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home is where the gin and tonic is

"I've never experienced so much stress in all my life," said Patsy, bursting into tears.

Jose handed her a cup of coffee and put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder.

"No more sad, mi amour, we in now and together we beyond the infinities," he said, sounding like the Spanish version of Buzz Lightyear. Eight long months after getting mortgage approval, Patsy and Jose had finally moved into their new house.

"All we wanted was an extra €5,000," sniffed Patsy. "The way they carried on you would think we were looking for a million."



Patsy is, and always has been, canny with her finances. Debts are kept to a minimum and she has never missed a payment on any loan.

"Without realising it, I think I was always saving up for a man and when I finally got one, I thought it was time to splash out," she said. For Patsy, this meant selling her house and buying one around the corner with an extended kitchen.

She had no problem, even in the present climate, getting a buyer for her house, and, as both she and Jose are in full-time employment, she had no problem getting mortgage approval. And then it all went pear-shaped.

The bank wanted a survey. That was fine. Then they wanted another survey. Then they lost all the correspondence dealing with the surveys. Then they lost the official who was dealing with their correspondence.

He eventually resurfaced three months later, heavily tanned and sporting a bushy beard, as if he had just been rescued from a desert island.

A third survey was required. Patsy's buyer was getting anxious. He had wanted to move in before Christmas. It was now February and the bank official had disappeared again.



Patsy and Jose were living on their nerves. Would the buyer hold on? Would the bank come up with the readies? Instead, the bank came up with a request seeking confirmation that if the heating system went bang, that they would have enough money to repair it.

"WTF! I've already had the heating checked. It's perfect!" Patsy roared down the phone at the bank official. He blamed 'head office'.

In March, Patsy's buyer had enough and said he was pulling out, so Patsy took a chance and closed the deal with him. Then she moved herself, Jose and the Siberian Samoyed in with her parents, where she drank them out of gin and tonic and hoped to God the cheque would come through.

After three weeks, the bank came good but only after Patsy had come close to a nervous breakdown. "We are never moving ever again," she said.

"Home where the harp is," replied Jose.