Sunday, 3 November 2013

A Moving Tale

Western Hognose Snake ~ Shylock
Well what a mixed bag the last four weeks have been; chaotic, stressful, exhausting, testing and tearful. I can confidently state this has been the worst move to date - I honestly do not wish to repeat this experience, nor wish it upon anyone (save my worst enemy - muh-wah-hahaha!)

The main thrust of the stress and chaos was injected by our buyers. For 10 weeks our solicitors (lawyers to our cousins across the pond) chased and chased in an attempt to determine the progress of the sale through the chain of those involved: our buyers were also selling to first-timers in Yorkshire, but everything was moving as if caked in half set tar.

Nothing was happening. No updates or information forthcoming.

Then, on the Thursday of the eleventh week we receive a phone call from our solicitor. It appeared that our buyer was told to complete within 24 hours or face a redemption fee of £3,000. So the next day we were sat in the office signing the papers - amazing that when push comes to shove, solicitors can complete a house sale in a matter of 24 hours. Makes you wonder why things have to drag on for so long normally?

We were then faced with setting a deadline to move out, as officially (and legally) we were now squatters in what was, 24 hours previously, our own home. So we agreed on Friday of the following week.

Storage had been arranged the following Monday, which I had taken off work. The storage company we settled with had an arrangement with a vehicle hire company which meant we would get a discounted hire rate. Happy days.


The Truck with a tail lift wasn't there. Instead they tried to palm us off with a van half the size. So after much 'discussion' they gave us a long wheel base van for the price of the smaller vehicle.

I drove it back and the move began in earnest.

Seven years - amazing what you accumulate over that time, and why? I think that was the one question I asked myself repeatedly over and over. The amount of Ikea fixings I'd collected in plastic bags with that age old mantra of, ' It might come in handy one day ', was not only scary, but quite revealing. I had slowly slipped into becoming a hoarder! Oh Jesus, could I be saved? But there was worse to come - bank statements, empty plastic bags (?), several phones with answering machines, lamps, endless computer cables, enough screws to sink a small row boat, off-cuts of wood (I know, please don't ask!), sections of new carpet and underlay, books, clothes... it went on and on. Our attic had become a Tardis. The internal dimensions defied logic for the amount of crap it contained. How the ceiling never collapsed I'll never know.

At the end of the first day things were looking bad. It didn't even appear as if anything had been touched. In my mind I was a wide-eyed, pacing chain-smoker*, but on the outside, I smiled and nodded with satisfaction. My wife, on the other hand, was the opposite.

*I do not smoke, in case you are wondering.*

Tuesday I had to go into work. My wife stayed home to continue packing her side of things. During that day the panic-stricken chain-smoker inside me won out, and I informed my manager that I'd not be able to work for the rest of the week due to the house move. I left work early, an air of grim determination clinging to my shoulders.

I swore all the way home. I thrashed my poor little car. I cursed the weather. I vented my fury at everything and everyone past, present and future. Even the man upstairs copped an earful - one of the joys of being agnostic.

Now those of a religious bent might, at this point, be tutting and shaking their heads. Well, mayhaps you'd be right, for the following day I went down with the cold from Hell. I ached, I coughed, and my throat felt like I'd swallowed a cocktail of broken glass and razor blades. Although my voice did sound sexy as hell, even if I do say so myself. But I digress.

My wife looked into the attic and in her own words, ' felt like crying ', when she saw the amount still left to be sorted, moved and packed. But at least I'd been able to hire a truck with a tail lift from a local hire firm after returning that poxy van to the first hire company. And more storage space had to be paid for.

*NB: Years of playing Tetris saved my sanity - it has taught me to pack boxes of varying sizes and shapes into the most ridiculous of spaces. Tetris, I thank you!

Thursday arrived and my wife had a full day at work. I was left alone to tackle the attic. Up, somewhere in the heavens, I could imagine a fatherly figure looking down and cocking himself laughing at my situation. He who laughs last... bastard. My cold was kicking me to shit from the inside out.

I devised a plan:
  1. Move from attic to back bedroom.
  2. Move from back bedroom to kitchen.
  3. Move from kitchen to truck.
  4. Truck full move to storage.
  5. Return home, begin again.
  6. Junk crap like a ruthless mutha.
Nearly 20 black bags, of what I classified as junk, later, and the loft completely empty and storage packed to the gills, I allowed myself a smug grin - dangerous, I know, but come on.

I will admit, at times the atmosphere between my wife and I was not the best I've experienced, but we both acknowledged that our current situation was to blame. The following day I returned the truck. Now it was down to multiple trips to the local dump via my little car, as once again I was on my own for the majority of the day. I condensed, I separated, I trashed; I was the proverbial junking machine.

All told, we locked the door to the house for the last time a little after 1330 hours on Friday. Of it all, I was saddest to say goodbye to my garage, which had been my training home for the majority of our time at #26 Llantwit Major, and my escape to sanity at times. But it was time to move on.

The honour of being 'last man out' was given to my buddy of 18 years, Shylock, a Western Hognose snake I'd had from hatchling. Sadly I discovered him dead in his tank a week ago today, and now he lies buried in a quiet corner of the front garden, curled up in his hide as if asleep - those were the only tears I shed as a result of our move.

It is now coming into the fourth week, everyone is settled, including Darcy and the cats, Eve & Tilly. How time goes by so quickly, and yet drags. The only other downside is my wife's father is now very ill with fibrosis of the lungs and at the age of 80, he's struggling to cope with the most mundane of activities that we all take for granted, so now he sleeps in the living room and has oxygen cylinders and a machine next to him constantly.

I sit writing this on my in-laws pc, a terribly slow piece of hardware that the geek inside me screams to upgrade, whilst my own hand-built baby is packed away in storage. But I will resist and forgo the call of gaming - mainly due to the fact this pc refuses to run ANYTHING - and just use it for email, browsing, blogging and an online course I've enrolled in: Teaching English as a Foreign Language, with my aim of working abroad for 12 months. More about that as time goes by.

Thank you to those of you who have given time to reading this moving account - sorry, I couldn't resist - and I look forward to engaging with you all asap.

~ for my buddy, Shylock, thank you ~ :)x


  1. Jeez Louise! Did I mention I was moving house this week?

    Glad you've got out safely through the other side, more or less intact.

  2. My only advice to you would be: pack one room at a time, don't be tempted to start in one room, then wander into another, then another. Be systematic and methodical, and hire a 4.5 tonne lorry with a tail lift for the move - DO NOT GET ANYTHING SMALLER!

    Good luck, my thoughts will be with you ; )

  3. arghhhh, i am planing a move and that was my thought one room at a time, then you know it is done until you are done.

    1. Yay! Jeremy! I think there must be something in the air causing folks to move home? All I can say is that I am sooo glad it's over and done with - just the future move into the next 'new' home to prepare for.

      Good luck my friend ; )

  4. Oh no. I wish things could have been smoother for you, but at least now it's done. I remember moving all my stuff when I crossed the Atlantic. It was awful and I too was amazed how much stuff I had accumulated over the years. But you know what? It also felt great letting go of a lot of that crap. Wishing you and your family and especially your father in-law brighter days.

    1. Merci beaucoup, mon cherrie. Appreciate your words and empathy. Loving the new profile pic you have, looking very 'Robert Palmer ~ Addicted to Love'/Vogue ; )

      Thanks for stopping by, tis always a pleasure.

  5. Wow, so much pathos in this post, Mark, but the only thing I can think to say is: YOU HAD A TARDIS AND YOU SOLD IT?!


    Sorry about the loss of Shylock, and sorry your father-in-law's not doing so well - I hope things get easier for him. Hope, too, that you and your missus are getting along better now that the stress of moving is over with! Good luck in your new place!
    Some Dark Romantic

  6. Hey there, Mina, nice to see you at the hearth once more : )

    Yes, as far as moves go I wouldn't want to repeat this one again. Thank you for your thoughts, and losing Shylock was a sad day indeed, but by all accounts 18 is a very good age for his breed, so maybe I was doing something right.

    I look forward to swinging by your place soon, until then, keep on gothing ; )