We have returned from our home-finding trip in the UK and we hope that we have secured our new dwelling there. I say we hope, because our relocation agent has informed us it will take up to THREE weeks to secure the contract for our letting of this house! We are told it is highly unlikely that anyone else will be able to take this house in the interim, but nothing is definite until that contract is signed, sealed, and delivered (which takes a while apparently in the UK).
We will be living in a house named The Latimer House. It actually has an official name.
Bishop Hugh Latimer
We met the owners and they were lovely - former expats themselves, which was a nice bit of comfort to us - and they told us that the house was named for the English Bishop Hugh Latimer. Bishop Latimer was a famous Anglican preacher in the time of King Henry VIII and then in the time of Queen Mary I. He was burned at the stake for preaching his protestant beliefs during a time when the new Queen Mary (who was married to Spanish royalty) was attempting to convert the country to Catholicism. When the subject came up during our inspection of the house, all parties present seemed to have incredible knowledge of the man, the events, and the period. (We are told the English are history buffs...and it certainly appears that way)
The above of Bishop Latimer actually hangs inside of our new house.
We surely hope we are living in this house when we arrive in the little town in early August. It is a lovely in-town home that was built prior to the 1700s. It has its quirks with shorter doorways, and many period features (as they say in the UK) but it has more character than any place we have ever seen in a house here in Chicago. My favorite parts of the house are:
1. The Snug (aka the small study room with built in book shelves, a desk in the corner, and a fireplace - perfect for drinking tea or coffee and checking email or reading the paper)
2. The AGA Stove. It allows a whole new cooking challenge for me and I cannot wait to learn how to cook with it. I have even signed up for an afternoon cooking class at the near by AGA store how to use these stoves!
3. The Mature English Garden - a beautiful garden in the back of the house with lots of flowers, plants, and even a pond with a fish resident! This video below takes you on a very short (and bumpy) walk through the garden and into the back door of the house. It looks a bit blair-witch-project-like, so please excuse the home video production quality....
We know this house will be quite different than our city place in Chicago. However, we have a few guest rooms, so visitors will be welcome!