We're off to see the Building Society man tomorrow about a mortgage. We're not moving, but a trip to Wisbech , Cambridgeshire in the Fens has got me wanting to join the second home owning set.
Wisbech hasn't much going for it. It has no railway, appears to have few jobs and only one large employer. 25% of its town centre shops are run by charities. The poor town has been buggered about something rotten, yet in the middle of this rather desperate looking place is a gem.
On Sunday we went to visit a National Trust property Peckover House, a gorgeous Georgian house in the centre of the town. The journey there wasn't that auspicious, up the M11 past Cambridge, stopping off at a Little Chef for a coffee and pee, and then onto the A14 I think and numerous B roads thanks to Google. I like dramatic vistas, mountains, rolling hills and dales. Past Cambridge it was flat, flat, flat in an extremely monotonous way. Ideal for boats and barges and arthritic cyclists, but little on which one could feast one's eyes.
Arriving at Wisbech we both felt we'd made a great mistake. Warehouses, second hand car showrooms, garages, building half built and a legacy of botched 60's and 70's town planning. We passed a splendid double fronted detached Georgian house, with a for sale sign and clear signs of neglect just before Peckover House. The house itself was lovely, owned by a Quaker banking family. It was substantial, comfortable but not overly lavish. The gardens were to die for. We especially loved the little pet grave yard with 8 quite recent graves of beloved pets, both cats and dogs.
After the visit to the house we walked along the North Brink, the north bank of the river which serves the port (yes it has an inland port - now sadly declined). We passed Wisbech Grammar founded in 1397, passed rows and rows of lovely Georgian houses, large and small and the local brewery, Elgood and Sons founded in the late 18th century.
Crossing the river to the South Brink the town centre was run down and empty, but then we came across the Crescent. As near a piece of perfect Georgian housing development you could wish for. And there were homes for sale. From an earlier perusal of the many estate agents' windows it was clear that house prices were fairly reasonable. Glances thro' the windows of the homes showed well uphostered rooms with pianos and no mega TVs on display - a sure sign of class.
After a 2 hour journey home I was on the computer searching for homes in Wisbech. I could not believe the prices. A 2 bed Grade II listed gem (no garden but you have the Crescent's grounds) £170k!!!
Hence the visit to the bank.
Now don't all rush.