Guest blog by Fruitcake @barjan
After returning from our Easter trip we were very down and despondent and immediately began discussions with a friend who could organise the use of a lorry with the thought of a trip in July. Our younger daughter said that this time her and her boyfriend would like to come and help, the elder one to take her turn at dog sitting!
I continued to titivate the house, painting etc and coated the garage doors and gates.
Mr. F. was excited about being able to have a wonderful staircase that he was removing – where do we keep it?!! I sold more bits and pieces for the French fund.
We went to the bank to discuss how the finances would be organised once the house is sold as we won’t be here to do so, due to us sailing across the briny as it happens, when it happens!
I was offered my old job back but, as I’d sold the car for the French fund, had no means of getting to it! Not good for finances but I had to say no.
Another viewer was arranged but cancelled, it was all very stressful! I spent a lot of any spare time continuing my research on what to expect of life in France and carrying out more of the administration side of moving there.
We actually had a viewing which resulted in an offer of £37000, we debated what to do and finally decided we would accept £37500. We couldn’t believe we’d actually had an offer! We waited until we got confirmation from the agents before telling our two girls, being unable to sleep until we’d got it! The girls were excited for us firstly and then tearful as realisation dawned!!
Between Mr. F doing extra work for the pennies and me wading through all the mountains of lists I was making, to do with the administration side of moving and neither of us sleeping very well, we were becoming quite exhausted, not helped in any way by having to keep chasing the agents for any updates, the van needing new tyres, one of the dogs being poorly resulting in a vet’s bill, Mr. F. needing new spectacles and the exchange rate greatly reducing the amount of francs we were going to get for our pounds!!
May & June passed in a frenzy of frustration and stress, between the buyer’s mortgage applications keep being refused and the incompetence of the estate agents and their mortgage dealer, we were no further forward. The lorry was booked for the 26th July but we didn’t know if it was just taking materials and furniture for storage or if we were moving lock, stock, 4 dogs and barrel, if we were moving we’d only need a one way crossing, if it was just a visit we’d need to book a return, the girls didn’t know what they were doing, so couldn’t book holiday from work – it was a complete nightmare. On one occasion, after repeated promises of phone calls which didn’t materialise, I stormed into the agents office saying “You do realise don’t you that I’ve got to book a ferry? This is not a move to another town, it’s the other side of the bloody channel and I’ve got dogs medications to sort out too so what’s happening?” To say I’d lost the plot was a bit of an understatement!
By the 12th of July it was obvious that the house was not going to complete by the time our trip was happening, so I told the agents to put the house back on the market and booked us a 5 day crossing and we decided that we would take as much as we could. Mr. F. was very despondent.
Saturday 13th July the crossing was booked, the agents sent viewers round without notice, I was confused! They weren’t interested – too small and the “buyer” still couldn’t get a mortgage, I felt quite depressed!
Over the next couple of weeks I did lots of packing, Mr. F. did lots of work, sometimes out from 7am until 8.30-9pm, he suffering with bad neck and head, me with pulled back muscles.
Thursday 25th July was loading day, we spent the morning doing last minute packing and sorting, in between which Mr. F. went off for an X-ray on his neck. The afternoon and most of the evening was spent loading the lorry, finally having to stop when no more could be loaded on. A great deal of timber was on board, which pleased Mr. F. Then the van had to be loaded and we eventually ate our evening meal at 10.30pm and got to bed at 11.45pm.
Friday the 26th we were up at 3.15am and away by 3.50am. After a good crossing and arrival in Calais we parted company with the lorry and each made our own way, us arriving at the cottage by 4pm, which was a sorry sight on arrival! Waist high grass obliterated the doorway and no flowers were visible through the weeds, but a quick swipe round with the strimmer by Mr. F. and we could find our way to the door. All was well inside apart from a little lodger making himself at home, I’m afraid Mickey was evicted!
The first day was spent unloading everything and all but the big pieces of timber was stored. Jean-Paul the young farmer called by and said that we could store store the huge lengths at his farm and he would unload it there with his fork lift – everyone was so kind to us! The lorry was parked at Jean-Paul’s farm and everyone gathered at ours where we had a BBQ to finish the very hot day.
The second day, another hot one, the timber was unloaded and the lorry and our two friends went on their way. We spent the day stacking timber, clearing undergrowth and weeds (with lots of stops for mopping brows and drinking water) We thought it was dark rather early when we cooked our evening meal and realised it was 10pm!
The third day involved more storing, after finishing emptying the van, covering up the stored timber at Jean-Paul’s, preparing a nursery bed for the plants we brought, in an effort to prevent them either dying of thirst or being strangled by bindweed! Planted plants, more use of the strimmer until it was too dark to see and finished at about 10,30pm.
The fourth day we were up at 7am both with many aches and I’d hurt my back. We finished storing everything, Mr. F. pulled a load of water up from the well with which we soaked the plants that we’d planted, deciding to take some back with us, rather than leaving them to die. We said goodbye to the neighbours, coming away armed with peaches and headed for home, not feeling quite as bad about it this time as we were convinced that we would be returning for good very soon.
Once we were back we didn’t feel so optimistic. No news from the agents, the buyer still not got a mortgage, I contacted a mortgage broker who told us he felt that we’d been given the runaround! We went multi agency and advertised everywhere! I kept telling Mr F. that everything would be alright. Neither of us were sleeping and Mr. F. resorted to sleeping tablets as he was exhausted (hadn’t had a “holiday” type holiday for about 3 years by then!)
August passed badgering agents and being messed about by them. We both got viral infections, Mr. F. trundling off to work feeling at death’s door, as self employed gets no sick pay and taking to his bed at the weekend. Results of Mr. F.s X-ray showed a badly damaged disc, shouldn’t be doing the work that he is!!! The sooner we sell and move the better!!!