Wednesday, 12 September 2012

12th September 2012

So we have been in Kings Lynn now for a while and our new house for a few weeks and what are my likes a dislikes so far.

Likes are in no particular order:

Sitting in the conservatory.
Having so much space
Kids having nice bedrooms.
The quiet
No problem parking
Watching the birds feed
Helen less tired and much more happy
Schools are close
Traffic is less
Get to places easy
Beach is 20 minutes away
Shopping is good
House is lovely and nicely decorated
Not having to worry about noise we or kids are making as we are detached.
Not having to worry about who might move in next door because we are detached
Slower pace of life
Kids are happy

Dislikes are in no particular order

Being away from friends and family
Noise of music from garden over the back when they are in pool – too far away to hear music but all we get is the thud of the base.
Not knowing anyone yet.

So as you can see the likes far out way the dislikes.

Helen has had all sorts of problems registering with agencies to get supply work. Lets go through the issue. A few months ago she contacted Key Education Services and Norfolk Council.

She provided them with details and then met them in early August so we would be registered by September.

Key would provide her some work but not much, the council was important as once registered there she could go round herself to local schools.

Key worked quickly and got both references needed and all was good.

Norfolk Council however were not so efficient. They received one reference back but the email to Helen’s last Head teacher bounced back. They did not tell us this but instead posted a reference to the school. Only on us chasing did we find this out, obviously the head did not get this until they returned to school in September. Had they contacted us we could have checked the address. It was also not helped by the person dealing with it being away on holiday until start of September and no one else had access to his emails.

Anyhow last week the head confirmed he had dealt with it. This week we ring to see if they have it back and they still have not got it. They rung the school and emailed the reference request. School confirmed they had it. We emailed the head asking if he could turn this email round quickly, he then replied strangely – “this should have been faxed I will check”. So now we do not know if he will email it, or fax it and if faxing does it go back to head office or to the people we are dealing with.

So at this time the Council registration is in limbo and we just do not know when it will be cleared and so much time has been wasted.

Back to Key. We rung last week to check to see how that was going but they had forgotten to request the CRB from Norfolk Council. They said they would do this. Today finally we have confirmation that Helen is registered with them.

During all this time another Agency Ranstad were pestering Helen to register with them, as they had loads of work in Kings Lynn but few staff. We did not want to pay for another CRB but they were so desperate they agreed to pay it. Last week Helen went for interview and filled in forms.

Yesterday we rung to find out how it was progressing and the rep there said they were waiting for Helen to return application, she told them she filled this in on the day. After checking it seems she did and they had mis filed it. The apologised and said they would email out reference requests immediately. Helen spoke to one of the people she put down for a reference that night and they confirmed nothing had been received. We will be chasing this to find out why.

So at the moment Helen is registered with one out of three of the Agencies. The one is the last one on the list of importance and once again it has been a painful process.

I think Helen has learned what I already knew. You need to chase, chase and chase with these things. Treat everyone as being incompetent and you will not be disappointed and you will not waste days and weeks when thinking things are progressing when in fact they are not.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

26th July 2012

A couple of weeks now since my last entry. Well there was really not much to say. Last Sunday we moved our final belongings and ourselves up to King's Lynn. We managed to get everything in the two cars and roof box, including the two rabbits who we picked up from our friend on the way.

We had a lovely drive up, Kirsty was with me and Craig went with Helen. We stopped a few times because of Helen's knee but still made it in a little over 2 hours. I will not miss having to pack up on a Sunday evening to drive back to London.

This week has been quiet, I have been working and Helen relaxing from work but picking up the shopping and cooking chores. We have had our 3 things break, first Craig's guitar tuning key broke off, easy to fix once the new set arrived. The second thing was the lawn mower, whilst cutting the grass, it just started to smoke and died. I had planned to buy a strimmer anyway and got one with a new qualcast mower. The last thing was the ironing boards which collapsed whilst I was using it, the welding had finally given up, it was very old, so a new one has been brought to replace.

We have, because of this, hunted down our recycling centre. Quite a drive it is as well, right on the outskirts of the town, it did not take too long to get to but I would say it was about 3 miles aways at least.

It dawned on me yesterday that we have no secure income coming in anymore. Of course I was aware of this before but it finally hit home yesterday and it did give me a little panic. Helen gets her full salary which covers August and September so we have nothing to concern ourselves immediately, I just think it was the realisation that for the first time we would not have an a guaranteed income at the end of the month.

It also means I have to adjust the way I do the finances. My complex system revolves around a fixed income coming in, it covers bills first, then allocates an amount to various buckets, like Birthdays, Car repairs, Christmas etc, after all that we then know how much money we have spare each month. When we have a birthday present to buy it is paid out of the birthday bucket. So I have now had to look at what we have to pay each month without fail. I have x this by 3 and moved that amount into a holding fund so we have at least 3 months money. That amount will be put back into the main account each month to cover the bills. Anything we earn during the month we go into the holding fund. At the end of the month whatever we have in there over the 3 months worth will be allocated to the bucket accounts. These have been prioritised so the important ones get topped up first. Everyone has a system, mine is complex ( I think it is ) and overkill but I like to know exactly how much money we have when we need to buy something.

Of course it may not be a problem and fingers crossed Helen finds enough work to cover what we need to live as we do now. If i knew how long I had in my job it would help, but even yesterday they have cut my hours down. Instead of 5 days I now only have 2.5 days a week. So whilst it is something, it is not as good as it was, but even if that continued for the foreseeable future it would be large chunk of our monthly required total, with no mortgage now.

Anyhow the one thing we do know is regardless of how much money we have we will have a house which is ours and a roof over our heads.

Tomorrow is completion day, and once we have the keys we plan to assemble the wardrobes in each of the bedrooms and finally get all of our clothes hung up and out of the suitcases and boxes they have been in for the last 10 weeks. 

On Saturday we have the family up for my birthday, and on Sunday we plan to take over the beds and assemble them and get the kitchen stuff over and put away. They are leaving us a fridge freezer so that will help and we can then sleep in new house on Sunday night.

On Monday we have electrician coming to put on new fuse panel and we will spend the day taking over boxes and all of the other stuff we can fit in the car.

Once the rented house is clear of all the stuff we can move ourselves, we will hire a man and van to take the things like sofas, washing machine, fridge and freezer and rabbit hutch. Until then we will have to do washing at the rented house.

The broadband is due to be cut off from Rented on Tuesday 31st and turned on in new house sometime the same day. I hope that goes smoothly.

Then that should be that. Check back in a few days to see how it all went.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

11th July 2012

Well we are nearly there. Just over a week and half now and we will be moving to King's Lynn. We are travelling up again this weekend and taking up some more stuff. Then there is another week of work for Helen and school for Kirsty, then my cousin Marks wedding on the Saturday and we move up on the Sunday.

During next week we have various things going on, Helen has a leaving do at school, I am having a meal with my old work mates and we are planning a curry with my Mum and Dad. Craig has organised a get together with his mates on the Friday before we move, so it will be quite busy.

Kirsty visited her new school, we had a tour around and it looked really nice. We met the head teacher as well and they have some great things going on there. The school have just released a single on itunes called We Say - download it if you can, they are pushing for a top 40 place. The song involves every child at the school and is a great idea. The schools website is great too, it has a forum for discussion, praise areas and each class puts up things they have done. Very impressesd. Kirsty loves her school uniform, and her new school bag and is quite excited. She also met her new teacher who has also just arrived at the school.

So onto more sorting out, and deciding what to take up this weekend. I handed in the final forms to the solicitor yesterday, that should be all now on the Purchase of our new house, now it is just completion day 27th July 2012 and move in the following week, after the electrics have been sorted out.

We started this move process in February and 6 months on we are nearly at the end. It has all fit into place really well but getting to each of the milestones has been stressful and taken a lot of hard work.

Nearly there now.

Monday, 2 July 2012

2nd July 2012

So we are into July and in 18 days time we move to Kings Lynn. It will be so nice to be finally settled in one place. Helen will have finished work and we can start our life again.

We had the weekend up here which was unplanned. Originally just Craig and I were coming up Sunday night as he has two inductions days at Springwood Monday and Tuesday.

However my need for a bed proved too strong, so we all came up Friday night and I then drove Helen and Kirsty back down on Sunday evening before driving back up to be with Craig.

Next week we have a weekend in London. The following weekend we will be up again to Kings Lynn, starting to move some stuff up. Then the weekend after that we have my cousins wedding on the Saturday and then finally make the move up on the Sunday 22nd July 2012.

We have just found out the Kirsty has got her place at the school we wanted. It is two minutes walk from the house and she met a girl in Tesco's on Saturday who goes there. I had a walk up at school time this morning to see how busy the road got. I am pleased we got that school as I would not have looked forward having to drive anywhere at school time. Getting out of our road would not have been easy.

There is not much more to do really, completion day is set for 27th July 2012, just waiting now for our statement from the Solicitor to see how much money we have left from our savings so we can plan what we can buy when we move in.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

26th June 2012

One more piece of the jigsaw is now in place. Yesterday at 3pm we exchange contracts to buy or new home. The only thing really outstanding now in the overall plan is a school place for Kirsty. That is in process and we hope to hear in a couple of weeks time.

The exchange yesterday took ages and I was in contact with our seller quite regularly as we were getting different messages from our solicitors. Basically one of them was lying because we knew exactly what both of them were telling us. In the end though it got done and we will have the house on 27th July 2012.

The saga of the drainage DVD still goes on. It has still not arrived so I asked them again. I got an email reply, they have now sent 3 DVD's out and just do not know why they are not getting here. They said that the engineer would do another copy and drive it down to hand deliver today. I phoned them back and said not to bother, the report was Ok and we will be in King's Lynn in a few weeks and he could deliver it then. The supervisor was insistant that he would hand deliver it, I tried arguing but he would have none of it. So we will see if it turns up today.

Monday, 18 June 2012

19th June 2012

5 weeks now until we move to King's Lynn and as each day passes I grow more tired and exhausted. We are also now half way through our stay with mum and dad having moved in 5 weeks ago, and although 5 weeks does not seem that long, to know we have only done half the time here makes it seems a long way away.

I am now getting fed up of my blow up bed, have to make it up each night and put it away each morning. I wake up have slept all night but my body feels like it has not slept in weeks.The constant trips across Enfield to get Kirsty and Craig to and from school or brownies is tiring whilst all along I am having to work and keep an eye on jobs that need doing.

It is harder than I thought it would be but I guess from my piont of view better than trying to complete and sale and purchase on a house at the same time. However I am very tired and a little bit short with the kids when they continue to expect me to fetch everything they need or want.

No more news on the Purcase of our property, we are all ready and I have no reason to chase it. We took Marion to see it last weekend and she loved it. We noticed the pointing outside had been done. Hopefully we will exchange contractes in a few weeks time with completetion near to end of July, that would be perfect.

Other than that it is work, kids, shopping, cooking etc but in more difficult circumstances than normal, shopping daily because there is not enough room to store a weeks shop, cooking meals around when my parents are having theirs, which changes every day. Cant wait to have a wardrobe again, living out of a suitcase is no fun, it seems I am just wearing the same clothes, recycling them as they get washed/dirty but as each day goes past it is a day nearer to moving and it will be really nice to be settled in one place once again.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

13th June 2012

Further on the drainage inspection report. The post arrived today but nothing regarding the inspection report. I phoned them again and my contact there was not in. Planned holiday or recovering from dealing with me, I am not sure. Anyhow I spoke to a new person but all she wanted to tell me was they had not received it either and could not do anything until they did.

I told her I understood this and tried to take her through the story but she seemed uninterested. I got a bit firmer with her as I was getting frustrated now, I really felt like I was getting fobbed off and I got put through to her manager. Anyhow a quick chat to him and he contacted the engineer. My copy was put in post yesterday this was confirmed, although I still do not believe it. I wonder what postal service the engineer is using as so far nothing has been delivered.

Anyhow what he did agree to do was email the report to the person I was speaking to (manager). The manager told me this and said as soon as it was received he would forward to me.

I waited but not expecting anything. Anyhow two hours later an email arrived with the report attached. I opened it eagerly looking forward to reading through this extensive report, which no one could tell me about, or email me about or even get delivered by post.

I started at the top, it had the addresses on there, date and job number. Underneath this it said:

FINDINGS: The investigation into the drain has identified that the line is in very good condition.

Then I laughed. That was the report, nothing else, no other words, paragraphs, explanations or anything. This is what I had waited 3 weeks for and what could not be discussed on the phone, emailed previously or posted from Norfolk to London.

Now don't get me wrong I happy with the findings, it means we have no problems, but surely someone could have read that out over the phone to me 3 weeks ago.

A call to BT was next regarding some microfilters missing from our broadband delivery, which were re ordered but have yet to arrive, that though is another story.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

12th June 2012

How difficult would it be to get a drainage inspection done and report I asked the drainage inspection company on 15th May 2012 following something highlighted on the survey that suggested there might be a problem with the drains. The nice lady at the other end said no problem at all, we can schedule the job for you and within 1 week you will have a DVD and full report.

Excellant I said and paid her the money. Inspection was booked in for 22nd May 2012. They did not show up. It was rearranged for 24th May. Once again a job overun and they could not do it. They finally inspected the drains on Friday 25th May 2012.

So we waited for the report. One week on 1st June 2012 came and went but nothing was recieved. No problem I thought we are in no rush.

However come Wednesday 6th June 2012 and still nothing received I thought something might be wrong. So I contacted them. After holding for a while and waiting for people to ring me back I found out report would be emailed to them that day and then onto me.

So we waited again. Nothing received by next day Thursday 6th so I rung back. This time was told that engineers computer was being fixed so it would be sometime later. He had put copy in post to company 26th May 2012 so they should have that. No they did not.

So we waited again. Monday 11th June I rang back again, surely his computer was fixed now. It appears not but due to this he has put another copy of the report in the post to the company, on receipt they would scan and email to me. He confirmed it was posted to them first class.

So we waited again. Tuesday afternoon 12th June still nothing so I rung again. The report had not arrived with them yet. So I got quite angry now, although it does not really affect anything, I would like to see the report before we exchange. After much discussion it appears the reports are not emailable anyway. I think they make alot of things up. They told me it was top priority, on receipt they would post off to me. I then suggested they should contact the engineer and tell him to send me the report and DVD direct, today, first class post. They agreed to ask for this.

Something smells funny here, and I hope it is not the drains.

Friday, 8 June 2012

8th June 2012

We have spent the week up in King's Lynn in our rental house. It has been a great week and nice to spend some time up here other than just weekends. Weather has not been great but then again it has not been that good in London either.

We have visited Hunstanton Beach, Kirsty had a donkey ride and we ended that trip with an awful Fish and Chip dinner. We also went to Langhams Glass Factory and that was a great afternoon. Wells at Sea was a disappointment, the beach is a long way from the town, so you either park down there and walk back or park in town and walk down. Either way it is a long walk.

We also had a trip to Norwich, mainly to try and get Helens Iphone fixed. The apple store could not do anything, but Norwich was great to look around, very good shops.

Best thing though is the traffic, you can get to places with no problems at all, even half term and bank holidays. I cannot tell you how much better that makes me feel, London just puts you off going out anywhere for fear of getting stuck in a traffic jam.

We have treated ourselves to a new 42 inch TV. The 32 inch one we had was making an annoying hum and we had promised ourselves a new one in the new home, but we saw an offer on in Argos and it was too good to turn down.

The house move seems to be going ok. We have signed our contract and returned it to the solicitor. I had an email from our seller, they have carried out the works we asked them to do, they are just waiting for their seller to return the fixtures and fittings forms and then we should be good to go.

The rental property is lovely, not as good as the house we are buying but still good enough and I am quite happy to live here if there is any problems with our Purchase. Not that there should be but well you never know.

Back to London tonight, as Craig has revision session at school tomorrow, also Helen and Kirsty are back to work and school respectively.

Another 6 weeks and we will live in Kings Lynn permanently. Cant wait.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

30th May 2012

So now we move onto sorting a school out for Kirsty. Over the past few months we have phoned both councils a number of times and I really do not think any of them listened to our situation before providing us with an answer. Some said we should hold off until we moved up, some said we could apply anytime and others said we should do it straight away.

Now with the sale of the house finished I had some time to think about this and decided the best option was to write it all down in an email and send to the admissions department in Norfolk.

I explained exactly where we were at, living in Enfield with parents, not being able to move until Summer due to work and sons GCSE's, explained we had a rented place already and an offer in on another house. Basically I laid it out line by line so there could be no doubt as to what was needed.

Within 5 minutes Hayley came back to me and said we should certainly do it now. We should send in the transfer form, rental agreement and birth certificate to Enfield, and also send her copies in the post. They would be reviewing places for Sept starts after half term. So finally I deifnate answer, so last night we went to the pub (any excuse), and we filled in the forms and stated our preference for schools.

The letters were posted this morning and now we just wait.

Monday, 28 May 2012

28th May 2012

So at 10.30 on Friday 25th May I got a call from the Solicitor t say that the funds had been received and the sale was now complete. I cannot tell you want a relief that was to finally have that out of the way.

I must say right upto the last minute I was never 100% sure or maybe I did not want to think it was 100% certain. Anyhow it is all done now and we are now in control of our own destiny and more importantly we now no longer have a mortgage.

We spent the weekend up in the rental property and it was very nice being up there, going out and about on foot and bike. Whilst up there we took the opportunity to visit our sellers and discuss some of the points on the survey. As it turned out these were very minor points, mot of which the sellers had had on their survey when they had brought it and things had not changed and they had not bothered to correct.

Having said that he was very good, he is going to repoint all the areas where there is cracking, he is also going to plane the door where it is binding and he has checked the guttering which the surveyor had said was blocked and found it not to be.

The garage door frame where it was reported to have rotted was all fine apart from 2% of it, which could be easily fixed, and based on all of this we have decided to sign the contract and go ahead. We will get the fuse box done when we move in.

We chatted with them n their conservatory for half an hour and it was really nice to hear what they are upto.

So my biggest headache at the moment is notifying companies of change of address. Where possible I try nad do Helen's as well but this is not always possible and she needs to catch up with some which need doing urgently. I think we have covered all the main ones and I think others will crop up over the next few months. We have post redirected for 3 months so we should be Ok. I am making notes of what is being done by whom and how as we may well have to change address on possibly two more occassions.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

25th May 2012

So today is completion day on our house. 114 days (16 weeks) after we engaged the Estate Agents, but so much longer in the planning.

Last night the kids had their hair cut at the house, so we had dinner there for the last time. With no furniture there we put a picnic blanket in the living room and got fish and chips and ate out of the bag.

I slept surprisingly well last night, went off quite quickly, woke up at 12.30 and 2am but got straight back off to sleep, unlike the night before when I was up for 2 hours. Awake and up though at 5am. The very hot weather meant we slept with out window open and the birds were noisy and early.

I am hoping for everything to go smoothly today, there is no reason it should not, despite no contact from any solicitors or Estate Agents over the past week or so, letters have been arriving at the house addressed to the new owners so this gives me reassurance. Virgin Media will be round between 8 and 8.30 to collected the set top boxes and modem, and there is not much left in the house for me to gather up. Then it will be working and waiting for a phone call to say we have completed, and I can then gather up my stuff, take meter readings and leave our house of 14 years for the last time.

It will be sad in a way to leave, it has been our family home, a place where our children have grown up, Craig was only two when we moved in. I have liked the house very much but the area around it is now not so good and also our neighbours are not what they were. 

When we moved in, we had to the left of us Dawn, Steve and two children. The children would play with Craig, the garden gates left open for them to run in and out of each others gardens. Steve and Dawn were always good for a chat, they would always be around and about and they were both easy to talk to. Often our jobs would not get done because we were chatting too much. They moved on though, onto the Willow Estate to be nearer to Enfield.

On the other side was lovely Jean. I had to build Craig some steps so he could talk to her over the fence. He would spend a lot of time in her house as well and she was always treating the kids with money, toys and was a lovely neighbour. Again many times we would stand chatting to her over the fence and again for long periods. Then she passed away a few years ago and since then things have not been the same.

We used to spend a lot of time in the garden, but not so much recently. To our left Mario and Sara moved in, nice couple who say hello, but they are not around so much and when they are they are not out in the garden much. To our right we now have a family of 5 who make quite a lot of noise. They are OK to talk to and once of the children is in Kirsty's class but they are not people who I find it easy to spend time chatting to. They put blankets on their washing line just to cut themselves off from us and the garden is left in a mess most of the time.

Next door to them is a Nigerian family, again very nice, but since their children have grown up and have cars the parking out the front has got worse. Even though we have a driveway, the way they park leaves a small space behind them which other people use. The problem is that the space is not big enough for two cars and people parking behind them leave their back end over our driveway making it difficult to drive on and off due to the narrow slip road we live on. Despite asking them just to park in the middle of the space they still continue to do it and it has become very annoying. I got a lot of satisfaction by placing our skip their for a month, meaning they had to park somewhere else. It was not a difficult request but for some reason they would not help me out.

So that is it really, today, hopefully (you see some doubt still remains), we will have sold our house, we will have no mortgage, and stage 1 of our 3 stage plan to move to Norfolk will be finished.

114 days to sell the property is probably a very good time frame from start to finish. However for me it has seemed like an eternity, days and days seemed to pass before we exchanged, with nothing seemingly happening. I think I put pressure on myself knowing our deadline was the end of May, due to Helen having to hand in her notice, and it seemed to drag and drag, but I guess this is how the process works and now when I look at the property I am buying, we took a week just to put the survey into the solicitors. Had this been our buyer doing that I wold have been chasing every day to see if it had been done.

Tonight we are off to King's Lynn for the weekend and I am looking forward to it and I am looking forward to not having a mortgage and no longer being responsible for the property which has been empty now for a few weeks.

Monday, 21 May 2012

21st May 2012

We are in our last week at our house we are selling. Well I hope we are, you see I still have doubts until I get the confirmation that we have completed. Not much to do this week, apart from the normal school, work, clubs etc. 

We did a good clean of the house on Sunday and this week I can continue moving the last little bits out ready for Friday. On Friday morning I have to take the meter readings and the Virgin Engineer is coming to pick up the modem and set top boxes.

The lawn looks a mess but the mower is up in King's Lynn so not much I can do about that. She shed is empty as well so it is just the kitchen and the front room with a few bits in it. 

This week sees a heavy week for Craig and his exams, I think he has something on every day and on some days he has two. He seems to be quite relaxed about them and I hope that proves the case when the results come in.

We have booked in surveys for the Electrics and the Drainage at the property we are buying, they should be done this week and hopefully they will come back OK. If not we need to decide what to do and that will be based on the cost for repair. If significant then I would think we might have to discuss with the sellers. Apart from those two things I think we are happy with the other points on the survey and will put up/repair those when we move in.

Kirsty's school is still a bit of a worry. It seems that we can submit the transfer request at any time, the process takes 2-3 weeks but once she is offered a place she is then expected to take up that place straight away. So if we do it now she could have a place in Norfolk come the end of June. If we leave it until we are up there who knows where she might end up. It is the one piece of the jigsaw still open really. It maybe we decide to take the place early, and once Craig has finished his exams we move up there and leave Helen down here until she has finished work. We shall have to wait and see on that one.

The broadband we had installed at Dads house has been a saga. When I ordered it I told BT what our usage was, Xbox and some you tube and general internet stuff and they said 10gb should be plenty. Well after a week of us being there, with Craig at school all day as well we had used 7gb of the 10gb monthly allowance.

So the Sunday before last we increased it to 40gb to see how that would go. When I checked this Sunday how our usage was going we had used 37.1gb of our 40gb usage. Clearly it was still not enough, both kids use you tube alot and the streaming of videos makes for high download figures. So this Sundat there was nothing for it but to up the package to unlimited. It works out about £10 per month more that we had originally set up, but it should only be for 3 months. Once we leave we can reduce back down to 10gb until the end of the contract. Then Dad can decide what he wants to do with it.

So hopefully the week will progress smoothly and on Friday we will complete the sale.

Friday, 18 May 2012

18th May 2012

So this time next week we should be completing our sale of our house. It is funny really because on one hand I just want to get it finished and know for sure that it is sold and there are no more worries about anything going wrong, yes I still have doubts that something will happen, but on the other hand once we have sold life gets a bit more difficult get the Kirsty to and from school each day. 

At the moment we can leave Mums nice and early, miss the traffic and sit in our house until school time. Once we have sold I will have to leave later and catch more of the traffic. I will then also have to make the journey 4 times a day, rather than the two as at the moment I spend the day at the house doing my work, so do not have to drive back to mums after dropping Kirsty off at school.

We now have our contract to sign for our house purchase. With it came the land registry documents with all the covenants, I read that 3 times and then thought, I could read this 100 times and still not understand it, the wording is so weird. The solicitor says everything is fine so I have to take their word for it as that is what I am paying them for.

The environmental search has come back with a big PASSED on it. My solicitor did highlight one section though where there is a 1% chance of Radon gases, what does that even mean. Might have to google that later.

We asked our sellers about the wardrobes they had and the curtains downstairs and they have agreed a price with us for selling these to us separately. We have exchanged emails with them on various stuff and it does make it easier to be able to talk to them directly, but I understand why Estate Agents discourage it as there might not always be two parties like we are and I guess things could get out of hand.

So thats all for now, weekend in London coming up, but we aim to go to Kings Lynn the following weekend.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

17th May 2012

So we have had the survey back on our new house and as expected it has highlighted everything down to the smallest detail. Anyone of a nervous nature would never buy a property following a receipt of a survey.

It has however shown up some things that we should pay out for before we proceed any further. The electrics first need to be looked at, there was nothing major but they have not been inspected for a long time and some of it is old. Also the owner has outside electricity by means of a cable running out of the house and along the wall and the cable is not armoured.

The other thing was some cracking in the wall below the kitchen window. Below this is a gully for waste water and the surveyor suggested we get a CCTV drainage inspection to check for any leaks. This was backed up by cracks in the drive way concrete and the path. Both the path and the driveway seem to slope down towards the house with no drainage away and this also might be the cause of the movement.

Anyhow the owners are away at the moment so we must wait until they get back so we can give the contractors their number and to book appointments to go and carry out the inspections.

Other than that it highlighted things that were not too serious, run of the mill stuff that you would probably just keep an eye on in your own home, but there are some things for our solicitor to check, such as the conservatory building, a step in the kitchen to the toilet ( does it meet regulations), the changing of the front entrance into a WC, the boiler installation and the installation of a shower cubicle. I will pass them a copy and ask them to obtain the relevant documents on our behalf.

The good thing is that this puts some delays in the process, which for us at this time is great as we do not realy want to complete on the property until July.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

15th May 2012

I am finding it quite difficult organising things whilst living with Mum and Dad. Apart from the fact of trying to find things which could be in one of 3 places, there is the added problems of getting the children to and from school. The journey is obviously now not walkable and so we have to leave early enough to not get caught in traffic but not too early that we have to sit around and wait. The problems are compelled now that Craig has finished school and only goes in for exams, which can be morning or afternoon, and sometimes for only 30 minutes, so he needs to get there and get home again.

This morning Kirsty woke up with a cold so that was another decision that needed to be made quickly, sorting out breakgast in good time, then planning for her to go to Brownies tonight, if well enough, meant bringing her uniform over here, to our old house, remember we still have this until the 25th and I work from here, along with some dinner for her to eat.

The logistics are interesting to try to work out how to do things the best, where to tell Craig to go and what to organise and have in which house and for when. Also having to work, and then sort out dinners for different people at different times makes it quite interesting life at the moment.

Monday, 14 May 2012

14th May 2012

So been a bit of a gap but then have been very busy. We got the keys OK and removal men turned up on the Wednesday at 10.30, so they made good time. Once unloaded we spent the afternoon emptying a few boxes and putting together beds and wardrobes. The front room is piled high with upopened boxes and these will remain unopened until we move to our new house. We had one little problem, the boiler was not working and the landlord could not get someone to fix it until the next morning. We got our friend around to help us light a fire and at least we had some heat. We drove back that Wednesday evening, and my hands hurt from all the re assembling.

We then started to adjust to life living with my mum and dad again, and so far it has not been too bad. Just little things like stuff getting moved when you think you know where it is, and just trying to find things of ours which might either be there, or at the rented house or the house we are selling.

On Saturday we went back up to King's Lynn with the children and my mum. We got to show them the rented place and also the house we are buying. We also walked around  the area to see the schools the children would be going to. Mum was really impressed with the house and the kids were the same. I was so pleased, it seems we have made the right decision.

We came back home Saturday night, Helen worked all day Sunday, I cooked the roast dinner for us all and we then went to the pub for a drink. 

Not much going on this week, counting down the days to our completion date of 25th May. The predicated fuel drivers strike did not happen, they accepted the deal, so we did not have to move early as it turns out, but I could not take the risk. Sitting here in my front room, on a deckchair with a laptop so I can keep working and not much else in the house. Been going round each room and giving it a good clean. Just kitchen and front room to do now.

The drive to school from Mums is not too bad but we have to leave at 7.45 to make sure Craig gets there on time. Once we no longer have this house it will get a bit worse, having to make 4 trips a day but needs must and its only for about 8 weeks anyway.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

9th May 2012

So the removal van arrived at 8.15am. That was a relief, as ever I thinking the worst and wondering if they had the right day booked. Two guys Derrick and Matt. Took me a few goes remembering the names and then once I remembered the names I then had to assign them to the right person. 

They cracked on quite quickly, said we had prepared everything very well. They said when they see a job "owner Packing" they always worry about what will face them. They said they had one guy a few weeks ago who had not even started packing when they arrived. He was very laid back and said they could follow him round whilst he filled boxes. They asked what was up in the loft, I told them it was empty and that I had got all the boxes down myself. They said they would have gone up and got them. Urgh, that's annoying as it was hard work bringing them down.

I was anxious to see how they would get the large 3 seater out of the front room. I had taken up the laminate flooring in the hall, it gives that extra bit of space to get the sofa through. We needed to do it when we put it in there. I kept an eye on them waiting for them to tackle the front room, intrigued to see how they manoeuvred it. As it turned out they got it out within a few minutes. They simply took the double glazed window out and shifted it out through there. LOL all that time taking the floor up and putting it back.

Still by 11.30am they were all done and everything was on the lorry. I am left working from here sitting on a deckchair with my laptop. I had remembered every ones lunches this morning apart from mine. So it was just toast for me.

I have been round, swept and hoovered, amazing the dirt that collects under fridges, beds, sofas and wardrobes etc.

Now just waiting for kids to come home and for mum to pick them up, then it is off to Norfolk when Helen gets home from work. Then only two things to worry about. Will the landlord be there to give us the keys and we will actually complete on the 25th May 2012 so the sale of our house actually goes through. I know it is unlikely not to but until we complete something could happen. Yes we would get the £20k deposit but all the aggro of packing and moving all our stuff around and also the fact that Helen has now handed her notice in would make it difficult to recover from. Still that's me all over.

Monday, 7 May 2012

8th May 2012

So we are almost ready. Helen and I spent Sunday and Monday packing up the house and dismantling furniture and beds. Over 80 boxes in the end and I made a mistake with the ones in the loft. I packed many up there since christmas but forgot the weight of them. When I came to take them out the loft and down the ladder I realised that maybe I should have made them lighter. Some were really difficult to lift down, but all was done in the end and everything is ready.

Kids moved to Mum and Dads on Sunday and by Monday afternoon all the stuff we needed over there was taken. It looked a lot of stuff but as the other bits would be in a house where we would not be for lot of the time we had to take things to Mum that we did not actually need day to day but that could not be replaced if we were burgled up there. After a bit of sorting out we managed to get organised and put a lot of stuff up into the loft.

We slept there last night and this morning we all left at 7am to get over here for school and to meet the removal men. Once they have arrived and packed up I will work from here until end of school, get the kids and Mum will come over and pick them up.

Once Helen finished work today we will travel to Kings Lynn, to meet our landlord, sign the contract and get the keys. We will sleep there overnight and wait for the removal van to arrival tomorrow.

Lets just hope the removal men turn up today or it might get a bit complicated.

Friday, 4 May 2012

4th May 2012

So last night we completed what Helen called phase one of the move. Well I feel like I am on phase 25 but enough of that. The first physical thing to move out of our property was the rabbits.

Our friend in Cheshunt had kindly offered to look after them for a few months until we are up in King's Lynn permanently. Over the past few weeks I have been trying to work out how to get the hutch there without having to dismantle it. The husband of the person looking after them works for a telecoms company and has a large van, so we asked but no good, his van is kitted out with equipment and racking. I tried my cousin, a builder, again no go, same situation. Who else had a van, my nephew, so we sorted dimensions and yes it would fit in. Great, until he came round one day and we measured up, the hutch would fit in the van no problem but it would not go through the door opening which was narrower.

So there was nothing for it other than to take the hutch apart. Once we started to do this, in the light drizzle of course, we soon realised that where they had been urinating and where the rain had got in, much of the hutch, which is only a year old, was falling apart. 

Trying quickly to dismantle it whilst the rabbits still wanted to play in it, I was getting quite annoyed. We did not have a lot of time as it was getting on for 6.30pm and we still had to rebuild it the other end. So we started loading the car up and noticed that the A10 was solid with traffic. Anyhow we continued to load it and then put the rabbits in the cardboard boxes which we had brought them home in last year. We closed the lids and put them in the kitchen, whilst we gathered up the chicken wire, straw, hay, food etc.

When we came back into the kitchen, Snowy was happily running around. She had chewed through the box and escaped. We could hear Lucy doing the same but not having as much like. We tapped the boxes up as best we could, quickly got into the car and went round the back way to try and avoid the traffic.

It was not too bad in the end and we got to Cheshunt in good time. Quickly we emptied the car and placed the rabbits in the garden still in the boxes. More and more chewing, they would get out soon and I think that put pressure on me to get the hutch  built. Could I do it, of course not. My rushing meant I started with the wrong bits, could not hold it steady and made it quite stressful. Not helped by Kirsty, and their two children, running around us, picking up tools and generally getting in the way. After trying nearly four times to put it together I had to resort to reading the instructions. We slowed down, followed the instructions and finally got it put together, with it still raining. We put the sawdust and other things in and put the rabbits back into their home.

We left them there and Kirsty was a little upset having to leave them. We let her stay up till 9pm and she went to bed and was asleep very quickly and with no fuss. I was shattered, as was Helen, but the first thing was out of the way.

At 10.30 we went to bed, I took my jeans off and found 4 screws in my pocket. Oops, I hope they were not important ones.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

2nd May 2012

All seems to be progressing nicely. Survey is booked in for Tuesday 8th May on the property we are buying. The boxes and packing materials turned up yesterday from the removal firm. Kirsty's bedroom is pretty much done now, Craig is sort of doing his but appears to have a problem understanding that things should be in 1 of 3 places. Either put out in the rubbish, in a box to go to his nans with him or in a box to be packed and sent to the rental house in King's Lynn. He is getting there though and come Saturday evening I hope his bedroom is ready, so that Sunday we can dismantle his bed.

Had a nightmare trying to set up phone and boradband at the rented house. When BT first checked they said there was no line there, and would need to send an engineer out. Previous tenants used Talk Talk, so I called them, they also said no line there but there deal was a bit better than BT. So I ordered the service and an engineer to come during our visit up there at half Term. Well I think I did, to be honest the person I was dealing with did not speak very good English. It actually took about half an hour to sort out because I just could not understand him.

Anyhow the email came through and the date the engineer was coming was shown as 15th May. So I rang him back and he said I would now have to talk to Customer Services. I did this and again got through to someone I could not understand. After 15 minutes she said we could cancel the order and start again as she could not amend the date, I had to go out at this point and said I would call back, she asked me to hold whilst she checked something. 5 minutes later she came back saying she could change the date, again her English was not very good and I was now running late and getting very frustrated that something so simple could not be done. In the end she said I needed to call back later, fuming I put the phone down and went out.

On my return I decided that Talk Talk were not for me. I had experience the customer service and it was not good, a quick google search found out that their customer service rating was not very good, not much use when you have a problem. So I rang again to cancel the order, got through to terminations, explained why I was not happy, the girl spoke perfect English and dealt with it very well. Got a cancellation number and an email to confirm.

I then phoned BT back to see if they could deal with the order and our requirements, this time the guy I spoke to said there were two proprties listed for the address our rented property is at. One was just number 60, this had never had a line, the other one was number 60 but had a house name, this had a phone line and was still connected. This was a result as it meant that no engineer was required to visit, which is diffcilt to organise when we will not acutally be living there. The service is due to start on 1st June, equipment will be delivered to my mums address, where we are staying, on 1st June and this is in good time for 2nd June when we plan to go up there for half term week.

Today I have been packing and wrapping up the pictures and photos. Decided to take photos out of frames and keep these with us at Mums, just in case someone breaks into the rented property, things like photos cannot be replaced. We have so many boxes now around the place, either packed, partially packed or flat packed waiting to be filled.

Tomorrow it is the rabbits turn to be packed up and moved, when we take them upto to their temporary home in Cheshunt, where a kind friend is going to look after them until we move up fully to King's Lynn in the Summer.

Monday, 30 April 2012

30th April 2012

The end of April and the end of what seemed like a very long month. We had a BBQ on Saturday for Craig and Helen's birthday. It never stopped raining, so I was outside under the Gazebo and everyone else was indoors. Still it was good. We then out for dinner yesterday to celebrate Craig's actual 16th Birthday.

Everything seems to be going OK at the moment, even the sun is out. We have done some packing and one wardrobe is dismantled. I have now run out of boxes which I have been picking up from around the streets when people throw them out. So far 59 have been filled, sealed and ready to go.

The removal company will be dropping off more tomorrow, along with some bubble wrap and tape. Helen and Kirsty have sorted out her room, so once boxes are here I can pack up stuff for Kirsty which is going into the rental property.

The rabbits are going to our friends on Thursday evening and then Saturday and Sunday will be spent packing up everything else and moving things over to mum and dads. We are not sure yet if the kids will be sleeping over there on Saturday night but certainly they will on Sunday evening. Helen and I will be here until Monday night, getting everything finished ready for the removal van to arrive on Tuesday 8th May 2012.

Next week will be very hectic and all over the place. We have to be up in King's Lynn Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday. Tuesday morning we have to get everyone over from my Mums and our current house, to get them to school and work and to meet the removal firm. Whilst in King's Lynn Mum and Dad will need to get Kirsty and Craig too and from school on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and afternoon.

After all that it should all settle down again but I think we are ready and everything is covered and sorted out.

Friday, 27 April 2012

27th April 2012

So this morning I wake to the news that the Unite union is recommending to its members not to accept the newest offer. The various members will now be balloted and the results of this ballot are due out 11th May 2012 with a final decision on strike action allowed upto 21st May 2012.

We are due to move 23rd May 2012 and so I now have a real headache. The solicitor confirms we have to complete on that day. We have no option the house must be emptied. The removal company keep saying there is no problem but how can they be sure. If they do not move me their terms cover them for liability based on third party actions.

So I have spent this morning considering our options. We could just carry on and hope that the members ignore their union and accept the deal, we could hope that even if they reject it more talks go ahead, we could even hope that if none of that happens the strike does not proceed until after we have moved. All of these options leave us with a big risk and there is no way of knowing what might happen.

The only thing we can do which would keep it within our control is to move out earlier. We are fortunate that we are moving into a rental property and that we have that from whenever we want. We have spoken to the landlady and paid our money so that is fine.

So I have looked at the dates, what Helen can do and how quickly we can pack up. I also spoke to the removal firm about what dates they had free. So now the move has all been changed and the plan is as follows.

Sat and Sun 5th and 6th May - Move everything we need to mum and dads. Pack up everything else ready for removals.
Tueday 8th May - Removal men come and empty the house.
Tuesday 8th May - Helen and I travel upto the rented property after work and meet the landlady, sign the forms and get the keys. We will stay overnight.
Wednesday 9th May - Removals travel up from London and unload into property. We travel back down that night.
Friday 25th May - completion takes place on the property.

As far as I can see it this is our only option. Yes there may end up not being a problem that week when we had planned to move but I just could not take the chance on it. So now it is busy busy busy getting everything sorted out. A few more weeks at Mum and Dad's than we were expecting but I think Dad is the only person to really mind that.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

26th April 2012

Great I now have somethng new to worry about. Following the new offer for the fuel tankers to consider it was announced that the deadline for a decision and possible strike action had been extended to 21st May 2012. That is the week we are due to move. Brilliant, so I had a sleepness night when I found that out considering what our options would be if there was no fuel for our removal truck to get our stuff upto Norfolk.

I phoned my removal company and they said that the last fuel strike had not impacted them at all and they did not forsee any problems. Well easy to say that but they of course cannot be sure and if there is no fuel available then there is no fuel. Anyhow I then thought my solicitor could advise and let me know of some provision for this action which would be out of my control.

No luck there either. Regardless of what happens we have to complete on 25th May and the property must be empty on that day. Sometimes you can agree with the buyer an extension but where there is a mortgage involved it is normally not done.

So we have to wait and see if they accept the offer, and if they don't what impact it has. At the moment I have no idea what we will do if the removal company cannot move us out. Our buyer should have no problem he has only a local move from about half a mile away to here.

I spent the rest of the day sorting out cancellation of services. Everytime I tried to do something on line there was an error, either the dates were no good, the new addresses caused a problem or it was simply to early to do the change. Anyhow by the end of the day and several phonecalls we have now done the council Tax, Virgin Media, ADT Alarm, Post Redirection. Thames Water cannot be done until next week.

House contents insurance took up a long time as well. Basically there was so many questions I could not answer regarding the rental property. Is it within 200 meters of a waterway, what locks are on the front door, patio door, back door. Do the windows have locks. Is there an alarm, smoke alarms, when was the property built. I have emailed these to the agent to find out. Anyhow I then had to declare that we would only be using the property at weekends, of course that put a different slant on things. Now the locks must conform the BS3621 and there are many other conditions which must be met, otherwise we would only be covered for fire and not theft of our goods. Not much point in having insurance if that is the case. All our valuable items will be with us so the risk is minimal, tv's, furniture etc but still we need to cover it. Lets wait to see what the agent comes back with, hopefully they conform to BS3621.

Skip is arrriving today, be nice to get rid of all the rubbish down the side and in the back garden.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

25th April 2012

At 12.40 yesterday we exchanged contracts. That is such a relief. I phoned the solicitors first thing in the morning as she had requested and she said she would contact the other side. At 11.30 she rang to say they were ready. She went through to confirm the contract and to see if we were OK accepting a smaller deposit. It was not much short so we said yes. Then it seemed like ages before she rang back to confirm.

I told Helen straight away and then breathed a sigh of relief. I have put myself through hell the past 8 weeks but to be honest it could not have gone much smoother.

I have contacted our rental company to say we would take on the rent starting 12th May and she is coming back to me on that. We can all go up and see around the rental home and also look at the house we are buying. I rang the the owner later in the afternoon to check if it was ok to do this. He said they were going on holiday a few days before but would leave a key with a neighbour who would be pleased to show us around. That was really nice.

He also said that his selling of the house was not dependant on him finding and completing on another one. Basically when we were ready he would be ready, whether that tide in with completion of a new property for him or if that meant him putting his stuff into storage and moving in with his son. That sounds really good, but as we are in no hurry it should all work out for the best anyway.

Things are now in our hands, which is the way I like it.

Monday, 23 April 2012

24th April 2012

So after dinner lst night Helen and I were both wondering if our buyer had gone into sign his contract or not. I of course still had my doubts but we would have to wait until the morning to find out.

Well actually we did not. Around 7pm I went out to Tescos with Kirsty to get some shopping, when I got back Helen told me that just after I left there was a knock at the door.

It was our buyer, he just wanted to check out the side access to our property, his solicitor could not help him so suggested to him that he knocked and asked. It seems he has signed his contract and his deposit is paid and so everything should be ready to exchange. He was happy with the date of Friday 25th May to complete and his both he and his wife said they were looking forward to moving in.

So hopefully soon we will exchange.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

23rd April 2012

Good weekend. For the first time I feel like we are actually moving. The call from our Estate Agent to our buyer on Friday demonstrated that there was no issue from his side and today he will be going to see his solicitor to sign his contract. I am hoping that the deposit is already transferred, he was going to take a cheque in but the Estate Agent advised him to do it by Bacs. Last night though I had one slight worry, not in terms of the sale going through but just another thing that might delay it a few days. I had received our paperwork from our solicitor for the purchase of our property and one of the notes on there was that you cannot exchange contracts until you have taken out Buildings Insurance on the property you are buying. Has our buyer sorted this out, has anyone reminder him of this. I wonder and I wish I knew this on Friday so I could have got the agent to remind him. Anyhow it might be OK, the solicitors have surely covered this with him as a requirement. I would hope so but do not bank on it.

Spent the weekend clearing out the rubbish from the shed and loft. Decided to get rid of all the wood I had collected over the years. I never throw off cuts away as they are always useful but now it just makes sense not to trasnport it around. Going to hire a skip as i have all had a good clear out of loads of other stuff which basically is just there in case we ever need it but in fact we never do.

Made a bit of a mistake on the finances. Nothing big in terms of a show stopper but big in terms of value. In my figures I had forgot to add the VAT onto the Estate Agents fee, so was £750 out and that is now taken off our money left over figure.

So maybe tomorrow or Wednesday we might have exchanged, there should be no reason not to, unless of course the buildings insurance is not covered.

Friday, 20 April 2012

20th April 2012 - additional

So we are very very close now to exchanging. The Estate Agent spoke to the buyer this afternoon. He has confirmed he is going into Solicitors on Monday with his wife to sign the contract. He was going to take a cheque in for the deposit but agent advised him to get hold of the solcitors bank details and pay by Bacs. He agreed with this and said he would get straight onto it.

He is happy with our proposed completion date of 25th May 2012 and had no problems with anything at all. That is really good news and if all goes well we could be exchanging some time next week, and then we can relax and be in control of everything again.

20th April 2012

Feeling much more positive today, well after all the sun is out and the rain we have had all this week seems to have past. I will fix that though, I have put the towels onto wash.

At around 5pm last night I got an unexpected call from our solicitor. She said that she had finally spoken to the other solicitors and the quote for the indemnity insurance is £193, which is fine and she also said that both parties had everything in place and it was now just down to our buyer to go in and sign. She did go onto say that the insurance did not actually need to be sorted out until completetion, I wish someone had mentioned this in my many calls to them this week. The thing which was bugging me was that I thought it had to be agreed and in place before the buyer went into to sign. Would have saved me a lot of stress and she did appologise.

So now it is just upto our buyer to get his act together. I spoke to our Estate Agent today and he said our buyer and ourselves are at the opposite end of the spectrum. He had never come across a buyer and seller so far apart in how they do things. He said we are proactive, efficient, (pain in the backside I think he meant) whereas our buyer lets things drift and leaves it to others to tell him when things are ready. This has been my problem but hopefully we are near the end now.

Today my Estate Agent is going to call the buyer and I have emailed him a list of things I want him to stress to him. These include confirming that he is going in on Monday to sign, to find out how and when he is going to transfer his deposit, make him aware that both he and his wife have to sign the contract, ask him what date he is looking at to complete based on the fact we want at least 4 weeks, but once we have that we will go with his date. We also asked them to point out to him that he needs to instruct his solicitor that he wants to exchange as quickly as possible now and remind him that he is paying them and not the other way round.

So I am hoping for a call back from the Agent later on today to find out how the conversation went. I hope he contacts him, it is difficult though being a teacher, he is unavailable for most of the day.

Anyhow I spoke to the Agent who we are buying the property from to give her an update, it seems though that the owner did not get the property they had wanted. That is a shame as I know they really wanted it but that is the good thing about us renting first, we have no problem with how long it takes to complete that purchase.

With regards to the rental, the Agent rang me this morning to confirm all checks had been done now and everything was OK, she is just waiting for me to give her a date for when we will start the rental, we have said either Saturday 5th May or 12th May 2012 but I need to exchange first before comitting to this. She was Ok with this and I told her I would ring next week.

So sit back and enjoy the weekend and pray that our buyer sorts things out and we can exchange sometime next week.