Moving is listed as one of the most stressful life situations along with the death of a loved one, divorce, losing your job and ill health. The stress-notch is turned up a few degrees when you’re due to move during a pandemic.
Back in September last year, I found a beautiful stillness in north Wales. I fell in love with the area and knew it would be a perfect place for myself and family to live. My husband and daughter agreed so we began to put the idea into motion.
In December, on Friday 13th, we put our home on the market and within 10 days, we had received an offer. It was a rollercoaster of events. Our initial buyer was slow to get the mortgage sorted out and another buyer came along. We had an offer accepted on a house only for the seller to decided not to sell.
Strangely, the house that I first ‘saved’ on Rightmove is the house we bought. It was our second choice when the first fell through but really, I think it was waiting for us all along. It’s a Victorian terrace and the previous owner was an holistic therapist. She even had a broomstick in the fireplace (mine has now replaced hers).
Things settled when we had the right buyer and wewere buying the right house.
But then coronavirus happened.
Everything went very quiet until a suggested completion date of 23rd March was given. It gave us less than 2 weeks to exchange and complete. Things went quieter still.
I could feel the pressure mounting as the government instilled social distancing measures. It was only a matter of time until further restrictions were put in place. I could feel the window of opportunity closing day by day. I barely slept and I felt as if I were fuelled by adrenalin alone.
We carried on packing but I didn’t make any other arrangements because without exchanging contracts, nothing is legally binding. To be honest, I doubted we would move. Each day brought no information from the solicitor but plenty of news relating to coronavirus.
I didn’t hear anything from my solicitor until Friday afternoon. Was I ready to exchange and move on the Monday?
Finally, it happened.
Last Saturday I hired a van. We finished packing, loaded up the van and cleaned the house in two days. Early on Monday morning, I dropped the keys at the estate agents and we headed to Wales.
It was a 270-mile drive on motorways that service some of the busiest cities in the UK. Without school run traffic (it was the first day the schools closed) and less people travelling, it was eerily quiet on the roads. I’d packed sandwiches for our journey because apart from petrol stations, there was no place to get anything to eat. No coffee shops. No restaurants.
I officially sold my house on Monday midday and bought our new home at 2pm.
Ten hours later, the UK would be on lockdown.
It wasn’t the arrival I had hoped. I misjudged parking the van and scrapped a new neighbour’s car. Not the best way to meet your fellow residents. The owner was lovely though but I was so stressed and tired. I wanted to find a dark corner and cry.
But the van needed unpacking.
So, we unloaded everything from the van, filling the dining room with boxes.
Then we found a Chinese takeaway and sat on the floor in the living room, eating vegetable chow mein.
It was after dinner that I learnt about lockdown.
I had a rental van to return the next day.
I had no furniture, no mattress, no washing machine, no fridge, no freezer and no broadband.
But we’d made it to Wales.
We’d done it.
By the skin of our teeth.
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