The dream that brought me to Anglesey
Now that I’m feeling a little more settled and organised in North Wales, my thoughts are turning again towards the quest that brought me here…
Where Do We Goat From Here?
In 2019, when I decided to move to North Wales, it was to realise a dream I’ve had for a decade. It involves three parts:
- To live somewhere with enough land where I can indulge my love of animals.
- To find a property that is a bit run down, so I can bring it back to life with as many environmentally friendly ideas, gizmos and gadgets as I can find.
- To see how far off the national grid I can become.
(That is not to say I’m giving up my speaking career, just that I would like to balance it with a more natural and, if you like, spiritually enriching way of life too.)
My motto for my project is: where do we goat from here (You can tell which animal is uppermost in my mind.)
How I'm going about this...
I have decided to benefit from the expertise of a buying agent in Chester.
Yes, you have to pay them when you buy, but on the upside, they are the ones who get inundated with property notifications from all the online platforms and estate agents.
They weed through the chaff to find properties that suit a detailed remit they extract from you. And they can also visit properties before you do to discount any that have overly embellished agent particulars.
I’ve got to know my agent quite well over the past months, so we tend to go in tandem to any she finds. I enjoy her company, and it is good to have someone to bounce ideas off.
Just coming out of winter, property offerings are a bit thin on the ground but, as we head into spring, that should (hopefully) change.
I am also battling some preconceptions of my own, the result of an earlier find.
Back in 2019, I found and offered on a property that ticked every one of my boxes.
Unfortunately, I had to withdraw when I discovered the property had an associated boundary dispute which had been rumbling on for eight years. (The owners had conveniently forgotten to mention that piece of information!)
First stop – Bull Bay
This time around, my first house viewing was in Bull Bay, Anglesey.
Bumping along the unadopted road (thank goodness I swapped my sports car for a 4×4), an art deco looking white building set atop a hillock came into view.
Though looking like a bungalow from the front, it was actually two stories built into the hillock.
Now, I know I want to renovate, but this made my brain boggle.
The current owner had allowed a builder friend to move in, rent-free, on the proviso he did some improvement work. He had done the opposite. The place was unloved, riddled with damp and littered with rubbish, and had cracked windows and falling room structures.
And in a curious twist, access to the stairs was only through the shower room! (The latter housed the toilet, which brought entertaining scenarios to mind.)
Wandering around the outside, checking out the damaged chimneys, roof and uneven land, I noticed that all the surrounding trees were bent and growing in the same direction. This area was obviously a wind alley in winter.
Taking an objective view, I couldn’t see any way of tackling this property without demolishing the whole thing and starting again from the footings. And this is rather more work than I’m prepared to take on.
Off to Colwyn Bay
The next stop was a village near Colwyn Bay.
As we meandered down a single track road, the scenery around became more wooded and olde-worlde valley-like. The track culminated in a quirky, interesting-looking building with stone arches, thick walls, and stable-like doors and windows. At first glance, it was as pretty as a picture.
Stepping out of the car, I could hear the sound of a stream running. It was hidden way down at the bottom of the steep garden and obscured by trees.
Inside the house, the walls were deep, the rooms cottage-like with a large living room, which had a marvellous medieval-looking fireplace within. It was large enough to stand up in and walk around!
This place would have required some remodelling and updating, and I noted areas of damp around the chimney breast and general maintenance neglect outside. However, structurally it was in pretty good nick and was quirky enough to appeal to me.
My heart was saying yes, but my head was saying hang on.
Returning home and thinking about it overnight, I decided against it.
Considering the location and the work it would take, the price tag was too high. Adding together the price, work costs and getting fibre broadband laid down, I couldn’t see how the property would appreciate enough in value to justify the purchase. It certainly would not be in my lifetime.
My head won.
Onwards and upwards
I’m not disheartened – it’s early days. The house I am renting is comfortable and well situated, and I don’t need to rush.
Taking this approach has served me well before. It got me my previous home near Oxford, and I lived happily there for 16 years.
I’ll take my time and believe that the right place is here somewhere – I just haven’t come across it yet.
In the meantime, I thought you might like to see where I am currently. I took a picture from the opposite side of the estuary so you can see the community I’m a part of.
Pretty, isn’t it
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