Well, here we are on the Wirral peninsula and the holiday cottage we’re in is to die for. It’s immaculately decorated and furnished, and the owners have provided absolutely everything you could possibly want (well, except for a cheesegrater – we have binoculars, wine, a sewing kit, a first aid box, quilted toilet paper, a welcome pack of basic food and the best organised and most comprehensive information pack you’ve ever seen, but no cheesegrater). The picture above shows the view from the sunroom (rather sweetly referred to by the owners as the ‘sitooterie’), across the Dee estuary to the Welsh mountains. I could sit and look at this view for ever. Every evening has brought another spectacular sky and I wanted to post some of the pictures, but I’m having computer trouble again so you’ll have to wait.
Despite the fact we have two laptops with us, I can’t get anywhere with editing the photos and they do need a bit of tweaking to show them at their best. (The photo above is untweaked and could probably benefit from some small amount of tweakerie, but I had to give you something to look at.) We have both a Windows and a Mac laptop with us. The Windows has Photoshop Elements on it, but I only installed it before I left and didn’t realise I would need to enter the product key code when I first used it and of course I don’t have it with me.
Never mind, I thought, I have Photoshop on the Mac – I’ll use that. But have I mentioned that I hate, detest, and loathe Apple systems? Every time I try to do anything on one, I end up tearing my hair out with frustration. I’ll happily concede that they’re beautiful objects, but I just can’t use them. First of all I couldn’t find Photoshop, it wasn’t in the dock and I didn’t know how else to get hold of it. I fiddled around and eventually got it up, then tried to open one photo. The photo was on an external hard-drive and I couldn’t get the drive to open. Then I did, but when I tried to open the image the drive just disappeared. Finally I got it back again and opened one image in RAW. At that point I realised that the angle I was viewing the screen at completely changed the way the photo looked, and I couldn’t tell how it would look when seen normally, so I decided to come out and just play a little with the jpeg instead. Then I couldn’t close Camera Raw because the buttons were completely off the bottom of the screen and it took ages to find a way of resizing the window so I could get at them. Having exhausted my repertoire of curses by then, I decided to call it a day and go back to Windows. Which is where I am now…………. anyone want to buy an Apple laptop? – I’m not joking here.
All that aside, we’re hoping we may have found a house. We did a marathon viewing of eight houses in one day, and apart from the one that was stratospherically outside of our price range, only two of them were even worth considering. I’m really quite shocked about the state some of these places were in; lots of them (including the one we’re interested in) were really dirty and shabby. Perhaps I’m being naive here, but I’d think you’d want to at least give the place a good clean before you tried to interest anyone in living in it – wouldn’t you? If we get this one, we’re looking at a good two or three days of cleaning and going round it with a few cans of emulsion before we start moving stuff into it. It’s scruffy. The house itself is really very nice, and meets our needs pretty well, at least in the short term. It’s more spacious than the one we’re in, and moreover it feels very spacious, and it’s nice and light. It has loads of storage space and bookshelves, and it’s in a very nice little village and quite close to a railway station. More importantly, it just felt right when we walked in the door. But it is definitely scruffy.
We’re now waiting to hear back from the owners. We asked for a small reduction in rent, and for the cupboards and sheds to be left completely empty (some of them were full of junk), and the garden to be trimmed and tidied up. This seemed quite reasonable at the time, but it’s been a day and a half now and we haven’t heard anything. To be truthful, we don’t have much bargaining power – we need somewhere to live and we need it now, so we are definitely going to give in if they object – but you’ve got to try. At the moment we’d probably roll over and wriggle ingratiatingly at their feet if they’ll only just allow us to live in their house – grubby, scruffy and all. Keep your fingers crossed for us.