The final countdown has begun…we’re off in 6 days

As we sit here in the lounge, in our comfy(!) garden chairs, and peruse the chaos around us, the reality has finally hit. It is happening, we’ve rented out our house, we’re leaving in less than a week !!

It’s been a fast moving, and incredibly frustrating couple of weeks!  A week ago, we were still in limbo and being increasingly frustrated by prospective tenants. We had a lovely Welsh couple come round, adored the house, said they wanted it, then disappeared. They were quickly followed by a single guy, went into the agent’s after viewing and said he wanted the house, then he also disappeared never to be seen again!  People are strange things, and these two potential renters made us realise that no matter how enthusiastic people appear to be, don’t believe their enthusiasm; save your excitement until they’ve paid their deposit!

As a bolt out of the blue last Wednesday………………, we had a call from another agent, for an immediate viewing “today if possible”. They came, they saw, they loved it, they paid their deposit….and yes, the house is finally rented, to an absolutely lovely couple. We’re sure they’re going to be ideal tenants and right now, they’re everything we could have hoped for. The HappiHalls are very happy !

They’re keen to move in, we’re keen to get going, so we agreed to be out of the house by Sunday 29th Jan. Carpet cleaning and inventory taking on Monday/Tuesday, and they’re moving in on Wednesday 1st Feb.

Needless to say, that caused a bit of a panic in the Hall household. We’d assumed, with time rolling on, that we were never going to hit our end of January target, so while packing the house had been progressing, it was being done in the knowledge that we still had a few weeks to go. All of a sudden we were left with ten days to get the house cleared and moved out.

The magnifying glass dilemna – We didn’t realise quite how tough closing down a house was going to be. It’s easy when you’re moving house. You know that anything you’re unsure about you can just pack and decide on what to do with your stuff at the other end. When you’re renting out your house, when your storage space is limited, it gets more difficult. We know that eventually we’ll – probably – be settling down in a normal house again, and eventually will need a “full complement” of furniture and things around us. But how many of those things do we put in storage, and how many do we sell or give away, in the knowledge they’ll need to be replaced one day.

It’s not just the big things, but the little things as well. All the little knick-knacks that you’ve built up around your home over the years, the things that make your house your home. And all the little things in the bottom of drawers that you haven’t looked at for three years, but you know it’s there and you cant bear to get rid of it. Phil has a magnifying glass, he’s had it for years, never used it but can’t bring himself to get rid of it. The house is full of things like that.

The bigger things strangely have been much easier. We don’t have the same attachment to things like the three piece suite which we put up for sale thinking it would take a week or so, and it was gone within a couple of days – hence the reason why we’re sitting in the lounge on garden chairs! There’s a few pieces of furniture that we love, and practical things like the bed frames that we’re storing away, but pretty much all the other furniture is going. Hope we enjoy the travelling, it’ll be frustrating having to rebuild if we want to come back in six months!

Before the final rush on the house, we did manage to get some jobs done on Elton the van, ready for us to move in; the biggest of these were ;

  • Upgrading the gas system, installing LPG– We installed two 11Kg LPG refillable gas bottles into the van, with an external fill point in the side of the van. This means we can now stop at any garage that supplies normal car LPG, and fill up our gas bottles. While its a relatively expensive installation, it’ll make life so much easier moving forward, removing the need for having to swap out gas bottles all the time. Drilling a three inch hole in the side of the van was certainly scary but it went ok, much to our joint relief ! For those interested, we’ve done a full write up of what we installed and why, HERE 
  • Overhead storage in the garage – when we first put everything into Elton’s garage, it was immediately clear that we needed to sort out a way of storing our stuff. We couldn’t live forever with everything just piled on the floor. Phil built some storage in the top of garage space across the full width of the van. This meant the important things like the fishing rods and kayak paddles etc could be stored safely away, making better use of the space and giving us more room in the floor space. There’s a write up HERE  for those interested in what we did.
  • We also took Elton to the Weigh Bridge to see how well we were loaded up against what we’re allowed to carry.   It’s important that we don’t overload the van; if we’re stopped by the police and taken to a weighbridge for testing and we’re overweight, we’d be fined, AND  we’d have to lose all excess weight before they’d allow us to leave the weigh station and continue our journey. We were pleased with our first weigh-in. We still have plenty of capacity to load more things into the van – which looking at the huge pile sitting in the lounge still  waiting to be loaded, we’re going to need ! Here’s what happened when we went to the weigh bridge and a bit of information about how you weigh your vehicle.

A lot of people ask us about our travel plans – here’s our plan for the next six months, after that, who knows!

  • We’re leaving the house at the end of January, and then mooching around Cambridgeshire until Carol gives up work mid-February
  • Staying at mum & dad’s in February, then flying off to Austria for a weeks skiing at the start of March.
  • Then we’re heading up Scotland for three months, to meander around the NC 500 coastal route. This will give us some proper time to try out the van in the UK, as well as enjoy the beautiful Scottish scenery which we got our first proper taster of last year. We’re also calling into Northumberland on our way home
  • Back into middle England for the summer for family stuff, grand children birthdays and family holiday

30th August – our ferry is booked, Europe here we come, first stop Holland !

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