We are moved

On Tuesday, 16th March, we finally moved into our new house. I’ve put some photos of the move online, but we’ll try to get some more of the new flat online in the next few days.

The move itself went fine, despite my worries about getting the van loaded (would it all fit? would we get it done on time?). We had loads of help from Damyanti’s sister, Ian and Martin to get the van loaded, and by around 10pm on Monday evening, we had loaded the majority of our stuff.

Since I was still worrying about the whole thing, I woke up early on Tuesday. I was aching all over, so the first thing I did was have a bath, before starting to throw out even more rubbish (unfortunately some of the stuff we intended to recycle went into the bin because we just needed to get rid of it).

We were all finished by about 10:30 on Tuesday, so we then took Damyanti’s sisters stuff over to her new flat (yes, not content with just one move in a day, we decided to do two), and then basically sat around waiting for the sale to go through.

Finally we got the call about 1:30 to say that money had gone through, and we could pick up the keys. However, the person we were buying from was still in the process of moving out, so we went over, and waited by the van until he had cleared out. So we finally got to put stuff into the house at about 2:30.

I can tell you that unpacking is a lot more rewarding than packing, and seemed easier. Again we had help, this time from Mark, and Nicky came over as well.

The place needs a good clean – I started sneezing almost as soon as we got there. I think it’s just dust (hope I’m not allergic to the flat!) I suspect once the dust has settled I’ll be OK again. Anyway, we need to give the place a good clean before unpacking all our things.

It also needs decorating. I have to say I thought it was in better condition than it is. It isn’t awful, but the sooner we can paint, the better really. We also need to fit lights into the living room and kitchen (he used standard lamps in both), and replace the curtains, and the blind in the bedroom (which was filthy, and broken)

Unfortunately, since I’m away now until Friday, and then we are going to Seattle a week on Monday, we won’t have much time to do this before Easter. I’m hoping we can clean, fit some lights, and unpack the majority of our stuff this weekend – we’ll see.

I know Damyanti cleaned one of the windows last night, and said the water was absolutely filthy.

I can’t wait to get home to start setting up home.

Success!

It looks like we have made it. We’ve just heard that contracts have been exchanged, with a completion date of next Tuesday (16th). I’ve booked the van, and I’m waiting to hear that we have dispensation to park outside both properties for the day.

It’s been a long haul, and incredible to think that we first looked at this property on 3rd September. So – now we know what we are doing for the rest of the week – time to pack 🙂

Almost there?

Well – we think we are now pretty close to finalising our sale/purchase. We went to our Solicitor on Thursday to sign our various contracts etc. Unfortunately, there are still some bits missing before we can exchange contracts. We had everything we needed except that our mortgage offer had expired (due to the length of time taken to get to this point), and we need a receipt from our landlord, to whom we pay ground rent. We’ve now got the confirmation from the bank on the mortgage front, but we still don’t have the receipt.

Without this receipt we can’t exchange (otherwise we could find ourselves in breach of contract apparently – and this would be a bad thing). As our landlord has proved difficult to get hold of, this is a bit of a worry.

We also had a bit of a panic when Damyanti’s name came up in a bankcruptcy check. Seems a bit unreliable to do this kind of check by name (Damyanti Patel not being exactly an uncommon name), but I think she managed to convince our solicitor that she had never lived at the relevant address, and never had a credit card (why this second piece of information was important I don’t know). This also seems a bit of an odd way to do it (Solicitor:’Your name has come up in a bankcruptcy check’; Damyanti:’Oh – that can’t be me, I’ve never been bankcrupt’; Solicitor:’That’s OK then’)

After we have exchanged, it will take a minimum of 5 working days to get to ‘completion’ – the day when all the money goes through, and the whole deal is done. So we are currently hoping that we might get the receipt on Monday or Tuesday. We could then move on the 15th or 16th. Unfortunately I’m at the UCISA Conference from the 17th-19th, so if we don’t exchange on Monday or Tuesday, that pushes the completion date back to 22nd March at the earliest.

Having signed the contracts it does all feel like it is going to happen now, and although there is obviously still potential for problems, we decided we would start packing, hoping this wasn’t tempting fate. We’ve packed all our books, CDs, DVDs and Videos (16 boxes worth altogether). I’ve taken down the shelves we are taking with us, and taken the pictures down in the bedroom.

We are lucky working in a library – loads of boxes just hanging around waiting to be used!

We’ve also phoned a couple of van hire places to check prices and availability. I made friends with Charles at Practical Car and Van Hire, and although they are a bit more expensive, I suspect we will use them (since we have a personal recommendation from some friends as well).

We were meant to be going to Bolton this weekend, but as we drove to work on Friday, the car overheated, and we had to pull over to wait for it to cool off, and top it up with water. Although this was almost certainly because we had to sit in almost stationary traffic for ages, I didn’t want to try driving 350 miles straightaway (although the car made it back to Twickenham without a problem). This was a shame, as Damyanti’s Dad was looking forward to us coming up, and was disappointed we couldn’t make it. However, we will still go up before we go to the States.

I tried to book the car in for a service today just to get it checked out, but none of the places I tried seemed to be open – so I guess that will have to wait until Monday now.

We are starting to make lists of ‘things to do’. We did borrow a book from the library to help us, but it wasn’t much help. For a start, it was last revised in the late 90s, and (perhaps still suprisingly) suggested doing everything by post or telephone (how did we cope before the Internet?). It also was (not suprisingly) aimed at people moving a bit further than 0.4 miles. So, a lot of advice about a ‘survival’ kit (which, for some reason, included a hoover – which hardly seems like a piece of fundamental survival equipment to me), and calculating if you need an ‘unlimited mileage’ van hire, which didn’t seem very relevant!

I’m sure there is a handy website now that lists this kind of thing anyway.

So, a busy weekend. Where we have taken stuff off the walls, there are now holes which need filling, and I guess we’ll need to re-paint (I seem to remember somewhere we are obliged to ‘make good’ any damage made by removing shelves etc, but I’m not quite clear on how much we have to do). Anyway, the advantage of starting packing today means we have time to tackle these little jobs.

Hopefully on Monday we will have a definite move date, but I guess that we may find that it is actually going to take just that little bit longer (it always does), and so we will end up moving on 22nd March. I’m hoping that this isn’t the case at the moment, but realistically (or pessimistically), I think it will be.

Starbucks in Twickenham

Just driving home today we noticed that a Starbucks is going to open in Twickenham. Damyanti is quite upset, worrying that it might drive other coffee shops out of business. I don’t think this will happen – the other places are far too nice to be driven out by Starbucks. However, I’m wondering if it might push them to do some more innovative stuff like Wireless access.