Well, everything happened very fast! A week ago our landlord came round to give us notice, as he wants to move back in here himself. We were oddly un-bothered by this, even excited. He promised us a good reference – which he afterwards gave us – and even to help us move if necessary, to save our costs.
We put the word out to all our friends in this area, and one of them emailed us almost immediately about a place she’d found on the net which sounded perfect. It turned out to be for sale and we were told they could only offer us a 6-month lease, so we lost interest. We want to be assured of longer tenure than that!
We registered with the agents anyway, in case something else should come up that might suit. And we started looking at places listed with other agents, but couldn’t find anything suitable in our price range. Having cats is limiting, too; so many places stipulate no pets.
This morning the agent for the first house phoned and offered us a 12-month lease, telling us we were just the kind of tenants the owner was looking for. She pointed out, too, that any place we might get could later be put up for sale. So we went and had a look, loved it and said yes. We’ll move within the next two weeks.
It’s actually $20 cheaper in rent than where we are now, much closer to the beach – almost on top of it – and has air conditioning, which we haven’t had here. There’s also a big ceiling fan in the main bedroom. There are three bedrooms, same as here: one for us, one for visitors, and a consulting room / temple. The yard is much smaller, but adequate for the cats, and will need a lot less mowing and weeding. Here we have an ensuite and another big bathroom; the new place has only one bathroom – but that’s not a big deal.
It’s about the same distance by car as we are now from the shops, and from our favourite swimming spot in the creek. We’ll no longer have a local store that we can duck down to in five minutes on foot via the back lane, but again that’s not a very big deal and will be more than compensated for by being able to duck down the lane to the beach in even less time. I know where we’ll be going for our daily walks from now on!
So I don’t have to resign as Secretary of the Neighbourhood Association – a position I was appointed to just two months ago – and will have no trouble continuing as facilitator of the WordsFlow writing group, which meets at the Neighbourhood Centre every Friday during school terms. We’ll be able to keep going to our local doctor, who suits us very nicely. (We’re fussy about our doctors, so are most reluctant to leave one we approve of!) I can continue with my Tai Chi lessons at the Community Hall, consult the same physiotherapist, and keep buying from the excellent local butcher. We’ve built up a rapport with many of the local shopkeepers; we won’t have to start over. We’ll have exactly the same proximity to nearby towns we like to be connected with, and we’ll still be lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean.
We’ll leave to the landlord the rattling sun roof he never fixed, the cockroaches that came back after he failed to authorise a recommended follow-up to the first spraying, and the filthy carpet that he promised to replace as a condition of our moving in, but kept finding excuses not to for five and a half years. Every cleaner we got always said, ‘There’s not much we can do with this,’ and they were right. It looked good for only a short time before the underlying grime showed through again. It‘s just too darn old – and was obviously not a great carpet in the first place.
This morning I had a sudden fit of grieving, in reaction to the thought that there’s no point starting some replanting I’ve had in mind. When you live in a place so long, it gets to feel like yours; and we’ve been happy here. But that was before I saw the new place, which is certainly a great consolation!