There’s something about hitting the big 5 – 0 which alters perspective. Especially when your children stop being children around that same moment in time. Almost overnight our lives stopped revolving around the “kids”, who are now mini and fully fledged adults respectively, forging their own way in the world. Suddenly mine and Ad’s attention shifted and we began to look ahead to a future as a couple with a grown up family rather than a 2 + 2. We’re not at that point yet, but with one child about to start her final year at university and another about to start his A levels, we’re not a million miles away either.
We began to think about a future where we could work less and spend more time together – and eventually retire. That’s still a long way off but we decided the time was probably about right to do something we’d been deliberating on and off for a couple of years; buy a second home. This would give us somewhere to spend weekends & holidays for the next few years but could also (eventually) form part of our retirement solution.
We spent much of 2020 searching for the perfect property – not easy in the middle of a pandemic, with various lockdowns and travel restrictions complicating matters substantially. With our main locaton focus being on Wales it wasn’t just English Covid restrictions we needed to abide by but Welsh ones too.
This meant there were many weeks where we couldn’t actually view properties. With the property market hotting up we lost out on a number of homes because we just couldn’t view before they were snapped up. But then we found Ucheldir – a bungalow in a village called Tegryn in rural Pembrokeshire.
Ucheldir ticked all our boxes; big enough for the kids to spend time with us but small enough for the two of us, rural but within a reasonable drive to the coast and stunning views to the rear. The stars aligned (at last!) and we were able to view and make an offer in February 2021 within a day or so of it hitting the market.
We think the bungalow name is Welsh for “highland/upland/elevated land” which would make sense; Tegryn is a hilltop village on a ridge lying at the eastern end of the Preseli Mountains. If any Welsh readers could let me know how to pronounce it that would be very helpful – we are pronouncing it as “you-sell-deer” but we are far from certain that’s correct.
3 and a bit months after our offer was accepted we “moved in” and now the hard work has started to turn it into our home. After standing empty for a year after the original chain fell apart at the last minute (our gain!) it is in need of a little TLC. We also want to make a few changes to the layout of the bungalow to make the most of the stunning views from the back of the property. But other than that, we are only looking at minor cosmetic work.
We’ve met some of our neighbours – of both human and animal variety. Our human neighbours are helping us with some welsh speaking although I fear we aren’t catching on too quickly! We’ve visited the local pub a couple of times to help with our integration into the community . It’s a very different pub to our 4 village pubs in Alvechurch – much more of a local, “working man’s” pub, but the clientele were very welcoming of us “foreigners” nonetheless. It’s not the kind of pub where you have a cosy candlelit meal, it’s more about rocking up and joining in with whoever else is in the pub – which was actually very interesting. The beer is good (according to Ad) and there was vodka in the optics – but I’m guessing the range of gins isn’t quite what I’m used to. This is a first world problem that I can definitely live with.
Our animal neighbours sometimes frequent the fields bordering our garden. The cows definitely add to the view!
For the last few days we’ve* scrubbed, tidied, rearranged, painted, gardened, hammered and generally injected a bit of sparkle into our new home.
It hasn’t all been hard work though – we were in desperate need of a holiday so we’ve also taken time to enjoy the sunshine and visit a few of Pembrokeshire’s beauty spots. I’m also feeling inspired to write again, so for those of you interested, there may be more posts to come.
*the boys. I’ve been supervising 😆