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Do what makes you happy

It seems making lists is as national trait. When England was being squeezed between rebellion in Scotland and war with France in 1746, King George II commissioned a military survey of the Scottish highlands. The job fell to William Roy, a far-sighted young engineer who understood the strategic importance of accurate maps, yet his vision of a national military survey wasn't implemented until after his death in 1790. A great deal of spade work was required in mapping our isles. But, within twenty years about a third of England and Wales had been mapped at the one-inch scale. Whilst that seems slow by modern standards, without aerial surveys and global positioning, this was done on foot, with one Major Thomas Colby (later Ordnance Survey's longest-serving Director General) walking 586 miles in 22 days on a reconnaissance in 1819. There are 445,000 listed buildings across the country, 12,000 medieval churches, 1,500,000 acres of common land, 120,000 miles of footpaths and public rights of way and 600,000 known sites of archaeological interest. There are over 20,000 Grade II* listed buildings in England and 36 buildings and constructions listed as Grade I by English Heritage in the City of Salisbury. I love selling listed properties. By definition, they are particularly interesting and often have wonderful histories. It is not a requirement to measure their energy efficiency (with old houses, it is always more sensible to put a sweater on or sit by an Aga or roaring fire!). They are a pleasure to photograph and have the charm and elegance of the eras they date from. Their owners equally love their properties, having chosen to make their home in an old, cherished building - the joy they have gained from living in homes with a history is a constant feature of the clients I meet. They and their families have enjoyed the quirks that make these buildings so appealing. Modern, efficient architecture is wonderful but if we had to choose where to spend Christmas, the centuries of love felt for an old house are within its walls and few of us can resist lunch in an elegant dining room or a cosy kitchen supper. There is always so much to look forward to at this time of year and there have been good news stories regarding inflation and unemployment recently. But in a property market based economy, as focus turns away from London, this is not a time for pessimism. The weather in October has provided some welcome rains but it has not been a glorious start to autumn, particularly after such a fine summer. The leaves are turning and recent winds have already started stripping the canopy of summer. Sporting seasons are firmly underway and it has almost been cold enough to light a fire. The London boom could not continue indefinitely. International investor interest in central London caused prices to rise in other districts and the market is now self-regulating, as prices passed beyond what was tenable. But the gaping gulf between London and country house prices has created opportunities. Post credit crunch, hand-made high-end products have, as an asset class, seen serious spikes in prices. This has been true from everything from English sports-cars to shotguns. A listed building, as an asset class of limited supply, is also a home. Warren Buffett is arguably the greatest investor of all time, amongst his numerous quotations, he said both "Do what makes you happy" and "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." London is one of the worlds great cities but changes in transport and digital communications offer the country as an alternative. Schooling, quality of life and a desire to own a forever house remain high on the wish lists of those leaving the capital. The honesty of children is joyful and I adore the chats I have with my children, particularly early in the morning over breakfast, when all is quiet. Ask a young child to draw a house and they will produce something symmetrical, along the lines of a Georgian property. In a recent Telegraph poll, Wiltshire was fifth best council, due to "With no increases in council tax for the last four years, Wiltshire County Council has managed to keep leisure centres and libraries open. It has also been rolling out superfast broadband and increasing spending on road maintenance." When we talk of finding happiness, completing a to-do list is certainly a trigger. Finding a lovely home and enjoying life outside London has been very important for us. The property portal Rightmove's current slogan is "find your happy". With 70 days until Christmas, there is still time to do what makes you happy. Matthew Hallett Winkworth Salisbury

It seems making lists is as national trait. When England was being squeezed between rebellion in Scotland and war with France in 1746, King George II commissioned a military survey of the Scottish highlands. The job fell to William Roy, a far-sighted young engineer who understood the strategic importance of accurate maps, yet his vision of a national military survey wasn't implemented until after his death in 1790. A great deal of spade work was required in mapping our isles.

Tools in tack Room resized

But, within twenty years about a third of England and Wales had been mapped at the one-inch scale. Whilst that seems slow by modern standards, without aerial surveys and global positioning, this was done on foot, with one Major Thomas Colby (later Ordnance Survey's longest-serving Director General) walking 586 miles in 22 days on a reconnaissance in 1819.

There are 445,000 listed buildings across the country, 12,000 medieval churches, 1,500,000 acres of common land, 120,000 miles of footpaths and public rights of way and 600,000 known sites of archaeological interest. There are over 20,000 Grade II* listed buildings in England and 36 buildings and constructions listed as Grade I by English Heritage in the City of Salisbury.

View from garden 11.jpg resized

I love selling listed properties. By definition, they are particularly interesting and often have wonderful histories. It is not a requirement to measure their energy efficiency (with old houses, it is always more sensible to put a sweater on or sit by an Aga or roaring fire!). They are a pleasure to photograph and have the charm and elegance of the eras they date from. Their owners equally love their properties, having chosen to make their home in an old, cherished building - the joy they have gained from living in homes with a history is a constant feature of the clients I meet. They and their families have enjoyed the quirks that make these buildings so appealing. Modern, efficient architecture is wonderful but if we had to choose where to spend Christmas, the centuries of love felt for an old house are within its walls and few of us can resist lunch in an elegant dining room or a cosy kitchen supper.

Aga 12.jpg resized

There is always so much to look forward to at this time of year and there have been good news stories regarding inflation and unemployment recently. But in a property market based economy, as focus turns away from London, this is not a time for pessimism. The weather in October has provided some welcome rains but it has not been a glorious start to autumn, particularly after such a fine summer. The leaves are turning and recent winds have already started stripping the canopy of summer. Sporting seasons are firmly underway and it has almost been cold enough to light a fire.

The London boom could not continue indefinitely. International investor interest in central London caused prices to rise in other districts and the market is now self-regulating, as prices passed beyond what was tenable. But the gaping gulf between London and country house prices has created opportunities. Post credit crunch, hand-made high-end products have, as an asset class, seen serious spikes in prices. This has been true from everything from English sports-cars to shotguns. A listed building, as an asset class of limited supply, is also a home. Warren Buffett is arguably the greatest investor of all time, amongst his numerous quotations, he said both "Do what makes you happy" and "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."

London is one of the worlds great cities but changes in transport and digital communications offer the country as an alternative. Schooling, quality of life and a desire to own a forever house remain high on the wish lists of those leaving the capital. The honesty of children is joyful and I adore the chats I have with my children, particularly early in the morning over breakfast, when all is quiet. Ask a young child to draw a house and they will produce something symmetrical, along the lines of a Georgian property.

Front exterior 8

In a recent Telegraph poll, Wiltshire was fifth best council, due to "With no increases in council tax for the last four years, Wiltshire County Council has managed to keep leisure centres and libraries open. It has also been rolling out superfast broadband and increasing spending on road maintenance."

When we talk of finding happiness, completing a to-do list is certainly a trigger. Finding a lovely home and enjoying life outside London has been very important for us. The property portal Rightmove's current slogan is "find your happy". With 70 days until Christmas, there is still time to do what makes you happy.

Matthew Hallett Winkworth Salisbury

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