On Monday 16th November we went to Slough to see our solicitor and sign our new wills. Next day the business of house moving began in earnest. The operation was carefully planned. Claire had already done a lot of packing, but there was plenty more to be done, and the house needed to be thoroughly cleaned, particularly the kitchen cupboards once they were empty! On Wednesday Claire’s cat Mitzi was installed in our flat as her temporary home. Surprisingly, perhaps, this did not seem to bother her.
It so happened that Thursday 19th was the night when the Christmas lights in Wycombe are switched on. It is a special event, which seemed appropriate for Claire’s last night in the town. When the work was finished, and Charlie home from school, we all met up in the town centre. We strolled around, and looked at the live reindeer. The boys had a couple of rides, and had their photos taken with two Star Wars Stormtroopers. We had dinner in a pub and went to see the lights which by then had been switched on. The boys came back to join Mitzi and stay at our flat.
Friday 20th was completion day. We got up early and Sandie went to join Claire, as the removal men were due to arrive at 7.30. In fact, they didn’t arrive till just after 8, but they loaded the van very quickly, and were away by 9.30. We finished the cleaning, and by 10.30 we too were ready to leave. Ian – who had taken the boys to school – took the keys to the estate agent, while Claire and Sandie headed for Bussage, taking with them Spike the hamster.
On the way Sandie made several phone calls to the solicitors, but only managed to get through once, and the person she spoke to was unable to confirm that the money had been passed up the chain. So on arriving in Bussage they went to Maggi’s house to wait for news. Meanwhile, the removal men had arrived at Claire’s new house. It was not until 3pm that Sandie was told that the money had been paid; she and Claire then made a dash into Stroud to collect the keys.
Finally the van could be unloaded and a start made on the unpacking. The men finished work in about an hour. By 7pm the beds were assembled, there were sofas to sit on and the kitchen was usable. We decided it was time to pack up for the day and adjourn to the local pub for dinner.
Meanwhile – back in Wycombe – Ian collected the boys from school on their last day and took them to Treatz, a fancy upmarket ice cream parlour, as their farewell to the town of their birth.
It was extremely cold on Saturday – there had even been snow overnight, and there was some on every car when Sandie walked from Maggi’s back to Claire’s. During the morning Maggi and Claire went to a DIY shop, and in the afternoon Maggi started putting things up on the walls. Sandie did whatever she could in the house, but as the previous owners had left it in good order, there was not much cleaning to do.
On Saturday morning Ian took the boys to the cinema and picked up a hire car, and in the afternoon set off for Gloucestershire with Charlie, Oscar and Mitzi on board. The boys were good as gold; the cat howled all the way. The boys love their new home: it has a large conservatory, which gives them plenty of scope for running around. Unfortunately the oven controls confused us, with the result that the pizza on the top shelf got burnt!
On Sunday Ian and Maggi made a start on decorating what will be Charlie’s bedroom: they emulsioned the ceiling and painted the woodwork. On Monday Ian covered one wall with ‘Avengers’ wallpaper, chosen by Charlie, and Maggi helped him emulsion the other walls. Meanwhile, Sandie went with Claire to take Charlie to his new school, and Oscar to the local playgroup. They then went into Stroud to do some shopping, collecting Oscar on their way home.
During the afternoon, Ian – who had finished decorating duties – put together a self-assembly desk. Oscar refused to accompany Claire to collect Charlie, saying that he wanted to stay at home and help Opa! Both boys had a good first day and enjoyed their new surroundings. Claire took us all out for dinner to thank us for our help.
On Tuesday the finishing touches were put to the bedroom, but there was little else we could do, so we said our farewells at 11.30 and headed back to High Wycombe. But we shall not be here long – on Friday we fly to our other home in Florida!