Moan ahead

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So I know this is very entitled and whiny, but before you say “you should feel lucky” remember that the only reason we’re in the position to own land at all is because my dad died before hitting 60 years old and had decent insurance. I know I’m lucky that this is an option, but frankly, I’d live in a tent in a swamp if it meant I could have my dad back.

So a big part of the appeal of moving was that we would get to do the selfish, middle-class, faux self-sufficient, thing we’ve wanted to do for ages. We could cut our impact on the environment with technology – solar and geothermal – and run an EV – and have a plot of land away from people.

It’s not that I don’t like people. Well, actually, it is. I mean, in day-to-work-day they’re fine. I actually enjoy looking after them. But as anyone who’s worked retail will probably tell you, if you spend all day people-facing, you can be very much done with them by the end of the day. So being far away from people is a big bonus.

And thinking we’d be able to get an EV again when me moved, that also was pleasing. I’d not realised quite how expensive that would be, to get something that can actually do the miles we need.

But still.

I was excited. Excited to build and excited to have the possibility to build a really efficient, environmentally friendly home and lifestyle. I know that not everyone could do this. The planet can’t support everyone having a couple of acres of land and growing their veg and keeping a few animals. There isn’t the liveable land. I know it’s selfish. But at least it’s selfish in a fairly minimally impactful way. It’s not like I want to go out and drive V8s every day and eat a diet that’s mainly beef, or anything. I know, I could live in a little energy efficient apartment in a city and walk to work. It’s all relative. But this is the path we wanted to take.

And now it’s becoming increasingly unlikely. Apparently the county we’re in has ‘challenging’ building regulations – as we’ve rapidly discovered. Even if we can find some land this year, the chances are we won’t be able to actually build on it until next year, because the protected animal testing (pocket gophers) is a three-visit-survey, which is almost certainly booked up for this year (since they told me they only had a few slots left when I asked in March), the last visit happens around October. So we likely won’t be able to build until October next year.

That makes things, and I say this with my usual British understatement “Tricky”.

On top of which we’ve driven to or actually visited at least 40 properties / houses. We’ve seen countless more online that are too far, too expensive, or not really what we’re looking for.

We found one we were meant to go view today, because our realtor wasn’t available to go see it when we were at the beginning of the week. When we went at the beginning of the week just to see if it really was viable, and whether we wanted to waste our afternoon today looking at it we met a fabulous neigbour who invited us in, we learned about the neigbourhood, we learned he was born in the house we were stood in, and he tried to persuade us to buy the house we were looking at.

We looked around outside and concluded it was definitely a reasonable option. Not at all what we were looking for originally, but something we could live in, do-up, and then sell when we found the piece of land we were looking for. I’d got quite keen, persuading myself that this was a good opportunity to try out installing geothermal, and try out a small solar array. Something where we could experiment and make our building project a bit less of a full on, untested challenge thing. I was thinking I could even try a little post-and-beam garage, or office space, out on the edges of the garden.

But then this morning we got the information that it has sold.

It’s sold after months on the market the day we planned to look at it.

And part of me is trying to say “it wasn’t meant to be”, because clearly it wasn’t. But part of me is really pissed off that our realtor couldn’t take us to view it on Monday because he was saving another deal. And given that he’s just sent us 6 properties that we’d already found ourselves, I’m somewhere quite far down losing the will.

I have been chasing after an EV, too, and have missed out three times on the one and only one that sometimes seems to be both in our price range and can achieve sufficient range to get me to work and back – because there’s no charging at work, or on the way to work*. I asked one seller of one that had been on sale for months some questions – it sold the next day (and I never even got a reply). Another sold before I’d really realised that this is pretty much the only car that’ll work for us. Another sold on ebay for 100 dollars more than my maximum bid. Another one, which is currently on e-bay, the owner appears to be behaving in the manner of a dick. He listed it at over its value, dropped the price – “for a quick sale” – declined my offer, then upped the price to more than its original asking because “it’s getting a lot of interest”. Which makes me really, really hope it doesn’t sell. But it’s just pissy to watch. And I’m a bit bored of people presuming their decade old shed is worth 50 billion because it’s got batteries. I know cars are more expensive here, along with food, healthcare…

I’ve reached a sucking-it-up tolerance for much of it. But the ridiculous notion that your EV is worth lots, even with dead batteries, just because it’s an EV is beyond sanity. The big, expensive bit of an EV is the batteries. With them dead it’s worth less than a dead petrol car because buying a replacement engine for a petrol car is *cheap*. Getting someone to install a new engine in a petrol car is easy. Getting replacements for the batteries of your 15 year old, out of production for 13 years, patent-infringment-you-can’t-buy-new-batteries-just-reconditioned-old-ones-and-there-are-no-new-spare-parts-for-the-electronics-EV is painfully expensive, thus your car is worth what its worth as a lawn ornament.


I feel completely stuck. I feel the inertia of starting our life here is beginning to overcome us. We just don’t seem to be able to get anything actually started.

I know to some extent I’m having a bad day and feeling negative because I often feel negative after working nights. But today is proving to be a hard one.

* There is one slow charger on the way. I would need to get there and stop for about an hour for this to actually be useful. Given that I get up at the latest at 5am to make my 7am shift start, this is not happening.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.