This weekend we headed south to Blackwood Forest to bid on a 4 bedroom cottage on an acre and half of lovely (but only half-finished) garden and grounds, nestled at the end of a dirt track and right next to an old church on the appropriately named Prayer Hill Lane. You may have seen the pictures we uploaded to Flickr after the first viewing, but just in case:

A lovely day (for the auctioneer, at least!): sunshine, blue-skies, not too hot and with only a light breeze. We turned up a little early, then had another look around the place. It was tidier, with some new pieces of furniture, and amazingly actually looked bigger than when we’d seen it last! Quite a few people walking around and looking at stuff, too — we stood and knowledgeably discussed the firmness of the roof, the straightness of the walls, pretending we had a clue what we were talking about (a kind of real-estate gnosis) when all the while we were thinking, “We’re not going to get it. We’re not going to get it.”

So we were disappointed before we began, which was probably a good thing in the end. Probably 20 people stood outside in front of the auctioneer as he spun his tales of “opportunity” and “one-of-a-kindness”, but when the bidding actually started there were only two of us waving our hands. Resisting the urge to kick off the bidding — if it gets passed in without any bids, surely they’ll come to us first as we made a cheeky pre-auction offer?

The bidding started, eventually, at the top of our price-range. “Going once …” Dee had a go, was quickly matched by the other bidder, then I had a go too — at which point we were out of money and couldn’t bid any higher. Oh well, we thought, time to go home. But let’s wait and see if we’re all done. The auctioneer headed inside with the offer, then emerged a while later to harangue the crowd some more. Nope, we’re out, and it’s not even reached reserve yet.

But just when it looked like the guy behind us was going to get right to negotiate, a woman up on the hill threw in another offer and so started the second price hike. Going up $1000 at a time, we were given the impression she had a bottomless pit of money to play with (damn her eyes!) as she relentlessly forced the price up and up, finally beating out the guy who beat us out … at a grand total of $466,000. Good for the owners, I suppose, but not worth that much in our estimation.

No bother, it’s back to the drawing board (and the Internet) as we look for the perfect property.