They were there for just a few months when Ann's promotion took them to Bodmin, in Cornwall, an opportunity which was too good to miss. They sold the flat at a profit for pounds 35,000 and, by now with son James, bought Jasmine Cottage, in Fowey, for pounds 24,250. The Victorian house was charming with its Aga and coastal views but the idyll wasn't right for Nottingham- born Martin: "I never settled, having always lived in a city with all the trappings of football and cricket clubs, restaurants and nightlife."
Two years later they sold Jasmine Cottage for pounds 25,750, covering their costs, and it was back to St Albans and hospital accommodation, where son Thomas was born. Martin may have felt secure back in urban territory - but not for long. "Prices there had rocketed, and the hospital was under threat of closure; they say you should never go back."
They may be wrong, as Martin found when a promotion returned him to Nottingham. Here property prices were still low, giving the family a chance to get back on to the ladder. Value for money wasn't the only attraction: "There was Nottingham Forest FC and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, of which I've been a life-long supporter."
The family bought a three-bedroomed house with country views on a main road, but near to a good school and pub. After daughter Sadie was born they converted the loft, at a cost of pounds 3,000, but found that their busy road worsened when the Kegworth air disaster closed the motorway sending redirected traffic past the house.
In 1994, they sold for pounds 67,000 and bought a property on the site of a small, demolished factory. Three bungalows had been built on the land by the recently deceased factory owner; Ann and Martin bought one of these, converted a garage into two bedrooms, and so created a four-bedroomed home just five miles from the city centre yet which backs on to fields offering "delightful views and walks".
The bungalow is now worth pounds 129,000, and even Nottingham Forest's imminent relegation does not give Martin itchy feet: "I'm pleased to be back here and I'm in no hurry to move again."
Those moves in brief:
1982: bought two-bed St Albans flat for pounds 33,000, sold for pounds 35,500.
1982: bought Jasmine Cottage for pounds 24,250, sold for pounds 25,750 in 1984.
1986: bought Nottinghamshire house for pounds 35,950, sold for pounds 67,500.
1994: bought bungalow for pounds 89,500, now worth pounds 129,000.
If you would like your moves to be featured write to: Nic Cicutti, Stepping Stones, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. An award of pounds 100 will be made for the best story printed by 31 June