The title of this post was a UK No.1 hit for the ‘Clash‘ back in 1982 and seemed very appropriate for this latest edition of my ramblings. However, I did toy with another song title by ‘Dinah Washington‘ which would have been equally as relevant this week as the opening lyrics would have summed it up perfectly “What a difference a day makes, twenty-four little hours“.
My last post mentioned the issues I was having with my Solicitors over the sale of the house, in relation to the delays in getting to the ‘Exchange of Contracts’. I was becoming extremely exacerbated with the whole situation and the stress was beginning to finally take its toll by giving me sleepless nights. I have often made my work colleagues ‘cringe’ with my normal passive nature and they often hear me quote “Stop worrying needlessly about things that you have no power to influence or change, concentrate on things that you can influence or change !”. Well, I decided that I can influence what happens and it was now time to take back some control of the situation. I telephoned my Solicitors only to discover that although the one dealing with the sale of my property had returned from a few days off, had not, in the three days she had been back at work, sent my responses to the buyer’s solicitors and she had now gone on holiday and would not be back until the following week. Instead of Vesuvius erupting, which it was close to doing, I calmly asked to speak to the Team Manager as I wanted to initiate the initial part of the ‘Complaints Procedure’. The response was immediate and I was put on hold for a minute or two, quite obviously because the nervous young office assistant on the other end of the phone needed to brief the ‘Manager’ first. I explained all the delays that had occurred, the ‘alleged’ missing letter and this latest act of inefficiency by my Solicitor. I was assured that the answers that I had supplied would be Emailed across to the Buyer’s Solicitor immediately and this would be followed up with a phone call. I put the phone down, got into my car and drove to the Estate Agents office. I told them in no uncertain terms, although remaining polite and calm throughout, of my displeasure at the firm of Solicitors that ‘they had recommended‘ and asked them to contact the ‘buyer’ on my behalf and ask them to ring me. I will cut a very long story short. I returned home and within an hour the buyer didn’t call me, he actually turned up at the house. It appears that he had been having similar issues with his Solicitor and so had made an appointment to go and see them on Wednesday and that he would be ‘signing the contract‘ at that time. We both agreed to keep in touch and that he would ring me on Wednesday to confirm that he had signed the contract. We re-affirmed the ‘Completion‘ date as being Thursday 26th September. Shortly after the buyer left the house I received the most courteous Email from my Solicitor’s office confirming that they had sent the Email to the buyer’s Solicitor and further stating that a Case Manager would be overseeing my Solicitor’s activity next week to ensure that the ‘Exchange of Contracts‘ was completed without further delay. I felt empowered and in control again, a very nice feeling, and I didn’t raise my voice once ! So, “What a difference a day makes, just twenty-four little hours”.
I must confess that we were now beginning to feel the stress and strains of selling the house and we were feeling physically and mentally drained. As well as dealing with Solicitors we had been continuously on the go with the house clearance which appeared to be a never-ending job, deciding what was to be sold or otherwise disposed of, what limited items could be put into our ‘personal storage’ and what we could fit into the van, what items we had to try to sell on either the weekly car boot sales or advertised on the Internet. We were now having to start going through the endless list of address change notifications, and watching what used to be our ‘home’ rapidly turn into nothing more than empty echoing rooms. We did not have the luxury anymore of the excitement of our ‘Big Adventure’, this had taken a back seat recently whilst we were having to deal with the practicalities of trying to get that stage. I cannot begin to tell you when Saturday arrived for within the blink of an eye it had disappeared.
And so the dreaded Sunday morning arrived, I dragged myself out of bed again, looked out of the window, there was no blue sky today, not even hazy sunshine, just grey, very grey clouds accompanied by a good stiff breeze. The worst news though was that it was ‘not’ raining. I did consider ‘Should I stay or Should I go‘ for about a nano second, and yes it would have been so tempting to have just crawled back under that nice warm duvet, but the car had already been packed to the brim and let’s face it we only had another four Sunday’s in which to turn what remained of our possessions into ‘travel funds‘ !! We managed to get the first two hours under our belts before those grey clouds decided to tip their watery contents onto us. Fortunately, this week I had the forethought to pack some ‘tarpaulin’ so most things got pushed under the tables and we put the ‘tarp’ over them to try to keep them dry. The less ‘hardy’ decided that enough was enough, threw their possessions into their vehicles and like a group of cowboys wagon trains breaking the defensive circle, they high tailed it out of there with the trail of dust and gravel in their wake. However, ‘we’ had not made anywhere near our self-imposed minimum takings to have made it worthwhile getting out of bed at ‘stupid O’clock‘. So we decided to tough it out with our neighbours, Naomi and Marie, although they had a bit better forethought than us and had brought an umbrella. I would have brought one of course had I not sold it on week one at the car boot, that’ll teach me !! Shazza took refuge in the car, with the sandwiches and the hot coffee, and instructed me to guard the tat !……… From what exactly ??? A question that I considered best kept to myself of course, so dutifully I guarded the tat as Madame had
requested instructed. Although the sudden evacuation of stall holders was good, it meant less choice for the ‘punters’ but the question was, were the said ‘punters’ taking refuge from the rain in the ‘indoor market’ or had they called it a day as well ? In the end “fortune did favour the brave“, the rain stopped, we re-assembled our tat ‘cherished possessions’ and the ‘punters’ started to re-appear and with less ‘booters’ the decision to stay proved to be a good one and we were once again rewarded with lots of ‘tat‘ being converted into travel coffers.
Bank Holiday Monday arrived, the sky was a lovely shade of blue, in dispersed with those nice white fluffy clouds and the sun had certainly got its hat on. A nice drive to the coast, a gentle stroll around the shops followed by a traditional seaside lunch of Fish ‘n’ Chips. A barefoot walk along the beach and the obligatory paddle then to finish off, a walk along the Promenade with a nice soft whipped ’99’ ice cream cone, just the one chocolate flake though…………………….. !!
Well that is what we would rather have been doing, instead we were re-distributing ‘stuff’ from Loft, Bedrooms and Garden to the garage !! We started with the ‘big move’, the daughter’s wardrobe, quite a simple task, it was one of those that had a double wardrobe and a single wardrobe stood on top of a chest of drawers. We separated the two halves, top bit from drawers, and all went well until we got the top bit, the heaviest bit, to the bottom of the stairs at which point we realised it was too big to go around the corner to the downstairs hall. A screwdriver soon dismantled the double wardrobe from the single wardrobe and with a few choice words problem sorted !! Next was the loft, it was just a tad hot up there but with good teamwork, what was up at the highest point of the house was soon stored in the garage. Then the bed we had sold on ‘Gumtree’ and being collected on Saturday was dismantled and that too was stored in the garage. Barbecue cleaned and stored in garage and ‘Chiminea’ conveyed from garden to garage and that was that. Except that now in removals mode we decided that my most favourite piece of furniture, a solid oak roll top writing desk that I had purchased 25 years ago, and which was about to be advertised for sale on Ebay, had to be moved from my ‘upstairs’ office to the conservatory where it would be photographed and then remain in place until the new owner came to collect it. This being a proper hand-crafted piece of furniture and not one of the modern ‘fix and screw‘ variety meant that it was not lightweight, normally not a problem but when you have been shifting heavy furniture and heavy boxes all day this felt as if it weighed three times what it should have done. All credit to Shazza, and without wishing to sound sexist, she is not a professional removals type person but she had not wimped out at any stage !! That nice cold soft whipped ’99’ ice cream would have been perfect right about now.
At 0645am on Wednesday 28th August and I am sat with my cappuccino on Swindon Railway station waiting for the train that will take me into my main London office for what will be my penultimate visit to London. Well in a professional capacity at least ! 4 weeks today and it will be my last working day before proceeding on my one month’s pre-retirement leave, so effectively, only four weeks left to work before our ‘Big Adventure’ really starts. The one thing I really hated about London was the travelling on the ‘tube’ during rush hour, it didn’t seem to matter to other commuters what gender or age any other traveller was as long as they shoved their way onto the carriage and squeezed into the last inch of space ! Neither do they care that after eating that 12″ Pizza the night before, the one with extra garlic and spices, which is now emanating from every pore on their body and is wafting right up everyone else’s nose. neither do they care if you do not like the music that is blasting out of their personal stereos, through their supposedly sound proof headphones, or that their laptop, tablet or iPad is smacking you in the gut every time the train carriage jolts. Oh ! The joys of commuter travel at peak periods. However, I was surprised but also pleased to see that the announcement that I had put onto Facebook the night before, as well as the ‘tweet’, that indicated that I would be travelling into London and using the tube, giving specific times and routes, and stating my intolerance and serious sense of humour failure should I happen to experience such bad behaviour, was duly acknowledged. Nobody had taken my ‘reserved’ seat on the train into London, the tube was unusually empty, so much so that not only could I have as much elbow room as I required but I even had the opportunity to sit down if I so desired !! Was it my pre-warning that had worked or perhaps it may have had something to do with the fact that it was still the school holidays ? Parents still off work and under sufferance of taking responsibility for their own little darlings in some over-crowded Spanish ‘All-Inclusive’ holiday resort. There they would be experiencing the novelty of good old Spanish holiday Cuisine, Eggo and Bacono, Pizza and Chippo’s, Burger and Chippo’s, Choc Ice and Chippo’s and the multitude of other choices with the mandatory Chippo’s ?? My heart goes out to them, not really, stay another week or so as I am due back in London next week.
Wednesday evening arrived and as promised, the buyer telephoned to confirm that he had signed all the necessary papers. Great !! then the ‘BUT’ !! His solicitor stated that he had not received the responses from my Solicitor and until he had received them he would not be formally ‘Exchanging Contracts’……….. I feel another phone call coming on !! I could of course just postpone the ‘Big Adventure’, cancel the sale of the house, put off the retirement and stay at work for a little longer, it would certainly ease the stress and was looking like a good alternative right now…………………………….