Lee Rotbart

Archive for the ‘Reminiscing’ Category

Oh it’s all gone quiet over there

In Reminiscing on October 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Yes… it has indeed gone quiet. Partly because I don’t want to jinx anything, and partly because there’s very little to say.

We have a house. We have, after a little negotiation and one tiny little tantrum from yours truly, agreed a price for fixtures, fittings and key furniture. We have re-written the business plan. We have adjusted the cash flow projections at least 4 times (and I have the archived Excel spreadsheets to prove it): And, just for a change, we are waiting for the mortgage.

Things that I have stopped doing:

  1. I have stopped budgeting (oops)
  2. I have stopped checking the stats for this blog 5 times a day
  3. I have stopped updating this blog
  4. I have stopped talking about breakfasts
  5. I have stopped reading my ‘How to Run a B&B’ book

I should however point out that I haven’t stopped doing any of these things because I have gone off the boil, or am no longer interested in chasing this project, it’s just that we’re still in chartered territory. We haven’t hit a new obstacle yet, and so there’s very little to say that hasn’t been said before.

If we get the mortgage things will start to motor and I’ll be back on here at least every couple of days recording the trials and tribulations of the next stage of the project, but we’re still very much at the beginning with, as yet, no guarantees that we’ll ever see Stage 2.

It might be a good opportunity at this stage to thank the following people for their support so far:

  • My Mum and Dad for tirelessly listening to many many stories about Cornwall, rants about banks, and spending 2 days of their holiday traipsing round guest houses.
  • Danny’s Dad for being so enthusiastic about absolutely everything.
  • My brother and sister, Danny’s sister, and other family members for avidly reading this blog and getting almost as excited as us about various house features and snippets of news.
  • Our friends for putting up with endless explanations about different banks and mortgages, and oohing and aahing in appropriate places when shown photos.
  • Laz for his excellent estate agent advice.
  • My buyers who, despite having their offer accepted on my flat over 2 months ago, have not been able to exchange, but are still patiently hanging in there. If we ever move the flat is yours – I promise!
  • Various mortgage brokers (notably Jeff, Nick, Neil and Adam) for their patience, advice and ability to be friendly even though I phone 50 times a day to get udpates.
  • Steve Cross of Cross Estates for getting in touch on Twitter and enabling us to find our new place.
  • Proprietors of Porthminster View who put the fire in our belly, sold us into St Ives, and genuinely wanted us to buy their guest house (we’re really sorry that we couldn’t sort out the mortgage in time), and who will – no doubt – introduce us to lots of really fun people if we ever make it to St Ives.
  • Twitter followers and blog readers who, considering they don’t know us, have been really supportive and friendly; and given some damn good advice.
  • The guys at Escape the City who have profiled us online, even before we’ve actually done anything!
  • Future guests, and by this I mean people who have promised to come and stay – don’t worry, we won’t forget!

It’s quite cathartic to write this list as it reminds me of how far we’ve come, and how many people have helped us so far. Should we not get the mortgage at least you still all got a thank you – sometimes people only get thanked in the event of a success and forgotten if it all ends in a bit of a whimper.

What am I talking about? It won’t end! This is just the end of the beginning, and it has all gone quiet but if experience has taught us anything, it won’t be for long.

An ode to my flat

In Reminiscing on July 6, 2010 at 10:14 am

Today I have to phone the estate agent to put my flat on the market. This is a sad day indeed. My little, one-bedroom flat in Bethnal Green has been my bedrock for nearly 6 years and I love it.

I remember the day we first met, I was wondering where the hell I was as the estate agent drove me through the back streets of East London; grand thoughts of living in North London dashed by my meager salary and inability to get a large enough mortgage. However, upon opening the door into a light, airy wooden-floored flat it was love at first sight.

A year later, when London won the Olympic bid, I thought my luck was in as visions of renting my flat out for £thousands in 2012 floated in front of my eyes. I now find myself going against my better judgment and selling up before 2012 hits – and there was me thinking I’d never leave.

My flat has seen a lot of everything… lots of parties, lots of tears, lots of arguments, lots of friends, badly cooked chicken soup, and cheesecakes to die for. It’s seen me fall in and out of love with people, cigarettes, alcohol, and items of clothing. Embarrassingly in the first few years the nearby community saw a lot of this too as I didn’t invest in curtains till 2007.

Overall the place has been pretty loyal. The boiler hasn’t packed up and the shower’s only broken once; I’ve never been burgled and I’ve always had nice neighbours. I was even lucky enough to have a friend design the lighting for me: No more bright lights and ugly lampshades from John Lewis for me, it was all dimmer switches, and minimalistic spotlights on metal tracks.

Inevitably, there are some things that have never been quite right. I still have to have an indoor aerial in the living room because the aerial point is in the bedroom. The wi-fi is temperamental. The fridge is tiny with an even tinier freezer compartment, and I stare in envy at friends that have a huge fridge freezer that spurts out ice cubes from a gap at the front. The intercom is basic, despite all their promises the building owners are yet to put pigeon holes in for post, and we won’t even mention the 6 year battle to keep my parking space clear of commuters trying to avoid the congestion charge.

All that aside, it’s been a great 6 years and some change is more terrifying than others. Selling my flat is like finishing a story, it’s saying goodbye to a best friend, it’s graduating university; and while I thought it would always be there, I guess that everything comes to an end eventually.

Anatole France once said ‘All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another’.

Thanks Anatole, I couldn’t have said it better myself.