In so many ways.
First it was big because we had seven viewings today, four in Henley-on-Thames and three in Marlow. By number seven we were pretty burned out but no regrets.
Today the weather was perfect. Blue skies and temps in the low 20s allowed us to see these two towns outside of winter. And it was glorious. Walking around Henley, particularly down by the river, brought on a real happy state.
The Henley houses we viewed were an interesting mix which we visited in the following order :
The first was delightful. It was on a busy road but close to the center of Henley. It had a divine back garden, no grass, just stone, patio, tree, bamboo, quite the oasis of tranquility. It hit all our buttons bar it not having two upstairs bathrooms. This maybe a comprise we can make but it’s not enough to push us into an offer right now. This is a definite maybe.
The second property was only on the list as it was listed by the same agent as the first. It turned out to be quite a surprise. It was in a fantastic location and while not having the number of bedrooms we want it scored on many points. Even being on the second floor was sort of mitigated by being right by a major supermarket so just in time provisioning would mitigate having to lug large supplies up the stairs. The main problem is the long term view where we’d like somewhere we could live in when we fall apart (as if we haven’t already).
The third property was also very well located. It comes with a commercial lease generating income from a hairdressers below. There are some complications which we believe are the reason this property has been on the market for a while. But for those willing to face the complications it represents a possible fine deal.
The last property was quaint and the interior attractive. But the combination of size, location and orientation to North was not positive so this ones off.
After the mornings burst of activity we explored the town, had lunch down by the river and even had a stroll along the river. This blew us away as the perfect weather showed the town in it’s glory. We can really see ourselves living here.
In the afternoon we headed over to Marlow. We had over an hour to spare before our first appointment so we had another walk around town. Marlow is also a beautiful town on the river but had the sense of a Henley-lite. We can imagine walking the 7 or 8 miles along the river from Henley to Marlow to experience the town. But when we imagined walking the other direction we could only see ourselves asking why we never started in Henley.
But we had three properties to see.
The first was right on the high street. There was no assigned parking but despite having all the character we love, it wasn’t quite big enough. An eye opener but it’s not on our short list.
Our first thoughts about the second property was that it was just too far out of town and along an uninspiring road. Walking up the garden to the property we were bowled over. Inside the property was equally impressive. Despite all this, it didn’t have the right balance of room types and the location was too far from town to meet our needs and too high a price to compensate for this. We passed.
The last property was the home of an airport architect (we’re talking major airports here). This resulted in a modern home that was pretty unique and incredibly appealing. The distance from center of town was a bit too far for us so this remains a property to keep an eye on.
So that’s the detailed house by house view on the day. But a bigger picture emerged for both of us. With the fine spring weather, the river and the town character we’ve now very much settled on Henley and, to a lesser extent, Marlow as an ideal location. Doesn’t mean to say this is where we’ll end up but it’s now the benchmark against which we now feel we must measure everything else. We saw enough prospects in each area to allow us to believe finding something where, even if we have to compromise, we can be happy. So it’s a good time to have our Cornwall break as this new perspective needs time to settle in. One thing we do realize is that the third Henley properties raised a lot of questions and things to learn so that can start now even though we feel a long way from committing.
All this comes with one big caveat. We know that a lot of this makes a lot less sense if my health takes a turn for the worst during this high risk period. What helps is that I now have my next MRI and consultancy with the Prof booked for the 7th/11th of June. We’re hoping for a new betting forecast from the Prof which could well influence things. For now we’ve decided to plan for heads rather than tails and deal with tails if it happens. But we’ve also decide not to commit to anything until we get the June form book.