648 Moving experiences, part 17: January/ February 2016

21st January 2016. Fully three weeks have gone by since the last report; I’ve been a bit busy recently, as you will hear.

I had expected that the most striking event of this period would be the ironing board arriving in the lounge, having descended from Bedroom 3. If you remember the ascent of the outdoor stepladder, just reverse the film and you’ll get a pretty clear idea.

Last time I may have mentioned the prospect of a postponed Christmas on arrival in Letchworth. In fact the arrival has probably been postponed and the intended postponement has been brought forward.

To put this more clearly, the purchase of a flat in Wissen Drive, Letchworth, previously hanging by a thread, has now almost certainly collapsed completely. With the thought in mind that this could delay the house move by quite some time, my daughters came visiting last weekend (16th, 17th) and as well as some useful work packing and tidying we enjoyed the mini-Christmas that had been planned for my arrival in Letchworth.

While they were here we discussed an alternative plan, which seems to stand some chance of working, and which would see me temporarily renting a flat in Letchworth while finding a long-term solution. There would be some drawbacks to this, as, as long as I own Mill Farm House, I will be responsible for expenses such as Council Tax, water and electricity, while also paying similar charges for the flat. On the other hand I would be away from the practical difficulties of managing Mill Farm House, I would be near to the family, I could register with a doctor and transfer my medical matters to Stevenage Hospital, and I could start sorting through my belongings to see which of them I really need to keep.

If a suitable flat turns up I could be out of here in a matter of weeks; if we keep to the original plan it could be weeks but it could be months. So it may be time to pack the mugs and cutlery; or it may yet be time to unpack some less wintery clothes. We shall see.

Yesterday brought another hospital visit. There do not seem to be any significant developments. The doctors were talking in terms of various pills and treatments (exercises and suchlike) to make my right leg less stiff; all very well but every time I leave the house (as the exercises would require) it takes up a whole afternoon, and if I had to schedule additional pill-taking confusion would certainly ensue.

Over these three weeks the real outside world has been very much with me; for the next couple of weeks nothing special is scheduled, so I would expect to see five days each of Housework and Office, two each of Library and packing, and three Days Off; but today was meant to be a Library Day and with only two hours left I’ve done none of that, so everything is subject to change.

8th February 2016. Lunchtime has come and gone and I’m just getting started, so not much will be done today. On days like this I’m acutely aware that time is short, yet when I finally get out of bed there isn’t a great deal to do.

Over the last few days I’ve been putting together some thoughts for this report, only to find that I used most of them last time. This suggests that not a great deal has happened in the meantime.

Two things are noteworthy. Last week brought a visit by the future owners of Mill Farm House; three generations of the family, in fact. On this occasion they looked around inside the house, mostly upstairs, but the best part was the conversation with the middle generation. They remain quite determined that the quibbles of solicitors, surveyors, agents and others will not get in the way of the house sale, and surely they have the last word on that. We are in complete agreement about what is included in the sale and what is not. I remember, when I was in the very long process of buying the house, that eventually I had to tell my solicitor to stop messing about and complete the purchase, and this may well be what happens this time.

Another visit is expected this afternoon.

I was also able to tell them that the next day (Wednesday) my daughters (and, as it turned out, a second generation) would be visiting a flat in Letchworth. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I received a video report from them which gave me a good idea of the flat. In truth there wasn’t a great deal to see as the flat is completely empty, but I could at least get an idea of the possibilities.

As it stands it’s mostly a set of plain walls, floors and ceilings, though the kitchen is ready to use. With as much of my belongings as there’s room for tastefully set out, it should feel a lot like home.

If there’s any drawback it’s that the flat is all electric. I’ve been seventeen years without a gas cooker and this seems likely to continue. On the other hand it will be easy to keep tidy, and both my daughters live nearby.

Timing remains unclear; it would be perfectly possible for me to move there in the next few days; however the landlord is considering making some improvements, which could take until the end of March. Other people have expressed an interest in the flat, but the landlord says I am at the front of the queue, and I know I could move as soon as the flat is available. The future owners of Mill Farm House could likewise move at any time. So all in all the way ahead seems clear even though there’s no knowing when it will all happen.

What is certain is that there will be at least one more House Move Report, probably on or around 28th February, and it will come from either Bedfield or Letchworth. If the usual routine continues until then it will include six housework days, four Office Days, three Library, two Clearance (formerly Packing, formerly Showroom), a Music Day, and four days off.

28th February 2016. These twenty days have been so eventful that you can probably disregard most of what I wrote last time. The one thing that was perhaps foreseeable is that I am writing this in Letchworth.

Somewhere around the time of the last report I became aware of another possible flat in Letchworth, rather larger than the one I had been aiming for, located in the centre of town, and much more interesting. It was something of a leap in the dark as it was more expensive and I was relying on the evidence of a website, a video, and my daughters’ good judgement. Also it was not at all certain that we could cancel the other flat quickly enough to grab this one.

In fact some very prompt action by my daughters did the trick, along with some liaison with the removal firm that we had more or less booked. Subsequently I discovered that the flat had been vacant for several months.

So it was that last Monday (22nd) two men and an enormous lorry arrived to take my worldly goods away. Also my daughters to take control of the choreography; and not long after that Debora drove the three of us and a surprising amount of cargo off to Leonora’s house in Letchworth, where Ryan, Arthur, Sidney and Lewis were waiting at the door to greet us.

Thus the house is vacant but not yet sold. This is surely only a matter of formalities and paperwork and it’s hard to think anything could delay it by much. It does appear that the quibbles about boundaries and ground plans are resolved, and that all seems a world away now. In fact when Mill Farm House came up in conversation I had to concentrate to distinguish between Enfield, Palmers Green, Leyton and Bedfield.

And along came Tuesday. Again a certain amount of choreography was needed. First a trip to the agents in Royston to complete the formalities and receive the keys; then back to Letchworth where the removal van had already arrived; a very brief meeting with the landlord; and the worldly goods started their ascent – fortunately in the lift – to the second floor.

This is, I think, the right moment to pay tribute to Revells, the removal firm, for their efficient, cheerful and helpful work. Definitely recommended.

First impressions are that the flat was a very good choice. Let me first set the scene a little.

The building stands at a crossroads in a lively part of town which is mostly taken up with small shops, with a post office and a doctors’ surgery nearby. I’d like to know the history of the building as I’m pretty sure it hasn’t always been a block of flats. It’s an interesting shape, as it curves around the corner of the road junction. The flat stands on this curved corner, so none of the rooms are square; the walls are not parallel to each other and most of them have curves or angles in them. The kitchen and bathroom are small but serviceable and my bedroom is comfortable. The other bedroom is currently the Unpacking Room but will probably become the home of my Esperanto activities.

The crowning glory is the lounge. The north wall has enormous windows that look out on the street. Along this wall there is plenty of room for my large computer desk, a gateleg table, and the round dining table. All in all I’m well pleased with it.

A lot of the unpacking is already done. When I started packing, several aeons ago, I was packing for a house rather than a flat, so I’ve probably brought too much stuff with me; on the other hand there’s no shortage of space for what I’ve got. Decisions will be made as the unpacking progresses.

And that is apparently that for the House Move Reports; but further developments are on the Home Sweet Home page 9 and recent events suggest there may well be a Part 18 of these Moving Experiences.


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