To be fair, I don't really like to read objectional newspaper columns written by apparent idiots, so I guess my own reading habits aren't completely balanced either...
The saying 'close, but no cigar', apparently originates "from the practice of giving cigars as prizes at carnivals in the US in the 19th century; this phrase would be said to those who failed to win a prize"
The nice European university who paid for our tickets made a decision (on our behalf) that it would be fine
I need to defend the Nice European University, as they would've in fact paid for whatever route we chose. Being an educated person, I certainly did NOT think a non-stop trip was feasible. Hence the night in a hotel in Hong Kong which was supposed to make everything ok. But didn't.
A longer stopover somewhere would've required an earlier departure, and would've thus required us to miss an important Pirate Party. As it was, the timing was perfect. Because hosting a band of 6 year old pirates in the rain was a ideal pre-departure activity, and prepared the house beautifully - ready for handover to our lovely housesitters.
coppicing was mentioned, I recall
Indeed. And an orchard. A big one.
The section is perfect for the house sunwise. The front door faces the road. The big bay window faces north. All exactly as it ws in Avonside, except in Avonside, the property to the north side had subsequently been developed, and so the bay actually faced a big fence & trees. So we've been telling Bob (and ourselves) that the house is finally returning to its original setting - surrounded by lots of space on all sides. Just as in 'The Little House".
We are home eating Sushi. Estimated move off the section = 5.30pm.
Power back. And all the Christmas booze survived!
We have heard from Ian Dalziel. He's fine, and dealing with a bunch of liquefaction.
I know - I really wished I hadn't read through those comments!
Thanks everyone. We're still trying - we're not quite *completely* worn down just yet. Getting pretty close though.
Sacha: there are so many elements of this whole thing which on the face of it seem to be yelling out for a legal opinion. It's hard to know where to start. Or, frankly, whether to. When this all started unfolding we were all stridently "there's no WAY they can get away with that" - but, it turned out, they could. I think, on balance, we need to just find a fast and tolerable way through all of this, just to preserve our sanity.
And keeping things in perspective - we're feeling frustrated, and have lost a bunch of $$, but at least we had the $$ to lose. We'll still be able to get a place - albeit on a smaller property, or with fewer bedrooms, or further out of town. There are lots of people who simply won't be able afford to get another place at all.
Many days worth of phone calls later, here are a few updates.
The insurance company values our house repairs at over $300,000. This isn’t ‘written off’, mind you (even though the RV on the house is barely half this number) – the house has been declared repairable. Though if we decide to take the cash from the insurance company instead of having them repair the house, they claim they’d just be liable for ‘current market value’, probably about ~$30,000. Market value around here isn’t that high anymore – there was an earthquake, you see.
They *will* fix the house on new land, though. Yay!. As long as we pay for the moving costs (estimate from one company ~$85,000).
But it turns out nearly all land available for sale has covenants on it, saying you can’t move an old house onto the property. Boo.
If we did find some affordable land without covenants, the bank is apparently reluctant to issue us a mortgage under this scenario because the house is difficult to insure on the truck. (We can’t properly insure the house on the truck because it can only be insured for ‘current value’ – which is approx $30,000 minus $300,000 – i.e. negative $270,000).
The government offers, in the meantime are coming out over the next few days. I have just read the offer letter. They allow absolutely no grounds for contesting RV if you think it is wrong (unless the recorded floor area is wrong). And no improvements will be taken into account.
Summary: we’re a bit exhausted. And – it’s now certain – very much poorer than we used to be.
Setting the above aside, though, many thanks to all involved for a fantastic event. The presentations were all just great, and I had a lot of fun catching up with, and meeting, lots of fabulous people.
(And thanks to Polly, for being well-behaved enough to allow me to enjoy it all. She saved all her screaming for the way home)