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We still have too much stuff!

August 17, 2013

It’s getting a bit busy around here – trying to find a UK registered (or just RHD) car to exchange for our Peugeot, contacting specialist shipping companies to complete the formalities for the shotgun and working out how to sell the lawn mower and still get the grass cut! I am still amazed at the number of people who do not respond when sent messages, if nothing else it’s just plain rude.

We have also started internet house-hunting for a rental property close to our friend in South Wales – and then one popped up which looked promising. Our friend immediately drove round there (it’s about a mile) and checked out the neighbourhood etc. It turned out to be very suspect – leaking garage with a rotten door, dangerous fence above a drop to next door and a very uncooperative estate agent.

It is proving to be impossible to open a bank account in the UK without being physically there – friends’ bank manager didn’t really want to know. Calls to a couple of UK banks would let us open an offshore account – minimum deposit £5000, regular pay cheques of substantial amounts and they will only charge us £10 per month for the privilege of us lending them our money! How this stops money laundering is beyond me. However, our French bank has provided a sterling account which will help for some things, just can’t have a cheque book but will be able to transfer money and have a debit card.

After several discussions over several weeks involving UK customs and police, French customs, shooting grounds in the UK, specialist gun shippers and reading stacks of rules and regulations I was ready to give up and sell the shotgun in France. Then I chanced on a document listing some more gun shipment experts so I called one who said “no problem, we have a French guy who will courier it for you, no forms needed”. I spoke to him and he quoted me €320 + VAT and said he needed the name of the registered gun dealer in the UK to receive it. I found one close to where we are going and they agreed to receive it but then asked how I was shipping it. They laughed and told me to stop wasting money, just call FedEx and ask them. I called FedEx in France – English language section – and they said no problem, no forms needed, we’ll come and get it. They did, cost €110 and it arrived in the UK two days later, no hassle, no customs, no paperwork, nothing. Sometimes it just pays to be persistent and keep searching.

We had a new response to the car-swap ad – man had a BMW X5 about 10 years old but it had 195,000 miles on it. Anyway on Sunday we drove there to look at it and what a disaster! Apart from dealing with someone who wouldn’t provide directions and whose address does not appear on the sat nav or Google Maps; the car was falling to bits and was filthy dirty. The guys’ house (and himself) wasn’t much better and we found ourselves asking the age-old question “would you buy a used car from this man?” The answer was a resounding NO! The journey was no fun either, sometimes our sat nav insists on taking short cuts and we ended up driving miles on narrow country roads. Needless to say I’d cleaned the car and removed all excess stuff from it – like maps! I must remember the golden rule of sat navs – double check the route.  Anyway, we have now decided not to change the car before we move, I have at least two interested dealers in the UK so we’ll use it to move, sell it to the LHD specialist dealer and buy something else when we get there.

I’m sure that cross country journey contributed to further problems with my internals and (having forgotten to renew my sleep aids) I spent two totally sleepless nights in some pain. A call to the doctor first thing Monday got me an afternoon appointment when he reviewed the “echo-graphie”, gave me another examination and, taking the other doctors notes and advice, he recommended a colonoscopy. Oh Great!  Anyway, apparently it isn’t much of a drama and I have to see the specialist first and he made the initial consultation appointment for the 23rd of August. So it clearly isn’t an urgent issue. I got my meds renewed plus a new one to assist with digestion and it appears to be helpful. I slept like a log on Monday night 🙂

On Tuesday we received notice that the grace period on the buyers has expired, they have paid their deposit and barring any last-minute disasters the house is sold. I spent an hour or so removing all our ads and contacting all the agents to remove theirs – we are required to by law as we cannot offer the house for sale to anyone else. Now we are starting to get moving quotes and doing more house research in Swansea.

The house searching business can be somewhat frustrating especially when doing it by remote control; our friend in Swansea is doing an amazing job in helping us out. Another house for rent appeared courtesy of Rightmove and again it was quickly investigated. It was acceptable even if the décor was not to everyone’s taste and our friend did a great job taking pictures and drawing a floor plan. We came up with about a dozen more questions so she called to book another viewing and maybe start negotiations. It was sold! Rats, several days planning and dreaming down the drain. It was a good experience though and at least two others have appeared in the last day.

The organising and packing is going well – this week we sorted out all the kitchen utensils and packed and inventoried all that we won’t need for a while (if ever!). This has cleared space in the kitchen cupboard so now we can sort all the utility room stuff, cleaning materials and the like. Why does anybody need four dustpan and brush sets? Next the gardening tools and then the workshop stuff. Ah well, downsizing is fun!

The weather has been cooperative this past week and we have had the BBQ going, bit let down by the quality of a couple of steaks I bought – very tough and chewy with very little flavour. Then it rained on Friday and is forecast for Saturday as well. It also serves me right for bragging about the age of the patio furniture – one evening the chair arm gave way as it had completely rotted around the hinge pin. I did wire it up in a Heath Robinson way but it didn’t last, so on Saturday I made a new arm. In the process I needed a new pin for the hinge bit and I went searching for the collection of nuts and bolts I have stored over the years. OMG! The stuff that is in there is a joke, most of it hasn’t been opened in 25 years and is all in little tobacco tins collected by my father and father-in-law. This is going to be sorted before we move, the box weighs a ton and a lot of it is pure scrap metal.

Just settling down for a rest on Saturday afternoon when we had a visitor – none other than the original owner of the house who had it built in 1974. I think she was quite impressed with how it had turned out, and we learned that the kitchen cabinets, tile etc were the 1974 originals. Small world!



David & June

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2013 15:53

    Hi – Brian gave me this site for you. Maybe it will be helpful.
    Good luck with the rest of it…;)

  2. August 18, 2013 22:54

    What can I say other than good luck and goodbye, really rather gutted for you about the snooker table, when we moved to France, we didn’t bring anything other than what we could fit into the car and roof rack, so are now having the fun of restocking all furniture, biggest tip is be very harsh, it’s really quite amazing what you DON’T miss 🙂

    • August 19, 2013 09:08

      Thanks Jenny – yes the table was a bit of a wrench but it had to go. We’ll be around for a month or two and chance to get rid of more junk, surplus stuff etc.

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