JohnPullin's Blog

Journalism, engineering, business, and sometimes other things

The source of my stress

with 2 comments

I’m pretty stressed out currently, and it’s not because we found my father, who would have been 95 today, dead in his shed in Devon three weeks ago. It’s because of some little shit of a solicitor in an office in the East Midlands who is steadfastly failing to do his job. So at the point where I should be worrying about my father’s funeral (in a couple of days’ time) and the duties of being an executor and how to fit long and frequent visits to Devon (via Stonehenge, see earlier blogs) into my work schedule, my angst has an altogether different focus.

To explain requires some background. A few months ago, I signed up for an MA course at Leicester University, starting at the end of this month. I’m not giving up the journalism that’s kept me in employment for 40-plus years, but I am consciously going to do less of it; by taking the MA over two years instead of the usual one year, I can wind down some commitments and continue to do others. It seemed a nice way forward: a taster of a potential new direction without leaving the safety of what I know and what I do. Everyone I’ve spoken to – family, friends, colleagues – thinks it’s a good plan.

(Actually, there was one exception to the universal approval for the scheme. My father, never knowingly reticent in his opinions, pronounced that it would be a total waste of time “just like it was last time when you were at university”. He had never forgiven me for doing history for my first degree when other family members had done “a proper subject”: maths.)

Anyway, the logistical difficulty of the Leicester plan is that the MA is a taught course, which means I need to be in Leicester for maybe up to half the week during term times. So we’re trying to buy a flat where I can stay and also work. And therein lies the problem. A flat was found, an offer made and accepted, and a target exchange and completion date for the end of August was set.

It’s now halfway through September, 11 days from my first Leicester assignation, and I’m still waiting. My own blameless solicitor is fine to go, the estate agent has been helpful, the vendor has responded fast to each and every request for information or a signature. But the vendor’s solicitor can’t be asked. It took four weeks for initial paperwork to reach my solicitor; it’s now three weeks since the last set of queries went back, and there’s been no movement. The vendor wants my money and I’m happy to give it to him; I want his flat and he’s happy to hand it over. But the process is stalled. This week, I’m told, the person dealing with the “case” (which is scarcely complex: I’m a cash buyer) has gone on holiday.

It’s long been known that the English process for buying property is daftly complex, and I’m sure my experience is commonplace. But what should have been an orderly process of setting myself up for a new student lifestyle, gently getting broadband sorted and transporting some of our spare furniture in, has become a source of immense stress: far more than anything that’s coincidentally happening in Devon. And for that, one apparently indolent and carefree solicitor is to blame.


Written by johnpullin

September 16, 2014 at 10:24 am

Posted in About me, Journalism

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. John, I was very sorry to read this. My father made it to 94 (4 years ago) and died unexpectedly, which has taken some getting used to. But is all this really more stressful than managing Mike Farish?

    Martin Ince

    September 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

    • Thanks, Martin. I think it’s that you get stressed about things that you thought you could control and that then go awry. It’s pretty pointless getting stressed about things that are totally outside your control. Our mutual friend Mr Farish comes into this second category.


      September 16, 2014 at 11:47 am

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