They say that moving house is one of the most stressful life events there is. Well, it is when the removal firm cancels with less than 24 hours before they're due to arrive!!
I e-mailed our guy last night to confirm all the arrangements, and he replied at 7.30am today and all was good. Then, just as we'd packed the children off to Grandma's for their last sleepover, done some packing and sat down to lunch with Hubby, I recieved another e-mail asking me to ring him asap.
"Are you sitting down", he asked. "Erm, I am now, why??" Apparently his trailer has "snapped in half" in Portsmouth and he was on his way in the AA van! How on earth a trailer snaps in half I don't know!! Now, we're in West Yorkshire, we're going to Aberdeenshire, and he's based in Stockport, so it's not going to happen, is it!?
Well, it's good job he rang me and not Hubby. There was a vein throbbing in his temple, he wasn't a happy bunny! Queue two hours of frantically ringing round and e-mailing various removal companies, and queue lots of being laughed at! "Yes, hi, I'm wondering if you can help. We need to move 385 miles tomorrow please". This is where the wonder that is Facebook came into it's own!
I posted a status asking if anyone knew a man with a van. An old junior-school friend messaged me - she knew a man with a van!! Really nice guy too ... much ringing back and forth with various suggestions but the long and short of it is, we're not moving tomorrow, but we are moving on Thursday!!! At 6am, eek!!!! .....
Monday, 2 July 2012
(My apologies for the lack of paragraphs, the editor has gone funny!) Well, it turns out that packing, being a temporary single-mum and running a business is pretty time-consuming! I haven't blogged for months, literally!! And in those months we've ... found a tenant for our house ... found a house for us to live in ... quit the day job ... organised the removals guys and ... are moving in two days!!! Eeeek!!! I can't believe it's here already. We put the small people to bed at home for the last night tonight, they had their last supper at home, their last bath, their last tea. They're having a day and a sleepover at Grandma's tomorrow so hubby and I can concentrate on organising and packing. So that means it's our last night with a snuffling, trumping lump of baby in the cot in the corner of our bedroom. Sad ... and quite looking forward to having a grown-up bedroom again! Since my last post I've taken the children to visit Daddy in The Shire twice. The first time we went, we found a nice house in a little hamlet. It was fairly close to Hubby's work, fairly nicely decorated, fairly close to a good school and facilities. But it had a very smelly utility room! The previous tenants kept their dog in there and it stank of dog wee! At first the owner was happy for us to organise the floor being replaced but we were worried that it had soaked into joists, skirting boards etc etc and we wouldn't be able to use the room. In the end, the owner promised the house to someone else, so it all worked out. This visit was the start of convincing the children that the move will be a good thing. We were out on a drive when a deer ran across the road in front of us, they saw so much wildlife, breathed fresh air, didn't have to sit in traffic jams, it was lovely! During our second visit, we found an idilyic converted mill at the end of a track. It's a little place called Minnonie, near Banff. Minnonie consists of four houses along a track ... it's perfect!! I really can't convey how perfect it is! We're never going to want to leave!! We decided it would be best to rent for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we'd loose too much money if we sold our house just now. We bought it right at the height of the market and it's worth about £20k less now. So we're keeping our foot on the property ladder and renting it out. Secondly, we don't really know the area in The Shire yet, so renting gives us time to explore before buying a piece of Scotland. This second visit really cemented the idea with our eldest. We visited castles, beaches, the local towns ... he came home and started painting the beach, with the rainbow which ended in the sea just in front of the beach, and announced "this means I'm starting to like Scotland now". Minnonie Mill is a converted mill, which was built from the stone of a nearby castle when it was demolished. Our nearest neighbours will be cows! There are four bedrooms, a playroom, a utility room, a bootroom, the kitchen, conservatory and 10m living room, guest en-suite with corner bath and walk-in shower, house bathroom, garage/workshop, underfloor heating, integral vacuum system, resident owl in the chimney, 3/4 acre of garden/countryside, stream, pond, oh, and two waterfalls! Not to mention the visitng deer, otter and heron! It's serious child-paradise, and I think the grown-ups will be pretty happy there too! We've already got the guest rooms booked up for August, and I've even bought a specific wall calendar for visitors so we don't double-book!! Just need to pack this little house up now! We've been living in a state of half-packed-ness for months and it's driving me mad. We've just had an ill-timed week in Scarborough too with the in-laws, giving us 4 days between getting home and moving, and squeezing in a farewell party too! We've run out of packing boxes, so I physically can't do any more now till the guys arrive at 7am on Wednesday morning. I managed to convince Hubby that it wouldn't all fit in a Luton van, so he agreed to hire a man and a van (well, two men and a van!). It's not much more than doing it ourselves, and they're finishing the packing and dismantling too which is a huge relief. Most of our stuff is in toy crates/baskets and things anyway so hopefully it won't be too bad. The children are at Grandma's from tomorrow morning till we pick them up to set off on Wednesday so we can pack most of their things without them being too distressed. The logistics of it all has been stressing me out a bit but I just keep thinking "it'll be fine, we've got professionals"! Still, moving a house-full of stuff 400 miles is no small feat, and the last time we moved it was just the two of us and two cast ... no business, no children! It'll be fine, it'll be fine, it'll be fine ... (goes off to rock in a corner) ...
Monday, 5 March 2012
I’m sad :o( But I suppose I’m excited at the same time. We’ve embarked on the first official stage of our Scottish adventure … hubby’s moved to Scotland and started his new job! He left at 4am yesterday morning. I knew he was planning on leaving early, but 4am?! He woke early and couldn’t get back to sleep, bless him. Must have been one of those “big day ahead” feelings. I was ok when I woke up – I’d seen him leave, and we’d had a nice evening together with no working, a big bag of Maltesers and some of our fave telly so we’d sort of said goodbye (we don’t do big emotional scenes!). I was ok when the kids asked where Daddy is – he’s at work in Scotland, the first bit of our exciting adventure. I was ok through getting dressed and through breakfast. Then I saw the note he left for us. Then I was not ok. I had a bit of a cry. Oli was so adorable … he gave me a big squashy cuddle and said that he misses Daddy too. All day he was saing “let’s pretend Daddy’s here”, and was very put out that we didn’t have a Darth Vader for our Star Wars playing. We’ll be ok on our own for a bit, although we’re not sure when we’ll see each other again at the moment. We have a friend’s wedding on 17th March, and it may well not be until he comes home for that. Mum and Dad invited us for dinner, and I think if I keep us all busy the time will fly. Before we know it the house will be sold, a new house will be bought and we’ll be packing up and driving off into the sunset. We tried a bit of a sneaky experiment – we asked the Scottish estate agent if the bank which owns the farmhouse would do a part-ex. They won’t. Boo! Can but try I suppose, we’ll get there somehow. In the meantime, I have fudge …
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
The next day we put our house on the market officially. It’s priced for a quick sale, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the valuation – I was expecting a lot less. We bought at the height of the market so I knew we wouldn’t get back what we paid, but it could have been a lot worse. A major sticking block is going to be the change from the English system to the Scottish system of house-buying. In Scotland, you have to make a “clean” offer. Basically, if you make an offer and it’s accepted, you have to pay up. There’s no backing out like in the English system, which is only binding once the contracts are signed. So we need a quick sale and quick completion so we can make an offer in Scotland. Our estate agent has benchmarked us with a 3-bedroom ex-council semi, which was on for the same price and went within a couple of weeks. I’m glad – I’ve been keeping an eye on a 2-bedroomed terraced house down the road, which has been on for about a year. Our agent puts my mind at rest though – that one isn’t really comparable as it’s on 3 floors, so the bedrooms/bathroom are tiny and there’s not as much outside space. Ours has good sized rooms, a lovely big garden (which I’m really going to miss) and lots of character. It’s a lovely little house, and I’m gutted to be leaving, but happy now knowing what we’re moving to. The “For Sale” board goes up the next day, and our agent sends through the particulars for approval. I’m really pleased – she’s used the photos that I took, used the words “oozes character and charm” and mentioned the strawberry patch in the garden. Who could resist? Hubby spoke with the agents in Scotland and finds out that there’s been another viewing of the farmhouse, but they’re not in a position to put in an offer either. It’s a race against the clock. Fingers crossed for a quick sale!
The morning of Day 3 looks a bit scary … the roads are covered with snow. Our B&B is up a little road from the main road, and it’s a fair gradient. We pack up, get brekkie and head out to brave the weather. Fortunately it’s quite sunny and no longer snowing, and we make it down to the main road without skis. Despite Hubby’s mum’s insistent texts that we’re practically going to have to live in Scotland from here on in, we’re fine. Once on the main carridgeway it’s fine, one lane is still snow-covered but it’s a fairly sedate drive back. Until I say that I’d like to take the turn-off through Keswick, then Hubby actually heads towards Ullswater (there’s a reason – our friends are getting married there soon so we’re having a nosey), but when I realise that it’s added half an hour to our journey, I’m not a happy bunny. I want to cuddle my babies. They apparently haven’t missed us one bit, but I need big squashy cuddles. I’d gotten used to Scotland, to the different air, the laid back drivers, the breathtaking scenery. Coming down through the Lakes, through Skipton I feel a sulk coming on. Once we hit Bradford it’s settled in for the rest of the journey. I really don’t want to be here. The thought of living and dying in Birstall really depresses me. No offence to all the lovely folk who love Birstall, but it’s just not for me, and this weekend has confirmed it. We spoke to lots of people, native Scots and English “immigrants” alike, and all of them just cemented our reasons for wanting to move. The cost of living, the way of life, everything. Apparently we can knock 25% off our food bill. Hubby had a look at car insurance and can more than half it. And, of course, it's beautiful. That’s it then, we’re moving to Scotland!
Apparently black pudding comes as standard on the Full English brekkie in Scotland. Eurgh! Hubby apparently has high hopes for today’s room-hunting. We’ve just got two rooms to look at this morning, then we’re going to spend the afternoon driving around the area, using the sat nav to its full potential. First on the list is a room in a little village. I wish he’d asked people if they smoke. You just don’t think about it when you don’t smoke I suppose. They’re a nice enough family but seems a bit too “Coronation Street” for Hubby – apparently the grandchildren are always round as they live next door, and their son’s always popping round and staying over too. No quiet days for sleeping off a late shift there then. Next is “The Palace”, as it will henceforth be named. The Palace is in the middle of nowhere. One of those that you can see from miles away because it’s the only house in the area. It’s also named very appropriately, and spookily – I won’t say what the house’s name is for their privacy, but it’s obviously fate. So we drove up the track and into the sweeping gravel driveway, and Hubby wants to put dibs on the hammock we spot in the sun room. We’re welcomed with open arms and spend a lovely morning being shown around the room (with en-suite), the extra room that the children can use when we visit (this is not an “if” we visit house, it’s definitely a “when”), the kitchen, lounge, sun room, Granny’s quarters, master bedroom with an en-suite bigger than our entire house, and last but not least, the double garage, huge garden with amazing views and the hot tub, which is so big you can do laps in it. Needless to say Hubby’s smitten, and we have a long chat with the owners who are a font of information about the area. We say our goodbyes, and the owners suggest that we find the local castle, Delgatie Castle, which is just a walk through the woods, or a short drive.
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
I was so excited on the drive up to the ‘Shire (as apparently Aberdeenshire is known – correct me if I’m wrong!). The drive back home was a killer. I feel like I’m a country bumpkin trapped in a city with no possible means of escape. And we don’t even live in a city! You probably couldn’t get more suburbia than Birstall! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice area, convenient, green bits here and there and of course close to family, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Fortunately I’ve married a guy who feels exactly the same, and we’ve talked about moving oop Norf for a couple of years. Well we couldn’t get much further north than Aberdeenshire really, so that’s now the plan. Hubby works with the UK Border Force, so he’s quite limited in terms of where he can work. So we’d kind of resigned ourselves to the good life being a pipe dream – after all, what were the chances of a job coming up in the sticks? Well, quite good it turns out! So, he starts work at Aberdeen airport on 5th March, leaving lil ol’ me and the kids in good old Birstall. Hubby's just read that Scotland is the best place to find a job in the UK, and Yorkshire's the worst. Aberdeen has more jobs than people seeking them, result!
Sunday, 19 February 2012
Uch, we're back in Birstall! No offence to everyone who lives in Birstall, but the thought of living and dying here really depresses me! Got soooooo much to tell you about our trip, but I'm going to get all the pics uploaded first and do it properly later :o)
Saturday, 18 February 2012
So then, this is blogging is it? You'll have to forgive me ... this first entry is going to be very rudimentary!! We're now on our first recon mission to The 'Shire - Aberdeenshire :-) So many people - friends, family, clients and complete strangers - have so often said "Oh my god, I wish we could do that" in conversations about our relocation plans that I thought I'd write about it, the good, the bad and the ugly. In true me-style I've gotten impatient about starting the blog and I don't want to wait till we're home and I'm back at the PC to get started, so this is my little "hello" to blogging :-) Can you say hello back? I don't know how this lark works!! Need to investigate!! Right, this is not so great on my phone so blogging-off now, will be back ...! Ta ta!!