Changes/ Sleeping Beauty

Its been emotional.

Three weeks ago, we pulled the plug on the purchase of the intended site of Shabba Farm. The vendors were withholding vital information they ambushed us with, at the last minute. It included being solely responsible for a mile long access road- you might as well write a blank cheque for that. Lawyers from all over the free world would be queuing to make their exhaust pipe fall off on the Congo style track, and charge yours truly.

Human nature never ceases to amaze me. Its back on the market, 20K higher, ready for the next victim. We discussed some kind of legal redress, but frankly, we have bigger fish to fry.

This has left us severely out of pocket- and sent me into an angry depression I have only tentatively emerged from. My wife didn’t approve any of the draft posts I wrote on here, as they were so bleak The Sisters of Mercy wanted them as lyrics for their new album.

At the point the sale died, I had already started my new job locally, and switched from working for the Local Authority to being an agency social worker. Anybody who knows social work may well conclude this is the sanest thing to do when trying out a new local authority, in case your new boss is a white collar sociopath (had one or two over the years)

Being on twice the salary doesn’t hurt, either.

Or so I thought.

We presumed that our original mortgage offer was good for the next property. It wasn’t. On checking next steps with this, we realised that me going agency precluded me from any mortgage offer, including from my own bank, with whom I have been with over 25 years and with whom I have never defaulted on any loan or product. Who knew?

We were in a world of pain. There were suddenly few options and we were staring in to the abyss. I was – am- in a bed and breakfast, reading John Grisham novels Sunday to Tuesday, and coming home like some awkward space traveller and reintroducing myself to my wife and child. With even less immediate possibility of taking D home for regular chunks, and doing all we have explained on this blog.


We don’t want to rent locally and wait. The thought of shelling out a massive deposit we will never see again, to rent some average suburban “let me poop on your dream of land and animals” scenario, and being tied into it for 6 months (if Im lucky enough to find one that will take our beloved dog, Moby) is unthinkable.

One option was for me to quickly join the new local authority immediately, and drop half my agency salary – our main way of buying the animals and their feed. It seemed- seems- excruciating  and offensive to do this on the basis of some mortgage analyst who thought “agency worker” meant I drove vans for NightFreight during my summer holidays. My new boss and team are lovely. But let’s see how it rolls after I take my first case into court, shall we?

So, another option was for my wife to get a mortgage on her current salary alone and add this to our equity from our house sale in the saving account to buy somewhere. The thing was, this would be a small mortgage and it didn’t really buy us much more than the third option.

Which was what we did. We put in an accepted offer, in cash on an abandoned plant nursery with 2.2 acres. It looks like something off the Walking Dead.

It needed 2.2 acres of fencing  we will need to do ourselves, and the abandoned commercial greenhouses were literally full of what looks like the hedge barrier from Sleeping Beauty.


The main structures were two old workshops with planning permission to convert to a three bedroom house.

And, inexplicably, there was an old boat on its side in one of the meadows.

We hoped to be in within four weeks, pending search results.

Notice the past tense.

We moved on the property very quickly as similar- and better- properties were flying off the shelf in days, before we could drive to view them together. But when we did some more digging over the weekend about the place (thanks to my brother in law and step brother) we found the full set of documents related to the planning application online. We were concerned that the site had no access to drains- which we thought was implied when it mentions connection to water, and the workshops had asbestos roofs- expensive to remove. Those factors, when added to the overall costs of developing the site, unfortunately make purchase untenable now- just installing a could take would be around 8K, and when you add in asbestos removal, buying a second hand static caravan, the build and the fending, it makes it all a bad investment.

So new plan. Watch this space……




  1. janesforever · May 31, 2016

    Hello, thank you for your honesty. Praying that a new plan will come soon. And For wisdom in your decisions over your work situation. Best wishes to you and your family


  2. Chantal · June 1, 2016

    They say when one door closes another one opens, keep the faith X.


  3. Caravans in the Sun · June 6, 2016

    Great read!


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