Such a lot has happened since my last entry that I really don’t know where to begin.
Suffice to say, the absence of an entry last Friday should tell you that life was very hectic!! Manic is probably a better word.
After exchange of contracts it was all go in preparation for the Anglo/French removal company to come last Friday to take the belongings that we feel we want to keep in the longer term, but don’t need or don’t have space in our motorhome.
We needed to have a habitation check, a service and some work done on Marsha the motorhome, and unfortunately the only time that was possible to have this done was the Monday, and then the Wednesday and Thursday – which meant I was home alone to do a lot of the packing. Chaos is the best word to describe that whole week. Stuff was sold on social media and sorted out in to piles for the charity shops and the tip.
Martin done a total of 28 runs to the tip in 18 days – we know that as there is an overhead display which clocks up each visit – this made us VERY nervous – what if there was a maximum number of visits? What if this time was the last time we would be permitted to offload some of the contents of our loft which had being lying dormant for quarter of a century on the basis that we “might need it sometime”. Note: we were in our current house for a decade not a quarter of a century – BUT there was definitely stuff up there that had not been sorted for the last move!!
Facebook was definitely my saving grace for this house move. A lovely man called Ade took box upon box of Martin and Ryan’s old computer bits to be used to rebuild PCs for good causes. And a lovely lady called Zoe took a few van loads off for the Shaw Trust which saved us doing even more visits to charity shops.
Removal day was hectic. 6 lads flew up and down and stairs carrying two boxes a time – every time I turned around someone would be grabbing something that was supposed to be staying, and my inventory system just went to pot. I was frazzled by the end of it – but not as worried as the dogs who were noticeably perturbed by the disappearance of all their familiar things.
Last item on was the tandem which is going to be turned into a garden decoration in France when we have a garden to decorate – hopefully that won’t be too long. As we peered in to the huge lorry we pondered on how empty it seemed – was our whole life’s worth of possessions really in there?
Friday evening, we had a few Gin and Tonics and Pizza with good friends, which was wonderful – just to relax and enjoy some laughs after the madness of the previous few days.
Then the few days between removal day and completion day was spent taking stuff to family members who are storing a few bits and spending some quality time with them before we headed off.
We were late to bed Sunday as I insisted on thoroughly cleaning the kitchen – including the oven, before we handed over the house, and we were up at the crack of dawn to carrying on with last minute packing and cleaning.
Noon came and went with no sign of completion – for which I was glad as we were still coming across cupboards that had stuff in. Suddenly I realised why the artic seemed so empty!! I was sure most of our stuff was still here. At least it seemed that way.
We were expecting carpet cleaners at 1200 but when they were also accompanied by professional house cleaners I could have spat feathers – after all the cleaning we had done!! The guy opened up the oven and said “it’s brand new” – “no I said, just the result of two hours of my husband’s life wasted” – why did no one tell us!! Never mind – at least no-one could say we are dirty!!
We panicked when the cleaners turned up, or should I say – I panicked – and started indiscriminately shoving stuff in the motorhome – completely filling up every last bit of space. We’re not the best “packers” at the best of times – but this was quite literally piled up. Just enough room for us to sit, and for the dogs to lay under the table – but the bed was full, the chairs were full, and every other bit of floor space was occupied.
I phoned mum in desperation and asked her to come over with her car so I could get some more stuff in her boot. We filled her car up, filled our car up and drove round to her house. Much to the amusement of everyone living at her sheltered accommodation I had “borrowed” an ASDA trolley to wheel the boxes up to her flat – where I sorted out things the best I could.
In my head, I had imagined our last day at our home of nearly 10 years to be somewhat more serene. Handing over the keys to the excited new owners, we would slowly drive up the road in our tortoise-like home, waving to our neighbours (who would of course have gathered around to bid us farewell) and as we sailed off into the sunset we would be smiling, happy, in anticipation of achieving all our hearts could desire.
The reality………………….me nearly having a meltdown at my mums, realising at the last minute that we had no dog food so a rush to pets at home, a frantic dumping off of stuff at Lisa’s including piling up of stuff in the bedroom for Sian that she had no idea was coming to her!!
Then……………..a horrible rush hour drive to Folkestone, too late now to stop over to visit James, Nicola, Henry and Chloe. Arrival at Le Shuttle to find the duty free closed so no new bottle of gin for me. An attempt to sleep a bit in the driver and passenger seat (remember – no room on the bed you see) – the prospect of four-hour delays – then not…so do we sleep or not? Let’s not chance it.
We finally pulled over to stop somewhere in France at 0330 – shifted enough of the stuff on the bed to allow two very weary bodies to collapse and sleep for a few hours (fully clothed in my case and I kept the same clothes on for another day afterwards – yuk!)
Day Two was, after a very yummy breakfast, more driving – still both feeling a little shell shocked really. Too tired to feel the excitement. This chapter of our adventure has tested our relationship to its limits – there were many cross words said. Conversations surrounding whose fault it was that this didn’t get packed and this didn’t happen – marital bickering at it’s best (or worst).
Day Three – the tightly coiled springs that we had become slowly started to unwind and we began to have a laugh at funny things, to sing along to songs on the French radio. I did some driving – three hours’ worth in fact. Over a lovely lunch we came up with a cunning plan to drop off some stuff at the storage barn to relieve the over occupancy issue – and all seemed well again – TEAM MARSHA (half Martin, half Sharon) was functioning again.
The barn was huge!! Dry, and secure, and thankfully no smell of tobacco at all (this had been my fear for the last month). We were more than happy to store our possessions here so we very unceremoniously sorted out stuff on the grass verge at the road.
A misplaced I-Pod was the catalyst for a monumental melt down on my part, and all the emotions that I had been bottling up for the past few days came out in great, huge, gulping sobs – the kind that frighten anyone who hears (I suspect Martin scurried back up to the barn when he heard me) – but once the frustration, and emotions were out things seemed much better again. I needed that cry – it’s a big step we are taking, and for someone like me who doesn’t find it easy to give up any amount of control over her life – everything that’s happened during this process has seemed very overwhelming.
Then onwards we drove, until ………….at last, very tired and extremely hungry – we finally pulled in to the, by now very familiar, car park at the lake in Villefranche du Perigord.
Nous sommes arrive – we have arrived!
©Sharon Rees-Williams – wordpress.com/thislittlepieceof.land, 2018
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