Good Vince House-Hunting

When we last spoke we were tucked in a corner of a farm near Kinross in Fife, and about to do a couple of house viewings in the area as our search for a proper home continues. Not that Vince isn’t a proper home, you understand – but we’d have a bit of trouble putting the whole family up at Christmas when we only have one bed…

Crossing the Forth over the new Queensferry er…crossing

Gill’s sister kindly agreed to chauffeur us around for the day as Vince isn’t that much fun on tiny roads and tight parking spots; I think she was as excited as we were to be having a nosey round other people’s houses! Our first stop was in Kennoway, a mile or two from the coast of the Forth estuary. If we were in a property show this would have been the Mystery House. It was huge, and nothing like anything we’d looked at before. It was a bit quirky with the main living area upstairs, with views across the countryside to the River Forth. We were told it was designed & lived in by the guy who was architect for the first Forth Road Bridge. All I got was a stony silence when I said to the estate agent that that probably wasn’t a good sign, as the bridge is falling apart, oops.

The poor house was a little bit tired for us. It hadn’t been lived in for a while and you could tell. A bit damp, a bit musty, and the downstairs bedrooms were half underground so the windows were too high for short people to see through – mentioning no names, Gill. It was a no from me, a no from Gill and a no from little Sis. That’s three no’s I’m afraid, please exit to the left. A price reduction of over £12,000 was offered to us but we still declined – the lady showing us round actually looked a bit tearful when we left. I’m not sure if it was because we said no, or just the pain a Scot feels from offering a discount.

We were more encouraged by the second house we looked at in Dysart on the coast. There were great views over the water to a couple of oil rigs parked up waiting for business and we could see the shoreline of Edinburgh in the distance. It was quite a narrow road, but I reckoned I could squeeze Vince on to the drive at a push. The layout suited us too. Unfortunately the estate agent (a different one) mentioned that the road had been closed for THREE YEARS as it had collapsed. The garden wall of the house looked very new in places and the estate agent confirmed that the subsidence had affected the plot the house was built on. When I looked closer, there were signs of filled-in cracks running up the gable end of the house and Fi (Gill’s sister) spotted cracks in many of the lintels supporting the doors and windows. “Oh dinnae worry aboot that” we were told ” – it’s all been fixed by the previous owner.” We left. It just isn’t worth the risk.

Mean & moody Vince stares out to sea in St. Abbs

Yesterday we did a bit of Vince pampering, emptying some things and filling up others. We put the last few pictures up on the walls for the in-laws then set off to Dunbar on the east coast, south of Edinburgh. The houses there were new builds but unfortunately were in a vast estate – not quite what we’re looking for at the moment. Nothing against housing estates – we live on one now, but we fancy a change. We found a recommendation on the web for an overnight stop at Dunbar’s leisure pool but sadly Vince was a bit too big for the parking spaces so we wandered down the coast to St. Abbs.

Here we found a picture postcard harbour down a steep winding road. At first glance the Pay & Display and the No Overnight Camping signs were a little off-putting but we saw a piece of paper stuck on the front of the harbourmaster’s hut which said ‘Camper vans £10 overnight: use honesty box’. So we did. The only downside to the location was that there was no phone signal or TV reception d’oh!

At the top of the hill overlooking the harbour, there’s a striking memorial to the 189 east coast fishermen who lost their lives in the great storm of 1881. It’s a beautiful bronze sculpture of the wives and children of the lost men, staring out to sea in the teeth of the gale, waiting for their husbands, fathers and sons to return. It seems almost trite to say that we spent a peaceful evening in our comfy motorhome listening to the rain and watching the boats bobbing up and down in the waves.

This morning the sun came out so we moved on to Eyemouth, another harbour town a bit bigger and busier that St. Abbs. We had our morning coffee and a wander along harbour walls where I used to go fishing on family holidays 45 years ago! Which is bizarre as I’m only 35. Weird.

This Californian yacht is a long way from home in Eyemouth, Scotlandshire!

Our last viewing of the trip took place this afternoon in a borders village called Ayton only a few miles from Eyemouth. Even the owner said that she didn’t know how the photographer managed to make the place look so good – which probably tells you all you need to know. In fairness it’s a lovely house, a former coaching stables, but it would need more cash than we’re prepared to pay to bring it up to modern standards.

Tomorrow we head for Saltaire and more family fun but for now we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere near a beach in Northumberland. Searchforsites.co.uk sent us down a series of narrow lanes to a dead-end just beside the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve. There’s room for half a dozen cars (or three Vinces) and all we can see are grass-covered dunes, a huge sky, and the East Coast Main Line! The description of the site says ‘Public car park at end of rough track. “Dog walkers frequent visitors”.’

I really hope that’s not a euphemism…

See you tomorrow 🙂

The beautiful harbour at St. Abbs

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