Part 6 - 21.2.09

Arrival in Oulu

Firstly an apology - we've been very slack on the taking of photos. I think all the essential activity has sort of taken over. The first day we went out, I put the camera in the inside pocket of my coat. You have to do that or digital cameras stop working because of the temperature. Well, I forgot it was there and didn't take any pics. The second day, I forgot to take it with us. That was a pity because we found a house to rent and I would have liked to have some photos of it. We should have the house next week though, so I'll post pics then.

After the manic stress and activity of the last few days in the UK, everything seems quite calm and relaxed for now. There are things we have to do but the whole pace seems much slower now - phew! The main thing was to find a house to rent. We looked at four properties yesterday and they got progressively better. The first was a small, 3-bed apartment right in the city centre. It was nice enough... above the Christian bookshop (which filled Neil's wallet with panic!) but access was not good and the rooms were too small for our furniture. The second place was also an apartment. It was on the top floor of a five-storey block and was very nice. The boys loved it and wanted to rent it immediately. Well, that was after Josh got over the shock of the pink front door. Our main concern was that the lift was tiny and the removal firm won't deliver above the 2nd floor. After lunch, we found another agency that had two houses, both out of the city but in good areas. The first was ideally placed, half way between Oulu and Kemplele, not far from the airport. It was a new housing development with lots of building still underway. The house was what they call 'rivitalo' which is a row-house. It was lovely and we nearly went for it but the agent had mentioned another place, an equal distance out of town but in the opposite direction. I insisted that we should see that before deciding, even though he was quite sure that the first house was perfect.

The second house is in an area called Talvikangas. It's 9km northeast of the city but is served by two buses and a range of cycle networks. The area is more remote and beautiful but it's still a housing estate. The house is a 'paritalo' which is like a semi-detached. When we arrived, it looked like no-one had been for ages. The snow was very deep and the agent had to clear a path to get in. We fell in love with it almost immediately. Downstairs is an open kitchen and living room with lots of space. The kitchen is modern and well equipped. There is a utility room too - quite big - so our tradition of having the ironing board permanently in the living room could be about to change! If you go through the other side of this room, there is a shower room and gorgeous sauna. Also downstairs is a toilet, patio area (currently under lots of snow) and fantastic views from the living room windows. Upstairs, are three bedrooms and another shower room with toilet. Two of the bedrooms are good sized. They would be for us and Josh. Then there is a smaller one but that has the advantage of having a balcony. Andy said he was happy to sacrifice space for a balcony. All the windows have internal blinds (good in the summer for shutting out the sunlight at night). The floors are all wooden and the stairs are sort of spiral (but wide) with storage space underneath. Outside, is an outbuilding with a covered parking space with electric point. The outbuilding would easily take all our bikes and golf clubs and Neil's tools. It has electricity and a light. When we get keys, I'll take some photos.

Well for now, I'll leave it at that. Hope you are all well. We miss you already!

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