The process here is quite unusual. At the end of the auction on Saturday, the owner of the house on the other side of the shared wall, in other words the mirror image of the house we'd bid on, tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I'd like to look at another house "the same only in better condition". So we went in and had a look, chatted to the owner and discussed it. Turns out the owner hates estate agent scum as much as I do, wanted the process to be honest and painless, was keen on a long settlement which also suits us, and was in possession of a house that's in quite a bit better condition than next door!
So we've negotiated the price and conditions. Contract late this week or early next week. Settlement in December. Lovely!
Now Holly and I have lots of time to plan improvements and dream.