Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Onwards and upwards

So moving day finally arrived! So many things to think about, so many plans - would it all go smoothly or would the best laid plans crumble to dust?

Well, I think it all went pretty well considering. I picked up the van on Friday tea time as planned and was able to get the first load in on Friday night. The kids were safely away for the weekend with grandparents so we were up early on Saturday, all set to head for the new house to check in at 10am.

By the time I got there, Rhys and Charlotte, my helpers. were already there so we were able to get started nice and early. I was finding it pretty hard work, physically, but I was coping. One of my greatest fears in the weeks leading up to the move was that I was going to do myself a mischief. With Claire already crocked with a broken ankle there was no way I could afford to be anything less than 100%. Mindful of doing my back in three years ago and spending months under a chiropractor I had been incredibly busy in recent weeks with all the lugging about I had been doing.

Ultimately I was quite pleased with myself - it was a lot of heavy physical work going up flights of stairs with very heavy stuff but I managed it all without injury. I certainly worked up a sweat too, so must have been good exercise.

Not everything went completely swimmingly. The new place is a three storey town house and in order to get up to the top floor, it's necessary to negotiate a 180 degree turn around a stair bannister to reach the third floor. Not an easy thing to do with a king size mattress and the various bits of bed that come with it. If you can imagine attempting to maneuver a Boeing 757 around the hairpin bend at the Monaco Grand Prix that would be a fair analogy.

Despite all this and feeling knackered and stressed at various point, I soldiered on like the trooper I am, and Rhys and Charlotte were brilliant. I enjoyed their company all day and despite the hard work our spirits remained high and we go through it all. Our spirits were lifted during the last part of the move by listening to the Arsenal game on the radio - Rhys is a fellow fan and we were winning. We were finished by late afternoon, I dropped them off, took the van back and before dark, Claire and I were safely ensconced in our new home. Surrounded by boxes, knackered but with a sense of achievement. We'd finally done it!

It's three days on now and we are just about settled in and unpacked. There's been a few teething issues. For example, we had a new washing machine delivered on Monday but discovered to our horror that the standard space that it was meant to fit in was OK at the top but just a millimetre or two too narrow at the bottom! By swapping it over with the dishwasher we managed to get it all sorted but it was a pretty worrying moment. Another problem I had to resolve in a few hours on the phone was over the water supply - both SSE and Thames Water were adamant they supplied this house but they couldn't both be right.

Such teething problems are to be expected, but crucially what is the house like? Well it's lovely - new, modern and just what we wanted. We are close to the school and there's a real sense of community here. The neighbours are lovely - they have even brought round a card and a present to welcome us. I have met a few other people around who are equally nice. It flies in the face of what some say - that new estates have no sense of community in the way that older areas do. That's certainly not my experience comparing here to Chapel Street.

The new gaff!

As for the estate itself, it's amazing. I took the the boys out to explore yesterday and not only are there lots of little play areas, there is also a huge open adventure playground area with a zip wire, climbing ropes, tunnels and all sorts. Follow the path over a bridge and you come to a huge open field with a tarmac track running all around it. It's almost like a mini Grand Prix track - not a perfect oval but with lots of wiggles and twists and turns, It's 0.87 miles around apparently and the boys went round on their scooters.

All the fitness I've gained from the move and the joy of being out in this fresh air actually makes me want to get out there and build on it. As soon as the boys are back at school, I'm going to get my bike out on to that track and put in a few laps.

Out there on the field it's amazing how peaceful it is. We are close to the A41 and M40 but the traffic noise is very distant. Having lived in the town centre for years with all the noise pollution there, not only from traffic but loud music from other residents, this whole new place is so quiet by comparison. The only thing I could hear when I woke up this morning was birdsong and it's a long time since I have been able to say that. It's only now I am here I realise just how much we had to put up with before - making this move has been breath of fresh air in so many ways.

We have definitely done the right thing. This is a lovely place and all the hard work that went in to making this move happen was more than worth it!

Jason

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