Another Monday morning and it seemed really strange getting out of bed and saying to Shazza “Right I am going to work, see you later” and then getting out of the Motorhome, unlocking the back door and going into the house and up to my office ! Whilst I started up my computer and waited for everything to connect, I found myself staring out of the window, occasionally taking a mouthful of steaming hot coffee from my favourite mug, looking across my neighbours back gardens, watching the cats finding their own individual patch on top of shed roofs in the warmth of the morning sunshine. The retired neighbour who comes out every morning and opens up his Greenhouse door, gives the cherished plants a quick once over, pruning a leaf here and a leaf there and then disappearing back into the house. The young woman hanging out her washing on the line before scooting off to work, the chap who comes out to top and trim his hedge-line or paint the fascia boards on his garage. Then it all goes quiet, no more movement other than the cats as they prowl around the tops of the fence lines and in doing so making sure that they do not cross each other’s paths. I have been observing these activities now, well when I have not been ‘on the road’ that is, for a little over 6 years and it suddenly dawned on me that very soon I will no longer be watching these particular rituals being played out. I began to wonder what other rituals I would end up observing whilst drinking my first morning’s mug of coffee from wherever I may be parked up in my Motorhome and whatever country I may happen to be in at the time ?
I heard the telephone ringing downstairs but had not heard Sharon enter the house, so by the time I got to the bottom of the stairs she had already answered it. She gave no indication of who she was talking to and the tone of her voice was expressionless, I was itching to know who it was ringing this early in the morning, it was obviously someone official as she was wearing her official demeanour. She put the phone down and then told me that the call had been from our Solicitor. She had received an Email over the weekend from the Buyer’s Solicitor stating that he had now received all responses to his enquiries and could see no reason why the exchange could not take place later that day. We had known for some weeks that he was delaying with the exchange, but it had only just dawned on us over the weekend that it was more than likely our buyer who had asked him to delay. Today was the first working day of the new month, had exchange taken place earlier, as we had wanted, then the buyer would have had to draw on the Mortgage early and effectively he would then have had to make an early payment for a property that he was not yet occupying, and I could understand that. By delaying until the start of the month, the first mortgage payment would not be required until the beginning of October when they would have moved into the property. This frustrated me a little bit as I had been totally flexible with them, accommodating entry to the house on two occasions so that they could do some measuring up for furniture. I had even agreed to clear our garage so that they could store their furniture in it just prior to their actual move and prior to the actual completion date hence saving them storage charges. I would not have minded the delay had he been totally honest and up front and it would have saved a great deal of anxiety and sleepless nights. However, this was only supposition on my part at this stage. We now had to wait for the official call which would announce the formal exchange of contracts, but at least it looked as if it was actually now going to happen. It was a relief for us as the car had been put up for sale on Ebay and we had 2 bids and several ‘watchers’ so it looked as if it would sell. Additionally, we had now sold the majority of our possessions, the only things left to dispose of was a large solid wooden coffee table, a matching side table and my two freestanding Infinity music speakers, all of which were currently up for sale on ‘Ebay’. We had already gone beyond the point of no return !
I went back to my upstairs office, although in reality there was little actual operational activity that I was now involved with. However, the office still needed clearing out, I had done most of it but there was still ‘bitty’ stuff that I needed until the actual physical removal of the furniture and the IT equipment. Both of which were due to be collected towards the end of the week. I needed to get some equipment ready though as I had to be in London over the next two days, this would involve an overnight stay and it would provide an opportunity to have a few farewell drinks with some of my colleagues seeing as this as this would be my last ‘official’ trip into ‘the smoke’.
The next phone call was an enlightening and confirmatory one. It was from the buyer who wanted to confirm that he had spoken to his Solicitor that very morning and ‘approved’ the exchange of contracts. A very important and revealing word that he had used, ‘Approved’ which confirmed my suspicion. I said to him in a very direct manner, “Why could you not have been up front with me from the start ?”. Rather sheepishly he said, “what do you mean” and so I told him that I knew that it had been he who had been delaying the exchange because of the mortgage payment. His stammering and back-pedalling gave me the confirmation I had sought. It was not long afterwards when my Solicitor rang me and asked me to confirm that I was now willing to exchange and that in doing so I was legally bound by the contract. I of course told her ‘Yes’ and the transaction was at long last formalised. The next thing that I would hear from my Solicitor would be on the 26th September confirming that the funds had been transferred into my bank account, less the repayment of the balance on my mortgage, the Estate Agent fee and of course their fee !!
And so with the formal exchange of contracts came the time to now actually submit my formal ‘Resignation’ from work, a quick Email to my boss and the deed was done !
Tuesday morning, stupid o’clock, and for the very last time I was at the Rail station awaiting my carriage to London where I would be spending two days. You know when you get your coffee from the station vendors they give you one of those ‘loyalty’ type cards, buy nine coffee’s and get the tenth one free ? Well as coincidence would have it, I was due my ‘free’ coffee and very nice it was too. The only downside to this trip was that I not only had to carry an overnight bag but also haul a suitcase sized bag, which contained the equipment that I required, which although supposedly portable actually weighed a ton. There were two upsides to this trip though, firstly it was my last work related trip into London and secondly, as I was spending the night in a hotel, it meant that I could have a few farewell drinks with some of my colleagues, Eric (my boss), Richard (S), Richard (G), Marcia and Karen and it was a lovely evening. It was during that evening’s socialising that Shazza text me to confirm that my card had been sold on eBay !
Back home again and the next two days saw my office furniture and IT equipment dismantled, disconnected and then taken away. I have to admit to feeling a little strange seeing what used to be a fully functional ‘home office’ returned to a somewhat empty Bedroom Four. I know that this is what we have been working towards and it was a sign that the impending ‘Big Adventure’ was very close to happening. However, it was also sad, in an ironic sort of way to see something that we once called our home become just an anonymous building with empty cold rooms ! Whilst I had been ‘working’ so very hard in London, Shazza had been very busy hoovering, cleaning windows and cupboards and had washed and cleaned the Motorhome carpets and got it looking quite homely, ready for the imminent ‘move’ into its fulltime role, not for just the ‘Big Adventure’ but for our last couple of weeks we were still here.
We only had one night together in the van as it was now Shazza’s turn to take a break from the confines of the house. Remember that I said that we would be selling everything ‘except’ for one personal box each, which we would be storing at Shazza’s mums, well perhaps we underestimated just a little bit on the ‘personal’ stuff !!! Shazza ‘Loaded’ her car for the first of ‘two’ consignment runs. It was hard to say whether Shazza was happy about leaving me alone to go to her mum’s as I found it difficult to see her through the smoke of the burning tyres and the cloud of gravel and dust as she sped off into the distance !!
Whilst there have been a number of stressful periods over the last few weeks (understatement of the highest order), there have been a number of highs as well. We have met some lovely people, the first was a nice chap called ‘Roy‘ who visited us at the car boot sale every week. He bought lots of stuff from us but I am not convinced that he actually needed any of it ! He was keen to help us build our travelling fund and he certainly did that. We learnt a lot about him (one of those loveable rogues in his younger days) and his wife, who, due to serious illness we never actually got to meet. We also met a wonderful friendly couple from Czechoslovakia who now live here in our local town. Dana and Pavel (Pav). Dana still works in Czechoslovakia and spends one week over there and three weeks back here. She was telling us that with the budget airlines she can fly from Prague to UK in two hours as opposed to a coach journey which takes twenty-two hours !! Pav works here as a lorry driver and unfortunately he has had to work for the last two weeks so we did not get a chance to say goodbye to him. However, between the both of them they have got a large proportion of my CD music collection and a few UK travel books so a big thank you to the both of them as they spent a fortune and were again keen to swell our ‘travel funds’.
Sorry Dana !! the photo was taken on Shazza’s iPhone and it looked fine until uploaded and enlarged into the blog. We did think about you on your ‘7 mile’ walk home from the car boot sale. The heavens opened just after she left and although we did look out for her we never did see her so maybe she caught the bus !!
We must not forget our Latvian family who, as I said in my previous post, were our saviours in purchasing all of our large items of furniture. We saw them again on Saturday evening and also at the car boot sale, we finally discovered their names; Raitis (known as Mama to his work colleagues as they cannot pronounce his name, I also told him that we have something in common as our van is ‘Big Momma’), Madara who is the lady I first met with her brother Valters and we cannot forget their son Augustus. We will be seeing them one more time when they come next weekend to collect the oak desk and Madara has told me that she will be baking me a ‘Latvian’ cake. She didn’t say that any of it was for Shazza !! What they do not realise of course is that if we get a bit homesick and miss our old home and furniture we can always come back and stay with them for a few days !!
So, it has taken the last fifteen weeks to dispose of our
tat ‘Cherished possessions but we can now say that was the very last. We are both looking forward to being able to sleep in next Sunday and then stay in bed with a nice hot mug of coffee listening to ‘Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs‘ BLISS !!
So, another week comes to a very productive and happy end. We have virtually moved into the van fulltime now, but there are still two weeks to go and that will entail four days work away from home, so still not quite reached the finishing post yet but I can almost smell and taste the call of the open road………….