My long-time dream was to have a house in England as well as our house in Australia. It didn’t seem achievable, but hey, there’s no harm in dreaming, is there? After all, as a novelist, I get paid to dream.
My husband and I emigrated from the UK to Australia in 1973 and settled down happily . . . except for one thing. We missed our families. It wasn’t enough to visit them every few years.
We tried house swapping. It was hard getting suitable swaps, because nearly everyone wanted to go to Sydney, not a small seaside town on the west coast of Australia. It was the best we could come up with though, and we could stay longer without imposing on people, so we persevered. (That’s another story. We had some ‘interesting’ swaps.)
But my novels were selling well, so as the years passed, we started looking at small houses while we were in the UK. The big problem was where to buy and how to protect the house while we were back in Australia. You can’t get insurance cover if there isn’t someone keeping an eye on the house, you see.
I started looking at UK real estate on line. I love looking at houses, anyway, and am good at visualizing how a floor plan would work. But for a long time nothing suitable cropped up.
Then one day I was tired after writing for several hours, so I went to look at real estate on line and bingo! I found a leisure village being built on a golf course, not only homes but membership of the golf club (for my sporty husband) and security surveillance. I ran to fetch my husband and he agreed it looked very promising.
We phoned my sister in the UK that very hour. She went to see it for us the next day and she really liked it. So we did something completely against our usual principles. We bought a house without seeing it, on the block of land my sister had chosen for us overlooking a small lake as well as the golf course.
We planned for months how to furnish it cheaply, and of course, we worried about whether we’d done the right thing.
Eventually, the house was finished and it was time for our first summer in the UK.
We were so lucky. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made and we’ve had five summers there already, getting to know our brothers and sisters better, making new friends, avoiding winters in both country.
The two-country lifestyle is good for my writing too, since I set my books in both Australia and the UK. In fact, the whole thing is more than good, it’s splendid!
All because I dreamed a little dream – and kept my eyes open for ways of making it come true.
To be in with a chance to win a copy of The Trader’s Dream, Anna’s latest book, just comment and tell us where in the world you dream of living – and why. Anna will select the answer she likes best.