Archive for April, 2011
Something shocking happened this morning. For the first time ever, we ran out of Vegemite.
The thing is, with our departure date looming, I’ve been trying to run the stock in the pantry down a little. But I guess I took things too far, because when I tried to substitute with some Marmite, the kids spat their toast out and gave me, ‘why are you trying to poison us?’ looks of horror before moving on to Weetbix.
Running out of Vegemite (what kind of Aussie mother am I?) gave me the jolt I obviously needed. What am I going to do when this happens in the UK? I must remember to keep adequate supplies, for it is a long hike to the Bar Hill Tesco, we will only have one car (which will be out at work all day) and I’m guessing the village shop will only stock the dreaded Marmite…
So, we have a house. No, not a house. A penthouse apartment. Sounds la dee da, yes? Well, let me tell you – when a real-estate agent informs you that you, ‘Should be able to fit a single bed into that third bedroom’, you start to realise that sometimes ‘penthouse’ simply means ‘on the top floor’ and ‘third bedroom’ can be translated as ‘broom cupboard with ambitions’. I became further disheartened when I emailed some photos of the place to a friend and he emailed back, saying, ‘What are you talking about? That first picture looks like a really good sized bedroom!’. The first picture was the living/dining room.
Pause. Deep breath. I must remember the positives. It’s a lovely apartment (penthouse!). In a converted mill, no less. It just wasn’t everything we wanted wrapped up into one with a big red bow on top. The problem is, when travelling with children, there are other things to consider. Our number one, top priority was to find the perfect school for them, which is why we’ve rented this apartment (penthouse!) almost two months before we’ll actually arrive. It’s all about falling into the right catchment for the right school and then applying at the right time so you’ll actually get in. And there are plenty of positives about this apartment (penthouse!). For a start, we’ll get the kids into that perfect school.
There are other positives, too. Like…
it’s a penthouse.
Our relocation consultant had forewarned us that things often turn out like this. She’d told us it was rare to get 100% of what you wanted in a property, especially if you were searching out in the villages, rather than in the city, where property didn’t turn over as fast. And if you were looking in specific school catchments? Well, that made things harder again.
The breakdown goes something like this. The things we didn’t get:
- a yard for the kids (let’s face it, it’ll be too cold most of the year for two Aussie kids from Queensland to venture outside anyway. I once took them to Tassie in Summer and they practically refused to get off the plane)
- a very short walk to school (1km isn’t that far to walk, not even in the freezing cold, right? Right?! RIGHT?!)
- three big bedrooms so we’ll have room for visitors (I now know that three big bedrooms can’t actually exist in the one property in the UK. It’s some kind of law of physics)
The things we did get:
- a place to live (a pretty big deal considering we never really knew if we’d even get visas, let alone get to this point)
- the school we want for the kids (huge deal, huge…)
- a period property (at one point my husband had to ban me from looking at barn conversions because I was developing a nasty habit)
- access to two ‘private flower meadows’ (can’t say I’ve had this in Australia).
I’ve worked it out and we have 77.25% of what we want. That’s good, right? You can’t always get 77.26% of what you want. 77.25% is up there. It’s the basics, plus a few extras, just without the big red bow on top. I’m not sure The Rolling Stones could belt it out, but you’ve got to admit it – living in a penthouse is a tiny bit rock-star. Maybe we’ll keep the third bedroom for our skinny jeans collection…
Photo: care of the amazing Clare of Relocate Cambridge who puts up with our inane questions.