Finally, after weeks, I’ve something to write about – not nearly as interesting as many previous adventures, but news none the less. I’m still loving settling into Napier and have enjoying a fair bit of biking. Nothing exciting, mostly rides to & from work and around town with the odd longer ride or bit of mountain-biking thrown in. But it’s nice to get out in the spring weather (which is mostly warm & dry, apart from the last few days) and start to build a bit of fitness for the upcoming summer.
On the way to work, back when the sun was still rising late enough I could catch the best morning light while riding around the bay.
The old Customhouse down at Port Ahuriri.
Heading out to explore the foothills one Saturday, the first hour or so checking out parts of the cycle trail I had yet to see.
More lazing around on the window-seat admiring the view over the estuary, bay, and airport towards the Kawekas.
Napier continues to surprise me in other ways. I was quite amazed to find an active Italian club and weekly language lessons – who’d’ve thought?! So I’ve enjoyed starting to learn (much catching up to do) the language again – even if it does seem a little pointless here at the bottom of the world, it’s mostly fun. Also a great way to meet some new people outside my normal circles – which are quite small here.
But, by far, the biggest use of my spare time recently has been in trying to buy a house and all the legwork that goes with that. While in no particular rush (I’m quite comfortable living here and that view above is going to be tough to leave), house-hunting did take over for a while as since I decided to buy, it made more sense to be paying my own mortgage rather than another’s. After having a couple of offers passed over, I decided that particular price bracket was too competitive (traditional lack of supply in winter met by unusually high demand) and started looking to spend a bit more and saddle myself with a few more years of debt.
At the moment, that seems to have been a good idea as I found somewhere I really like and that suits me well. Easy walking distance (even easier to bike) to the city centre and Ahuriri, there’s much more space should family & friends visit (than in houses I had been looking at), a small lawn & garden and only a small amount of maintenance work for me to learn how to do immediately. For a fifty-odd year old house, it’s in tidy condition and still retains quite a few little original feature that I find quite charming. Thankfully it’s much better insulated than originally, so with plenty of afternoon sun should be quite warm (not to mention three [!] heat-pumps – the vendor installs them for a living).
After less than two weeks of organising inspections, valuations, finance, solicitor’s approval & so on the contract went unconditional. It was a fair bit of organising, but I was so glad to be going through the process here in NZ, especially after seeing some of the hassles my friends and colleagues went through trying to buy a house in the UK. Settlement (handover) is end of October, so I’ve a few weeks of relative calm and being mortgage-free. I’m well excited to be soon having my own home and space and am looking forward to the task of destroying a mortgage, gradually. Although it’s a little concerning the number of people that have told I’ll soon be grown up – not sure that that idea sits too well with me!
Enough of that, I finally have some photos from the vendors – so here’s a little tour. To imagine what it’ll look like when I move in, just remove all the furniture in your mind’s eye. Currently, I own a bed; I have a little shopping to do.
From the street – importantly, for a house on the hill’s winding & steep streets, there is plenty of off-street parking. I also like the mailbox in the wall – reminds me of England a bit. That’s the top floor of the house – the living area; the section falls away steeply from street level.
There’s a nice large deck running the length of the house which’ll be great for summer barbecues.
A rather easy-care section; the list of fruit trees and other things to plant should keep me (or Dad or both of us) busy for a while. Don’t worry, I made sure the hammock stays.
I rather like the panelling at the back of the living room that follows the staircase down.
The living area from the front door, the kitchen is around to the right and a small bedroom & en suite to the left.
Said kitchen – not massive, but easily big enough for me & my limited cooking prowess.
Thankfully, this room isn’t as overwhelmingly blue in real life – not having blue linen will probably help too.
That fluorescent light fitting is fantastic – until it malfunctions, I expect. Plenty of native timber downstairs (the original tender documents in the council records make interesting reading) and there is that panelling again too.
Master bedroom, which may be a misnomer as the other bedroom downstairs is the same size.
That’s about it really, it’s a house and soon it’ll be a little bit mine and mostly the bank’s. But I’ll work on that and I’m looking forward to it being home.