I can hardly say “we found it” – it was more like it found us.
It was Ria’s desire to be close to her sons that settled us on the western half of Flemish Brabant. It’s home to a number of places she has already been intimately acquainted with: Beckevoort, Geetbets and Eliksem – also, now, Nieuwenhoven, just outside of St Truiden.
It was in early February that I sat down with the pendulum and a map. When I wanted to home in in more detail, I called up google maps and held the pendulum over the computer screen! That worked too… My question on the first occasion was not clear – I was impatient, and what I was really asking was “What’s available now?” So that’s what the pendulum showed me. In such detail that I was able to home in on a place on the map, find the street name and then find the place that was for sale on a real-estate website. But I knew that it wasn’t the place.
However, impatience being what it is – and we were both eager to be engaged in the work of finding this new ground for our coming adventure – we drove out to the spot I had identified, after visiting another place I had come across in my web searching: an old farm in Meldert-Hoegaarden where Ria had bought organic plants in the past, now for sale. Although that place was a mouth-watering proposition, I knew it wasn’t the place either. It was too expensive, for one thing. And too much work was needed to get out its full potential. I just didn’t have the resources, and I knew that the place we would eventually find would be within my financial comfort zone, not way outside it. Interestingly, by the time we drove past the second place – the one I had identified with the pendulum – I had a bad headache. My impatience had led us to wasting our time.
But at least I now had a strong reference feeling for “No, this isn’t the place”! My headache left me soon after we returned home. As soon as I was feeling better, I reached again for my pendulum, determined to find out what was going on. Although this time I barely needed it. The knowing arose directly in my mind, and I just used the pendulum to confirm it.
“The place you seek has been identified. It is not yet available. You need do nothing more than what you have already done. You will be notified (via Immoweb) when it comes onto the market. Expect that towards the end of April.” So there it was. Nothing to do but wait and trust.
I could not, however, resist the temptation of using the pendulum over the map again – now with the ‘right’ question in mind. Holding the pendulum over one square after another, it sat inert – except for that one square. The same one it had reacted to the first time I tried.
We all got quite antsy towards the end of April – was this going to work, or not? The notification finally came on Friday 23 April, just as I was about to skype with Diederick in Amsterdam. My mailbox pinged, and I saw that it was a message from Immoweb (I’d been getting these almost daily for months already) and I knew it was the one, even without opening the message. I didn’t check the advertisement itself until after the call with Diederick, and when I did, there wasn’t much information to go on – only three photos, and none of the inside of the house – but it was enough. Just seeing the land was enough. I contacted the seller and set up an appointment for the next day.
Ria and I arrived a little early for our first appointment, so we got in some exploring. Two houses down in the street there is a path leading into the valley behind. We took it until we reached what is known as a ‘servitude’ – a right-of-way along the bottom of the neighbour’s land to reach the end of the property we were visiting. We found we could walk all the way up to the back door with no hindrance. Already, walking the land was enough for me. My soul just resonated with every step, and every molecule of me felt suddenly free. And you should have seen the glint in Ria’s eye as our visit proceeded. She was definitely up for the challenge.
From the outset, we had great contact with Georges Stroobant – one of four siblings who were selling their parental home now that both were dead. After an initial hour-long visit, we made an appointment to come back on the following Wednesday, to have more time to look at the work that would be needed. Georges happens to be a builder, so he could give me some useful ball-park estimates that would enable me to get an idea of the size of the mortgage I’d want. That meeting was, for me, the moment to take the plunge. Yes. Provided I could get the mortgage I needed, I’d buy it.
Tellingly, when I looked back at the map I’d used for my pendulum explorations, Ransberg is just on the edge of the square it identified.