Our last post was written less than two weeks ago, about what to take and what to leave. It was a huge deal back then, but that already seems a very long time ago!
Our last week at home was hectic. Having spent the weekend with family, the countdown to our Friday night departure was on. On the Monday we had to have 98% of our stuff in storage by the end of the day and although we’d probably already stored, recycled or thrown away 70% of it, that final 28% was the most difficult. We decided to hire a van for the day (see previous post about needing a back-up fund for your back-up fund for a project like this) and spent the morning running between the storage unit, the recycling centre and B&Q to buy more stackable plastic boxes. We’re now the proud keyholders of the Devizes branch of Zelf’s best-packed container. For best-packed, read rammed full. But there were still boxes in the house, so we spent the afternoon shuttling back and forth to kind friends who’ve let us put those boxes in their barn. We got the van back to the depot with three minutes to spare.
Tuesday was a bit odd. The only stuff we had in the house was either packed for the trip, needed until the last minute (bedding and towels) or old and going to be chucked before we set off, so we defrosted the freezer then met up with friends for lunch and twiddled our thumbs for the rest of the day. With the TV and wifi router both in storage, we had a pizza for supper before turning the Aga off in preparation for cleaning and had an early night.
Wednesday was mental! Sheets off the bed and into the washing machine first thing, closely followed by towels. Tumble drier on overdrive so we could get these last things over to the barn. The Aga cleaning man came just before 9am and needed three hours to do his thing. (Top job done by Nick Moon, in case you need yours done.) The cleaners came at 9.30 and needed five hours to do their stuff before the carpet cleaning guys arrived at 2pm. As everyone worked, we edged ourselves out so that by early afternoon we were sitting in the garden waiting for the last bits of linen to dry as the house started to gleam and we couldn’t go back in and mess it up. To try and speed things up, Chris took the final load of drying round to the friends we were staying with for the last couple of nights to use their drier. No drier at their house. Round to next friend – their drier was on the blink. Third time lucky – drying done and Chris returned with it, plus a freshly made scone with jam and cream! We’ve loved our village community from the time we moved in, but we’ve never been more grateful to all the super people we know than that week. Final trip to the barn, wave goodbye to the house, then move in with friends up the road. (Still reading?! We’re writing this on the long flight from Singapore to Sydney and trying to stay awake, so have loads of time to write!)
Thursday was calmer. Karen set off to get the car valeted and got a final gym class in while it was being done. Chris walked back to the house to meet the inventory person and hand over the keys. We met at the place we’re storing the car and left it parked under cover with the doors open so the carpets could dry overnight (battery disconnected!), then went back to our temporary home and spent the afternoon doing final bits of admin like cancelling the car insurance (fee applicable – refer back to back-up fund, above), closing bank accounts and cancelling repeat prescriptions with the pharmacy. How that got missed off the Big Trip To Do List we don’t know, but we caught it just in time. A final check through the list that we’d been working on for the last six months or so showed that we seemed to have done everything! Time to relax over dinner with friends, kindly provided by our hosts.
Friday! An early morning powerwalk for Karen, and last-minute admin checks for Chris. Brunch, a trip back to the car to close the doors and put the cover on, final phone calls to the family, then off to the airport. We got our luggage out of the car and on to a trolley, said our goodbyes and marched confidently into the terminal. This was it – we were doing it! Years of talk and planning were coming to fruition. We were being brave but not stupid. Yesssss!
All went well until we decided to do self-bag drop. Within minutes we had a broken luggage strap, several kilos more than the bathroom scales had shown (and our baggage allowance permitted), and stuff all over the floor. Rescued by a very kind lady from BA, we headed for the bar and stayed there until it was time to board our overnight flight to New Delhi.
What a week! But writing this just over another week further on, it all seems a very long time ago already. The to-do list has been done, all our stuff is in storage, our tenant has moved in, and we’ve overpacked our bags but are past caring. We’re on to thinking about the next major step of buying a motorhome and getting on the road. Having said that, we’ve just had a great week in India which has given us a chance to unwind and take our minds off things for a few days. If you’re following us on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have seen that we stayed with friends in New Delhi and were afforded more great hospitality from them, as well as spending a couple of nights in both Agra and Jaipur. There were too many highlights to mention but images of India that we’ll carry with us are of awe-inspiring temples, forts and palaces; bright colours; ceaseless noise and activity; crazy traffic (which is terrifying at first and appears to work on a ‘the rules are that there are no rules’ basis, but when you observe it for a while actually has a logic all of its own that is very effective. See video below for a brief taster!), spicy dishes at all meals, and delicious breads.
We’ll be starting our descent into Sydney shortly and will be staying there for a week before flying on to Brisbane for the Commonwealth Games. There will be plenty more to report before that stage of the adventure is over, but if you’re still reading, here are some lessons we learned in that last week at home which might be useful if you were to plan a trip like ours …
- You’ll never have enough boxes. We’d been donated loads by friends who had recently moved, but still …
- Be thankful for friends. We could not have managed the final week at home, or our week in India, without friends’ generosity with storage, accommodation, lifts here and there (including to the airport), food, tumble driers and willingness to calm our nerves. And even Crème de Menthe!
- Don’t pack the kettle or the wifi router until the very last minute unless you can live without coffee and have large amounts of data on your phone plan. 🙄
- Have a bottle of squash (and a glass) so you can at least offer a drink to anyone who comes in to clean or provide another service. See previous point as to why there’s no chance they’ll get a hot drink.
- Think carefully about what you need for the last few days. We kept some old clothes out for running about it, and some exercise gear, all of which we put in the recycling bin on Friday. We have left our shoes, a couple of items of clothing and the hoover in the car boot, however!
- If you advertise stuff on Facebook Marketplace, expect to be messed about several times on some items, even if you’re giving them away.
- You will have missed something off your to-do list. Hope that you have remembered it by the time you set off. Karen remembered one thing when it was too late. Find out what it was at the bottom of the post!
- If you’re leaving your car in storage, there are a surprising number of things you might want to do before you wave it goodbye. We used this checklist from the AA, and ref bullet point 2, are grateful to Graeme for all his help with the car.
- You’ll end up having to make last-minute cuts to luggage. The games compendium and a favourite pair of shoes got ditched from Karen’s bag before we left home and we left a pair of Crocs, some toiletries and a book in India (but still seemed to leave with more than we’d arrived with).
The thing Karen forgot to do? Having agreed with the tenant that we’d turn the freezer back on after defrosting and cleaning, that got overlooked. Tut!