Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You Gotta Move...

I know Julie doesn't appear in my blog much (and the website is shamefully out-of-date) but we still carry on our busy lives out here, together.

As she works nights and I work daytime we don't meet for long these days, and since we threw a doggie into the mix we have even less time to ourselves, or alone together, but hey...

I don't like talking about the future much (I belong to the "If you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans!" school of thought) but Julie has recently made an offer on a cottage in a remoter part of Wales, North and West from here. I don't understand a word of this mortgage lark, and I only know that when my own limited credibility got thrown into the mix the price went up! Yikes!

It's not like we actually showed we had more cash, I suppose...(like I say, I don't understand)...my age, attitude, habits and income just increase the risk for a lender - and these days lenders are getting a bit cautious, unlike the days when they were forcing loans on people. With the US recession looming like a black cloud (a large chunk caused by the junk mortgage market, not just the war in Iraq) and the tendency of the UK to follow America's lead a few years later, they have every right to consider me a bad risk, I guess.

But I'll just drop my usual rant - and cross my fingers... Superstition seems like all I can bring to the table. I'd better start buying lottery tickets, I guess.

Devil's Bridge
The name seems to acquire and drop hyphens, and I feel sure I don't say it right yet (!) but it looks something like Pont-rhyd-y-groes. Near Aberystwyth, and close to Devil's Bridge, Ceredigion, it seems like a good investment which will appeal to anglers, bird-watchers, walkers, cyclists, etc. I haven't seen the place yet (well, we don't definitely own it yet) but our current house is filling up with beds, and cutlery, and cupboards, and hat racks and lights and tea cosies and crockery, and tables, etc - ready to fill it!

Of course, I have always lived in rented places, out of a cardboard suitcase, so I find the whole prospect of a second home quite daunting. Perhaps a great holiday option (out of the season for it making money to pay for itself) but still quite a scary thought as a place to go and live. Mostly because I don't drive, and have stranded myself in the country without work before now (back in the 1980s). Hey ho.
Pont-rhyd-y-groes - photo by John Luckhurst
It seems to have formed as a village in the 19th Century - because of the lead mining industry, but the next village, Ysbyty Ystwyth, appears rather older, at least it has agricultural roots pre-dating the mining. Its church is dedicated to St John the Baptist (for you esoteric alternative history types). Some of the surrounding cottages probably belonged to squatters from the 19th Century. So that didn't just start with the hippies and the mushrooms!

Panoramic view of surroundings, from Castell Grogwynion (but you don't have right-of-way to walk all over it...)
Map Reference
Pen Glog-fawr Panorama
Maenarthur (Arthur's Stone) Panorama

Still, this is a long-term plan, and I guess if Voltaire got it right in Candide, after all the journeys and trials,"Il faut cultiver notre jardin" - and if Lao Tse got it right, then retreating to a small place and never going to the next village, even, might prove a great way to round off a life. Personally, I lean to Chuang-Tzu, as Western philosophy and religion seems to contain so little humour, and ease.

A small country may have many machines,
but the people will have no use for them;
they will have boats and carriages
which they do not use;
their armour and weapons
are not displayed,
for they are serious when regarding death.
They do not travel far from home,
and make knots in ropes,
rather than do much writing.
The food they eat is plain and good,
and their clothes are simple;
their homes are secure,
without the need of bolts and bars,
and they are happy in their ways.
Though the cockerels and dogs
of their neighbours
can be heard not far away,
the people of the villages
grow old and die in peace

Lao Tse ch. 80

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