When I started writing this blog, I expected to write interesting and funny things about houses like my colleagues at Kenwyn and  Victoria Elizabeth Barnes or even post some photos – although they could not be as stunning as Patrick’s.

Instead I am writing about tax. Not the most interesting of subjects, but comes to us all. Now I have blogged about this before: the issues of getting a mortgage when you are self employed. The bank in their infinite wisdom needed to have both the company accounts (no problem says I – I’ll pop it in the post). They also needed SA302s.

Now a quick search of the interweb revealed that this was a new requirement and an SA302 was something that no-one had heard of. You need to phone HMRC and ask for it. I am lucky enough to have an accountant so got them on to this pronto. However there was a breakdown in communication: El Banko needs two years of SA302; my accountant asked for only one year…and there is a 2 week lead time. Queue another phone call to HMRC and the beginning of a nervous wait.


But then El Banko phones me up to find out what is happening as they had not received the SA302, and told them the state. Oh, no problem they reply, HMRC will fax it over. Phone call to a very pleasant person at HMRC who said no problem and the bank had the required documents in about 10 minutes.

Grggghh. Why had they not said this 3 weeks ago?

So if you are in the same position, try asking your bank if they can receive a fax of the SA302 and save yourself a load of time and effort!



We have finally received the registry documents for the Victorian Pile. Wow! As the house was built around 1856 there is a lot of documents to go through… and with the wonders of the internet you can look up the people that lived in the house.

It looks as though the house was built as a holiday home by the local lord (Lord Palk). Now when I think of a holiday home I tend to think of a bungalow with a couple of rooms, a small kitchen and a patch of grass behind the beach. The Victorians being the Victorians (who were very confident that what they were doing was right and knew that they were building for posterity rather than for the next 3 years) built the house with 3 main bedrooms, 3 servants bedrooms, a study, kitchen etc. Impressive by any standards.

It looks as though Lord Palk died and then the houses in the set were sold on to a local Doctor. The Doctor then owned the houses until after the war when he died. One of the interesting documents is a document that grants certain rights to the owner of the property – what is interesting about it is that it is written in a meticulous copperplate. It makes it impossible to read but makes one thing about how different things are now where we have documents easy to hand, easy to print and share. Thank goodness for modern technology!

Moving out and Clothes Aid

So we have (now had) 15 bags of old clothes that we needed to get rid of. We found them as part of the process of clearing out the junk. They were all in good condition (we had binned the clothes that were not). There was no way we could just throw them out so we had to think of something to do.

Now before you think that I am some mad, clothes shopper/hoarder – I should point out that it was 5 years of 2 children’s clothes and hence felt that they should go to a good home. We did not feel like just turning them over the local dump as we did not where they would end up. We also felt that dumping off 15 bags at the local charity shop would go down like Clint Eastwood at a Republican convention.

Queue Clothes Aid ( We dropped them an e-mail on Sunday. They e-mailed us back Monday to ask for an address and phone number, and a man in a van collected it today. In my opinion that is service! It saved us throwing them out, and saved a whole load of petrol of people dumping the clothes + we helped a good cause (The NSPCC). A win all round.

Looking forward to writing about the house again, but no, we are still in the conveyancing no-man’s land.

Best Friends – and what does this have to do with houses?

My Best Friend left the UK about 10 or so years ago to live and work in Barcelona. We met when we were 16 working in a local shoe shop, and became friends every rapidly. From 16 – 18 we would meet pretty much most weekends and talk endlessly about films, books, people etc. He went out with a girl that I had quite liked at work, but we were firm friends by that point so it didn’t matter to me (much). We then went to university and he came out that he was gay. After getting over the shock of the fact that he swore he never fancied me (and he was having a better time than I was being straight!) we continued meeting up and talking endlessly. Until that is he went to Barcelona when our opportunities to meet are much less, but when we do it is still like old times. I still treat is family as my surrogate family as they are all really nice, and my family love him.

So what does this have to do with houses?

Well I was going to go over and help him celebrate his birthday, but due to the fact we were in the process of buying the Victorian Pile, I felt that I would have to sacrifice a night out in Barcelona as it would cost something approaching a sash-window. Hence I wrote a very apologetic e-mail saying that I would not be able to make it.

I felt very very guilty. We did not see each other much, and here was I saying that a sash-window was more to me than our friendship?

He e-mailed me back to say it was fine – not a problem as he knew I had a busy life with wife and two children etc. But he was having coming back to his mothers last weekend and having a BBQ with his family. Did I want to come over? Of course the answer was yes.

So we turn up to the house where I spent many a night on their sofa, and had watched countless films etc. Was lovely seeing him and his family. He  of course  asked about the house. So I showed them the estate agents details. My friend wanted me to show all his family (and neighbours who has been invited as well) as he thought the house was fantastic.

What was truly touching was the response: everyone knew that it was a big decision (I am moving the family away as well) but they were all supportive and could see why we were doing it and wished us luck. I could bask in the fact that the house we are in the process of buying is really lovely. Fantastic. Grand. Brilliant. And for an evening I could enjoy the fact that The Victorian Pile is one of a kind, and that all the worries about the survey, mortgage, work, money, sash windows, moving, schooling, chimneys, moving away from friends could, just for once be just a background noise.