Sunday, 6 July 2014


some days I seem to spend my time looking backwards. In part it's looking at wasted years and wishing for what might have been, and in another it's looking at the days before then when there were good times and happiness. It's time to stop and only look forwards and create a future that I want.

The first part of that is a home down south.

Now, i'm a very proud Midlander. I may not have a Brummie accent, despite living there from the ages of about 2 to 18, but home will always be Sutton Coldfield and the thrill i get when i see this sign

just can't be beaten. I can't help but think that my little corner of N Warks/ S Staffs is the most beautiful part of the British isles. Yes, massively biased but I like how I can live on a former council estate, but in under 10 minutes I can be stood in a churchyard where a church has been stood for the best part of 7 or 8 hundred years and look out on gently undulating fields

or be walking in a park that was given to the people of Sutton Coldfield by Henry VIII and where you are just as likely to come across a herd of wild ponies as a mountain biker.

That said, i'm now living and working down south. It's not ideal for me, as most of my friends and all my family are back in the midlands. But like i said, it's time to look forward and not back. To that end i'm buying a house down south. It's still in the paperwork stages, mortgage has been approved for me, but not yet for the house. The initial survey identified a few issues, and a structural engineer had to go and take a look. The structural engineer wrote a really detailed report and this has been sent off to the mortgage company.

The whole thing is taking so long, which is annoying because it's a private sale (i know the owner), but has to do with me already owning a home in the midlands. I've come across several new things in this house purchase. The main one is chancel tax. My first home, in the midlands, was on an estate which used to be a WWII aircraft factory site. I rather like the fact that where house and flats now are, spitfires and hurricanes were built. But it was also quite a poor area, no stamp duty to pay and certainly no chancel tax.

In fact i'd never even heard of chancel tax. but it turns out that this is where a church can get local homeowners to cough up the cash for church repairs. for some people this has meant that they've had to pay hundreds of thousands to a church they don't attend. Now, whilst i am a Christian and should support churches, this seems really wrong to me. To prevent yourself from being landed with a massive bill you can take out insurance. The insurance is very cheap, £15 for the homeowner or something like £30 to cover the property in perpetuity. Think i'll be going with the latter, as it makes sense if I want to sell house at some point to have a sweetener for the vendor.

It'll be nice to have a base down here that is permanent. At present with renting there is always the worry that the landlord will terminate the contract and i'll then have to quickly find somewhere suitable for myself and a couple of cats. The house needs a little bit of work on the bathroom, but i'm hoping to document the process of making it the perfect geeky home.
I also hope I can grow to love the area as much as I love my part of the midlanders. I hope I won't always be a midlander in exile.

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