It began with groceries from Waitrose. Lured by delicious images, a few clicks of the mouse, no wayward trolleys or aisle miles to worry about and the goodies delivered directly into the kitchen in the capable hands of a friendly driver. We were hooked. The world of online shopping had entered our lives and secured a place in our hearts.
|online shopping for groceries a necessary part of our lives when in the UK|
Success in the bidding wars of 'ebay' brought silver pepper shakers and Carlton Ware to us via Royal Mail. Navigating the Hungarian online equivalent, 'Vatera', proved both technically and linguistically challenging but, one happy day, four 1950s 'cocktail' chairs were ours. Amazon secured a rare copy of James Lees Milne and 'Gumtree', most recently, furnished us with a 1920s sideboard courtesy of Neville, a man with a van. As we tend not to be overly fond of shops in general how much better this was, we agreed, to buy from the comfort of home and await deliveries at the hall door.
|a 1920s sideboard - a purchase made on 'Gumtree' and delivered by the obliging Neville|
|the sideboard installed in the dining room of the newly acquired Norwich holiday home|
And so, when a house was required as an alternative to our Brighton 'rooms', we 'booted up', 'googled', 'searched' and 'surfed' the world wide web to find what in our mind's eye we were looking for. Rightmove, Primelocation and Zoopla became the tools of our trade. Virtual tours of properties from Anglesey to Zennor filled our computer screens from dawn to dusk.
|one of the many online property companies of which we made much use|
We zoomed in on Google maps, we analysed floor plans, we walked the streets with the aid of 'Street View', we noted crime statistics, the employment status and age profile of our virtual neighbours via 'Street Check', comparing prices and property trends as we clicked merrily along. Geological surveys warned of landslips and Radon Zones, floodplains highlighted areas at risk and a store locator ensured the presence of John Lewis and Waitrose close to hand should we ever feel the need to make a real visit.
Finally, our target was in sight. Emails to our solicitor ensured that our personal presence in the entire purchase process would not be necessary, as indeed it was not. A small but perfectly formed Victorian, artisan terraced house, dating from 1887, complete with original sash windows, picture rails, cornicing, working fireplaces and two very modern bathrooms was to be ours.
|detailing around the sash windows at the front of the house makes for interest|
|a typical Victorian fireplace and surround to be found in the dining room|
|a bedroom fireplace, the size of which can hardly have been adequate to heat the room|
Airline and 'bus tickets, bought on line of course, would take us there.
Did the reality match the dream? We turned the real key in the actual lock.
|the inevitable work which comes with every move - some of many boxes awaiting unpacking|
Love at first sight. A very modern romance, we thought, about to begin.
|the drawing room on our next visit to be decorated in 'Little Greene' French Grey|