We’re in the process of trying to sell our house (pictured above) and it’s not an easy task. Two more lots of people came to see it this afternoon and found it unsuitable in different ways. For the first woman, living alone with her daughter, there wasn’t enough security. The joint driveway is a worry for her, and for many others it seems. We’ve found it actually adds to our security since the neighbours who live behind are a middle-aged, retired couple who are home a lot and who can keep an eye on things when we’re away. But, as the first woman pointed out, the main gate is low enough for anyone to jump over if they’re set on it. And this would keep her awake at nights.
Lots of people like the house but want more space, either in the house or in the garden. They don’t like sharing a driveway and feel less secure knowing that they don’t have complete control over their own security. The neighbours might forget to close the gate for example. And what if they (the neighbours) decided to sell and did so to an obnoxious family? I’ve seen more than one family stop looking right there.
We’ve already found a slightly larger house down the road that we like. It has an extra bedroom, a solar-heated pool and a large playroom for Leah. We’ve both said that we could happily stay here if we can’t sell but in the meantime we have to put up with the discomfort of scrutiny, the inevitable criticism of our lovely house, some more show-days and a long wait.
Otherwise, things are relatively upbeat this week. It’s the first day of my school holidays and I’m really relieved this term is over. We’ve all been battling colds and flu’s and other ailments (the little one for example seems to be backed up until Christmas). And the weeks of rain haven’t helped. But every now and then we get a gloriously sunny day and we forget all about the gloomy skies and the attendant anxieties.
Reading-wise, I’ve got a few books on the go. I’m still reading and enjoying The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht. I’ve also renewed my Audible subscription and bought a detective thriller for L (The Bat by Jo Nesbo) and a psychology book for myself. Oliver Burkeman writes on psychology for the Guardian and I’ve enjoyed his columns in the past. With The Antidote he tackles the cult of positive thinking and shows how negative thinking (or just balanced thinking) can be a lot better for us. It’s too early to say whether I’m going to like the majority of what he has to say. But I’ve enjoyed the balance between the drier academic discussions and the more personal anecdotes such as his ‘Circle Line tube experiment’ and the background to Albert Ellis. Basically, he’s against positive thinking and for all the right reasons. But so far he hasn’t engaged with Positive Psychology itself but rather with the cult of positive thinking of people such as Norman Vincent Peale as well as going into a detailed discussion of Stoicists old and new. I liked the ideal of “negative visualisation” as a kind of innoculation against getting too upset about things. Applying this technique to our house situation, I do feel a bit calmer but also resigned about it. I’m wise enough to know that things are seldom as bad as I fear they are. The estate agent says to give it time (and it’s only been one and a half weeks so far with one show day, which coincided with a long weekend). I’ll let you know how things pan out.