Well it may finally have happened. After three years and multiple potential purchasers (one who pulled out on the day of contract exchange) we have now exchanged contracts on West End Farm.
What a hassle it has been. From saying in November that they wanted to exchange contracts within three weeks, we have since had regular excuses about why the exchange could not go ahead. Finally we googled the address of the purchaser only to find out it was the address of a property development company. A bit more digging and we found the planning application to tear down our house and rebuild it. So the delays were all about waiting for planning permission, which made a lot more sense that the ridiculous excuses we were getting each week.
Given the problems so far, we only give the transaction about an 80% probability of success from this point, but at least the solicitor has confirmed that he has the deposit money so we can start booking marinas, flights, house hunting, removals firms etc etc.
The last few months have been quite fraught, as you can imagine. Our plans, if the house did not sell, were to sail through the Bahamas and up the US east coast, in the company of Marty and Lisa (and Lilly the dog) on True Colors. As the excuses from the purchasers became more spurious, so we continued to hop westward from one island to another. From Antigua to St Maarten, to the British Virgin Islands, to the US Virgin Islands. Finally we arrived in Culebra (Puerto Rico) and from there our plan was a three day sail to the Bahamas. Once in the Bahamas there is no simple return to the Caribbean and we would need to wait until we reached the US for a good marina to leave Anastasia, if we needed to fly back to the UK.
So we gave the purchasers an ultimatum. Buy the house or forget it. In fact, to avoid further angst we instructed our estate agent and solicitor that if the transaction did not go through last Friday then we did not want any further communication with the purchasers. True to form, it did not go through on Friday, but on the day of the deadline their solicitor did contact ours to say they could go ahead, although it was by then too late to do it. Obviously just another stalling tactic, but bad weather was delaying our departure for the Bahamas so we were still in Culebra on Wednesday when the email arrived to say the exchange had actually taken place. To say we were both astonished/shocked/gobsmacked would be putting it mildly.
So here we are, heading back upwind to Antigua, from where we fly back to the UK on 21st. Completion date is June 10th, so we will have eight weeks to buy a new house. Tight but it should be possible.
The estate agent wasted no time in advertising their sale. In fact, the sign arrived at the house before I had time to tell Daniel the news. He emailed this picture with the two word question.
The last four months were not entirely written off by house traumas.
We had a visit from our old friends, Ian and Denise, which was a good excuse to do some touristy stuff in Antigua and Guadeloupe.
True Colors turned up in Antigua and we decided to tag along with them for a while.
The cactus walk in Carlisle Bay (Antigua) is amazing, but try not to get spiked through your sandals like I did.
A bit of excitement on the way to the BVIs, as a furler pin sheared off. Fortunately it only pulled out half way or we would have been sporting a jib on a free-flying forestay.
The biggest challenge was finding a machine shop in Tortola that could construct a new pin. Nautools did a good job on the pin and Richardson’s rigging came out to install it for us and we were sailing again in a week.
Once again Jane and Peter (ex Trompeta) generously wined and dined us in Tortola. (No photo I am afraid)
The view from the Sunset Loop walk around Peter Island (BVIs) was quite breath-taking in these conditions
Finally, last night at Mamacita’s (Culebra) we said goodbye to Marty And Lisa, our travelling companions for many months.