Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

Everyday experiences with twins. The ups, downs and downright unexpected.

Things that make you go hmmmm August 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 12:26 am
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It has been something of a strange day. There were no fabulous highs but no desperate lows either. What the day did throw up however, are a number of unanswered questions that I’m going to share on the off-chance that someone can answer any of them for me. A few niggles that have given me the urge to rant a little. You’ll have to excuse me.

1) Why are baby change cubicles never large enough to accommodate a double buggy?

There has been one occasion, and one occasion only, when I have been able to change my twin girls in the designated area provided. Step up Marks and Spencer’s, Cheltenham. The only venue on the planet large enough to let all three of us in. It is actually so large, that you could take all of Angelina Jolie’s children in and still have room for my three. It’s vast and it’s clean. It’ll never last. I bet next time I visit, it’ll have been turned into a carbon neutral, wind-powered, gluten-free, non-denominational prayer room.

It’s not as if the miniscule changing cubicles are only penalizing parents with twins either. I mean, plenty of families have a double buggy to accommodate a newborn plus an older sibling. There are thousands of us out there. The planners wouldn’t be daft enough to make disabled loos that wheelchairs can’t fit in would they? Then again…

2) Why are venues of public interest not sign posted?

Today we visited the McArthur Glen Shopping Outlet in Swindon. For anyone who’s been fortunate enough to have never visited Swindon, it is a hell hole of a town held together by 187 mini roundabouts. None of which have signage to the shopping centre. There are few reasons that anyone would ever willingly visit Swindon. Surely the presence of a half-decent outlet centre would be something to promote and try to encourage people to visit? All I can say is, apparently not!

3) Why are estate agents inherently useless?

We are in the process of buying a house. Well, let’s rephrase that. We are in the process of trying to buy a house. The house in question has planning permission for a substantial garage / cottage in the grounds. Well, according to the agents it does. Not according to the solicitor. Or the surveyor. Or the Land Registry. I telephoned Rupert (and why are all estate agents in the Cotswolds called Rupert?) to push him on the subject. All I can say is he managed to solidify my opinion of his company. Knight Frank(ly Useless).

So answers on a postcard please. If anyone has answers to any of the above, I’d be delighted to hear them.


Flexible with the truth anyone? May 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 8:10 pm
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Back on the subject of moving house tonight I’m afraid.

As we’re currently ‘on the market’, I’m keeping a close eye on what is coming up for sale in our area, what’s under offer and generally trying to get a feel for the state of the property market in deepest, darkest Cheshire.

Having rejected the first offer we received, we’re now in that dark place wondering.. did we do the right thing?

And can we rely on our agent to present our home in it’s best light?

Whilst browsing Rightmove, it has become clear to me that estate agents really aren’t to be trusted. There is enough ambiguity, mystery and avoidance of the truth printed on most sales particulars to keep the Serious Fraud Office busy for months.

Some of the observations made by agents about properties are just ridiculous. I realise that the aim is to generate interest in a house, but honestly… do they have no shame?

Here are some of my favourite findings for you.

“New Price” – Bold type and splashed across the main photograph of a property. This begs the question, how can it have a ‘new price’? Surely it just has a price? And if the price has been changed, does that not suggest that the agent priced it incorrectly in the first place?

“Under New Instruction” – Now this must surely mean that the last agent couldn’t shift it, so the owners are chancing their luck with a new one? So, either the price is wrong, or the property’s a hovel!

“Viewing Advised” – Ok, sorry but does this mean that any properties that don’t carry this recommendation aren’t worth looking at?

“Only 3 remaining” – now this I could understand if it were in reference to a development of say, 50+ houses. But the developer in question has built 4 houses. Yes, 4 houses with ‘only’ 3 remaining. So he’s sold, um, 1? Not exactly a panic then is it?

“We are pleased to offer this unique property” – this was written about a 3 bed detached Bovis/Barratt/Bland box of which there are another 27, exactly the same, all within spitting distance. Unique, how?

“Architect designed modern home” – I’m hoping that at some point, an architect may have been involved with the planning and/or design of most homes? Because if he’s only been involved with the houses that mention him, there’s an awful lot out there that have just been thrown up by amateurs.

And my personal favourite this evening…

“Reduced by £60,000 for quick sale. Sensible offers considered” – loosely translated, “We’re bloody desperate to offload this shed and we’ll let it go for peanuts”.


To sell or not to sell? April 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 9:29 am
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Given the number of times we’ve moved house, you’d think we’d be pros at the whole buying and selling lark. Yet every time we’re in the position to either buy or sell a property, we become indecisive wrecks.

I put this down to the fact that I find the experience very emotive. When viewing houses, I have an instinct that generally cuts in within seconds of stepping across the threshold. If I don’t get that feeling, then the house is off the list, out of the question, not worth looking around a second longer. It drives my husband insane.

Likewise I am very protective of the home that we currently own. I can accept that it is not perfect, that it would not suit everybody, but to me, it’s a fabulous house which I love and more importantly, holds lots of great memories. And anyone looking round it had better agree with me!

We’ve just put said house on the market. It went ‘live’ on all the key websites on Friday morning. By close of play Friday we had 5 viewings scheduled for the weekend. I knew we’d priced it too low!

Anyway, our agents are actually pretty good (though I’d never tell them this) and by Monday lunchtime, we had an email detailing the prospects who’d viewed together with their feedback.

This is the bit I hate. How dare anyone say that they’ve found a fault with my house. They should be extremely grateful to be given the chance of viewing it at all! Again, my husband despairs.

And then comes the interesting bit, of the 5 that viewed, 2 parties are ‘very interested’.  Hmmm. This gets us both thinking. Could we actually be in for an easy ride this time? Are we about to sell our house?

An hour later, an offer comes in. It is below the asking price though not embarrassingly so. And so the games begin.

My husband and I spend the best part of an hour second guessing exactly what the prospective buyers are thinking. Bearing in mind we know nothing about them other than their surname and that they are in ‘a position to proceed’; all we’re actually doing is speculating on the financial position and emotional attachment to our house of two complete strangers. We’d do just as well to go out onto the streets of Dubai and ask the first person we see how much they’d offer for our house.

So do we accept and then spend the next few weeks grumbling about how we wish we’d held out for more? Or do we thank them politely for their kind offer but explain very gently, that we just feel that it’s not high enough?

There are 2 further viewings already in the pipeline. Could they be the ones.

I just don’t know. It’s like playing poker without knowing what your own cards are, let alone anyone elses.

I say this every time, but this time I really mean it. Never again!