photograph of James and Morgan in an incubator, one month old

James on the left, Morgan on the right: incubator transport

Q: What are you looking for in the new home?

A: As with any house purchase, some things are non-negotiable and others are nice-to-have! The non-negotiables:

  • Privacy*. This essentially means a separate “wing” or annex for Mo, where sound doesn’t travel too much into the main house. Morgan can be quite noisy, at any time of the day! This also means that he can enjoy things like music therapy without worrying about the impact on anyone else.
  • Space* for Mo: Morgan needs enough room for his hospital bed, specialist bath, wheelchairs, disability equipment & toys, medicines and other supplies.
  • Space* for the family: over the last decade, there has been very little opportunity for a social life. We are hoping we will be able to have friends and family round for a meal - or maybe even to stay overnight.
  • Proximity to essential services: hospital, school, GP & pharmacy are all regular, essential parts of Morgan’s life. Further, Morgan’s care package is postcode dependent, so moving out of the area is not an option. It has to be in Chester.
  • Tranquility: we’ve come to realise that some measure of tranquility is essential for our mental health and the wellbeing of the whole family.

*Privacy and space are the main reasons for moving.

The nice-to-haves:

  • A garden! We’d love to have a garden for everyone to enjoy - especially Sharon, for whom gardening is the best therapy. We have been extremely blessed in our current house, with a large and beautiful garden and we don’t necessarily expect to have the same again. But it would be lovely if it were large enough to enjoy and maybe have the occasional barbecue, British weather permitting!
  • Space for music: Sharon and Rob are both musicians and the boys love music. Morgan particularly appreciates live music. It would be great to have enough room for music therapy in the home!
  • Parking: at any one time, we might need to accommodate six or more vehicles - ours, Morgans carers' & therapists and visitors. We’d prefer this were possible without being a complete nuisance to our neighbours!

If you know of a house that’s not on the market (we’re aware of everything on RightMove, OnTheMarket, Zoopla, etc.) that fits the bill, do let us know! For those who know Chester the areas of particular interest are Boughton, Huntington, Vicars Cross and Upton, provided it’s not on a speed bump route (due to Morgan’s travel sickness). Properties with an annex or large double garage (to convert) are most likely to fit the bill. Contact details are at the bottom of the main page.

Q: Have to tried DIY SOS?

We’ve been asked this quite a few times and love the fact that people think of us for this show. Unfortunately, the DIY SOS application form says, “we can only accept applications from UK homeowners of private residences who own one single property” [emphasis added]. This doesn’t fit our circumstances because (a) we do not yet own the house that will need to be adapted, and (b) at that point, if things work out the way we anticipate, we will own two houses (albeit briefly and backed by short-term borrowing).

Q: Can’t you extend your existing house?

A: We’ve looked closely at this and even gone as far as having plans drawn up, a few years ago. We’ve reluctantly concluded that although we love our home, there’s is no way to make it work by extending.

Q: Chester seems expensive. Can’t you move somewhere cheaper?

A: We have considered this, but there are many things anchoring us to Chester, from the boys' school to the specialist medical professionals involved in all aspects of Mo’s care.

Q: Why do you need so much space?

A: Imagine a box big enough for eight footballs. Then imagine receiving eight or so such boxes every month. That’s the kind of volume of storage we need just for Morgan’s feeding supplies (bottles of his specialised formula milk, flexible containers, tubing, etc.). Then there’s all Morgan’s medicine. 20+ prescriptions. His medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy!

photograph of a feeding pump and stand

a feeding pump, with flexitainer and giving set attached

Add to that two large wheelchairs. Maintaining wheelchair access means reducing available space in any room through which the chairs pass. It’s a kind of corridor effect.

Continence products - pads, wet & dry wipes, sacks, etc., take up a huge amount of space. By a similar token, Mo needs more outfits/changes of clothes than most people.

He has a specialised sleep system, to keep him comfortable in bed. Some of his sensory toys are bulky.

Morgan’s living space also has to accommodate the needs of his NHS carers. Although it’s his home, it’s their workplace. So this includes things like fridge space for their food, somewhere for them to sit, space for the manuals and documentation they maintain as part of their role and so on. Similarly, they need somewhere to park. And given that Morgan receives night care, it’s preferable that the parking is quite near the house.

The list is endless…

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