It's been a while. We found a house in Richmond, then lost it, then found it again. It appears that sometime around the end of March (yes, it's a long way away) we most likely will be moving to the house that bwo wanted on Petersham Road. On a Friday morning a few weeks back, Jonathan, the real estate agent showed up at my temporary digs in Egham to take the wife and I out to look at houses. It just happened to be the heaviest snow day of the year. Undeterred we set out it look at 10 or so possible rental places. We chose the Richmond area as it's about half way between work and the city, on the train line between Waterloo and Egham and a reportedly a good place to live.
Many of the places were livable (to me at least). I was happy to not be driving through the snow, which got thicker during the course of the day. It added another level of strange to the whole experience. At some point shortly after lunch we met Danny, the renter's agent who took us to the house on Petersham Road. Well, it at least has parking out front, was my first thought, the grubby wood floor at the entrance left me a little skeptical, it also needs a bus trip to get to Richmond staion. But the house was special. Lots of (very low) wooden ceiling beams, smallish interconnecting rooms, a weird basement done up to look like a sixties bachelor pad's love nest (complete with mood lighting). I could see bwo falling in love before my eyes. It was just quirky enough. The owner is a writer and she built a "charming" little writing shed in the midst of the little garden off the lane behind the house. I liked the place. I particularly liked that it was definitely English. Many of the other places we saw could have been anywhere in the world, but this (a converted tavern) was definitely all English. The house is also directly across from Richmond Park's Petersham Gate. The park is one of the main attractions in the area and is spectacular (with trees and forests, including deer).
Anyway once we got back home, bwo decided this was for her. So she set off to meet the landlady and to find out more. Now when you go on relocation, nothing is simple. The company outsources finding, and renting the accommodation to a third party, who do all the negotiation and ultimately sign the lease for you. Bwo and I were about to return to Israel when we heard that even though the landlady really liked bwo, they had decided that renting to us would be too much hassle. They were planning a trip to Thailand and we had not given enough time for renovation and the furniture etc. We were sad. The relo people advised that's just the way it is and we should accept it. So we returned to Israel (me for the weekend before heading back) without a place to live.
A week passed. Bwo was unsettled as we made plans for her to come out for another house hunting trip. We had seen other places that would do. After all it was only for a year plus we told ourselves. But I know my girl, she wanted that house. Anyway I spoke to the outsourced agent and we decided we could postpone our entry into the house till the end of March and settle for less renovation. This week it seems they have accepted the new offer, although we have not had final word yet. So maybe we have a place to live.
A quirky house on Petersham Road in Richmond, opposite the park, on the way to Kingston, behind Ham and close to the Thames and Twikenham. More to come as things develop.