3a + 14 = 45

Modem on my desk

Well, I’m clearly not blogging from my main PC this evening. My desk is now bare, apart from my BT Voyager modem (CLEARLY my WiFi modem is going to be one of the final things to be packed!). So I’m in bed on my laptop making a final blog post from 3a.

Tomorrow morning Jane and I rent our first (of two) vans for part one of the move. On Saturday we have a team of 14 helping us with part two of the move from 3a to number 45, hence the equation for a title. (Neil will be so proud of my blog title!)

I look forward to blogging from our new house very soon.

We own a house!

Man slumped on desk, sleeping, with cup of coffee nearby.

This morning I felt a bit like the chap in the photograph. Having woken around 04:30 and listened to the US mid-term elections for a while on the BBC World Service I fell soundly asleep once again only to be rudely awoken by Jane, nudging me and saying “Gareth! It’s 08:15!” Just goes to show that this packing-up-a-house business is tiring work.

However, this afternoon Jane and I sat in our solicitor’s office in St Andrews and signed the final piece of paperwork which means that at last our new house is finally ours! Hoorah and praise the Lord! Jane picks up the keys in Anstruther this afternoon.

This last week has been emotionally tiring as we’ve charted the progress of the transaction, being told one day that it might not complete in time to being told the next not to worry and everything is on track. And then picking up an unpaid-for item of mail from the sorting office to discover that it was a vital form that needed signed and returned two days previously! And then the house deeds didn’t come through until Monday, and they usually need about a week to process.

Yesterday we were convinced that we wouldn’t get the keys until Thursday rather than today. So imagine our delight when the solicitor confirmed this morning that everything has gone through okay and we’d won a house! A big hand to Pagan Osborne and The Royal Bank of Scotland who’ve pulled out all the stops to get us our house on time: thank you.

And a big hand to God too, who has led us each and every step of the way. It’s been incredible seeing everything unfolding gradually and in the right order. One of our concerns was that we’d not be able to get out of the lease (which we can’t unless someone else rents the house). This past week I’ve showed the house to three parties and there has certainly been some interest from each of them. That in itself is an enormous answer to prayer.

So expect some photographs from inside the house on this blog soon. We start moving our belongings in on Friday, but the Big Move™ will be on Saturday when to celebrate my 35th birthday we have invited 14 friends and family over to help us move. You’ve heard of a progressive supper, well this will be a progressive party. I’m looking forward to it already.

The packing has begun

A corridor of boxes

This is the bit that I’ve been dreading: the full scale packing has begun. For the next three weeks we’re going to be living with boxes. Boxes of belongings where there was once just belongings.

The house is slowly but surely turning into a store house for boxes. Boxes, boxes everywhere and not a box room in which to dump them.

I can’t stand disorder — why do you think I began an information architect? Why do you think that I unpacked all our books, videos and DVDs? It wasn’t just to save space, it was to save my sanity too! 😉

The beginning of the end at Kadesh

The kitchen at Kadesh, empty.
The kitchen at Kadesh, now finally empty.

This has been a good weekend for support and help from friends, and thanks to them Kadesh is now empty and ready for a new boiler (next week) and handover (the following week).

Last week as I began to dismantle the furniture at Kadesh Jane packed up the crockery and kitchenware. Yesterday (Saturday) we moved most of our belongings out of Kadesh with the help of our good friend and neighbour Yvonne into an empty room in our other lovely neighbours Iain and Lisa’s house.

The final item of furniture — a large Ikea unit (from the Magiker range, thanks for asking) — was moved with the kind help of another friend, Roger, after I’d cheekily e-mailed him and invited him to a Moving House Party next month! Roger kindly phoned back to say that he’d be away then but would be in Fife that very day so if we needed a hand he’d gladly pop by on his return to West Lothian. We did and so he arrived in the early evening to give us a hand. (Thanks Roger!)

Today we moved the last few boxes and the fridge (with more muscle-power from next-door neighbour Ian), and I broke my little trolley when we moved the washing machine out. Now our entrance hall is packed with … stuff.

Full hallway
A less-than-empty entrance hall in our rental property.

Jane and I returned to the living room in the rental property and slumped down on the sofa, surrounded by boxes, pictures, paintings and the four doors from the Magiker unit, feeling a strange combination of elation that we’d cleared the house in record time mixed with sadness that we’re saying goodbye to such a lovely property.

Kadesh was the right place for us at the time. It really has been a blessing — a holy place, set apart — for not only us but others too, both friends and strangers. I said to Jane this evening that I was glad that we had the opportunity to share this house with others. When we bought the property in 2004 we were the only people interested in it, the only people to put in an offer and we got it for bang-on what we were advised it was worth. It very much felt like a gift from God. Much the same has happened with the property into which we are moving early next month. What a blessing.

I’m excited to be moving on, even if the next four weeks will feel like our lives are on hold. Every other move has been been at the end of a job, the end of a chapter in our lives. This move is different: neither of us has changed jobs, life goes on, we’re just relocating.