Another week in our UK home, and we will be leaving after 24 years in the same house. It is the place where our children grew up, and over the years we have amassed a huge amount of ‘stuff’ in our attic. Every year we’ve had great intentions to sort it, but it never happened. And we are now in the midst of a majorly complex logistical exercise to get everything in the right place before our move to Casa Campestre later this month.
Time playing tricks
When on holiday I’ve noticed that the first few days feel like you have all the time in the world, then you get towards the middle, and time accelerates – fast! And so, weirdly, the second half of the holidays always seem much shorter than the first half. And the final few days seem to be over in seconds. It’s been a very similar story with this move to Spain. We thought we had loads of time, and now, with only a few more days to go, we seem to be rushing like mad to get everything done and there simply aren’t enough hours in a day.
Piles of stuff
It’s hard to imagine how much stuff has piled up over the years. And how difficult it is to sort out. Not just all those things that should never have been kept, but also things with an emotional pull, taking us back to past highs and lows. And instead of clearing and sorting, we’ve found ourselves reminiscing. But now, having only one week left before the big move, the pressure is on. We are renting out our UK home unfurnished, and so our big pieces of furniture will go into storage. Some things will go to Spain on a van. Some things come with us on our journey by car to Spain – via Holland. Other stuff we can keep in our attic. And then everything else goes to charity shops or the tip. So, over the past few months, we have been living with piles of stuff in every room, and I can’t wait to move it all on!
Man with a van
When we bought Casa Campestre it was part-furnished (mostly IKEA), and we moved a few pieces of furniture from the UK using a man with a van (or woman, I guess, but doesn’t scan quite so well). This proved to be relatively simple, with timings of collection and drop off agreed with the transport company. We then saw a beautiful sofa and chair in Holland, and, despite the impracticality of doing so, felt compelled to buy these. And so another man with a van, this time from the Netherlands to Casa Campestre. And we’ve just sent a final load of furniture and bits as part of the great move from the UK. Phew.
Getting ourselves sorted
To add to the time pressure, we decided to ‘get ourselves sorted’ before leaving the UK. This involved numerous dentist visits and asking our doctor for an advance supply of repeat prescriptions. Our GP was very helpful and provided what we needed, though we’ve heard that this isn’t always the case. And we’ve had amazingly brilliant service from the NHS who processed our application for S1 documentation super fast and very efficiently. The S1 is an essential piece of paper if you or your partner are in receipt of a state pension in the UK. Having the S1 means you can access the Spanish health service at no additional charge (unless or until Brexit dictates otherwise!).
We’ve also managed to fit in final visits to opticians and hairdressers and organised all those things you do when moving house. Such as getting a refund on our household insurance and TV licence (who would have thought it!), changing our addresses with all kinds of authorities, re-directing our mail with the Post Office and trying – with mixed success – to stop ‘snail mail’ and get everything delivered via email or web portals. It’s extraordinary that this is so difficult to achieve, and we continue to receive loads of papers in the post that could have easily been sent electronically. Poor trees!
We are at the end of lots of leaving drinks, celebratory meals and a fabulous leaving party organised by friends. We will go to Holland next to see family and friends, then take a slow leisurely drive through France and Spain, aiming to get to Casa Campestre on 13th September. We are ready to go!