love with it. It has been neglected for years. The walls are stained brown with nicotine, the carpets (which I hasten to add are in every room. Even the kitchen and bathroom.) should have been replaced at least five times over by now. There’s no sewerage line, instead there’s a tiny 45 gallon cesspit in the back garden (And I should add that half of that garden is covered in concrete) meaning we’ll have to empty it every 6 weeks or so at a cost of £100 £110 (price increase:() a time. There’s mold, there’s cracks in some of the walls. There’s probably mice.

But you know what? It’s not in a built up estate. It’s quiet. It’s in the middle of nowhere! Just take a look at this view:

I’ve brightened it a bit, and ignore the power lines and the very poorly looking tree. Oh, and ignore the reflection of the window, too. But look at that! That’s what we see when we look out the front of our new home at sunset! Sure, it’s not mountain ranges from Canada or New Zealand, but it beats looking into the kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms of your neighbors.

We have no homes to our left, a few to the right and a few behind, but that’s it. I had a dream of being able to walk out my front door, turning left and walking, keep turning left and ending back at my front door. A home I can walk around. I have that now, and it’s awesome.

Let’s revisit the list of negatives above:

  • City-noise – All we hear are birds and wind
  • Neighbor-noise – They have a couple of (quiet!) dogs. I love dogs.
  • Driving/traffic – The roads are quiet and infrequently travelled
  • The commute – under 10 minutes on average
  • The stairs – A single step to the front door
  • The trash – There’s no rubbish but our own
  • The vandalism – There are very few people around!
  • The maintenance charge – Zero charge. Mortgage, bills (water in, electricity, gas)
  • Lack of garden – I have a front garden and a rear garden!

The only slight (and I mean slight) points of contention are the internet speed (going from 70Mbps down/20Mbps up FTTC to 3Mbps down/0.8Mbps up ADSL is hard) and the size of the gardens. They’re a little smaller than what I would consider perfect, but they’re still great, and infinitely better than a top floor apartment. They will serve us well for years. There’s some land nearby that we could look into purchasing if we truly want to grow all our food and have some livestock, so not all is lost!

We’re in a bungalow – a one story house. Three bedrooms, one bathroom, decent kitchen, big living room. The surface area of a bungalow is always bigger than an equivalent house, due to the bedrooms being put next to the other rooms, not above them. Here, we have the opportunity to expand up into the loft, so we could end up with quite a large house at the end of it all if we’re prepared to make the investment!

I don’t really know a lot about DIY or gardening, but us living here, taking a building and making it a home, will teach the both of us everything we need to know, and more.

Like Ben, mentioned above, I have a dream of becoming more self sufficient. I’m not necessarily talking living entirely off-grid (not just yet, anyway…) but absolutely am talking about growing our own food, generating our own power, decreasing our reliance on external sources as much as possible.

We’re settled, and have started on the work. I’ll get some pictures uploaded here of the state of the place when we moved in at some point. It’s a shame I can’t upload a smell because this place stinks of tobacco… Anyway. There’s a lot of work to do here, but I’ve never been more excited about hard graft than I am right now.

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