28th March, 2011
Another gorgeous day. This time next week, we move house. Two weeks today we set off for Greece. Up early and out into town. We had to visit three banks: Lloyds TSB, Barclays and Natwest. Lloyds TSB was a scruffy and depressing old building but we were served by delightful people who took the utmost care. Barclays was pedantic, slow, awkward and annoying. Natwest was excellent and extremely efficient. All we wanted each bank to do was send a sum of money to our solicitor using CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) and another to our own account using BACS (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services). Should be simple but turned out to send Bank people into a complete panic. Moving £100,000.00 blocks of money terrified them. I thought they would be doing it all every day. They do work in a bank!
The money has gone to our Solicitor’s Client Account and will be exchanged on Thursday at 1.00 pm as we get our keys. We have never met our solicitor and almost certainly never will because they are in Portsmouth. Their name doesn’t exactly inspire confidence because they are called Coffin Mew LLB but you can’t have everything.
29th March, 2011
We took the car for a pre-Greek Trip check. Being such good customers, it is always free. I doubt that will pertain when we move south. We said goodbye to the staff from who we’ve bought a new car almost every year for twenty five years.
A second round with the banks this morning. Today we transferred all the interest out of the temporary accounts. Interestingly, £100,000.00 in a bog standard, instant access, deposit account for nine months in Lloyds TSB returned £900.00 in interest. The same amount for the same time in Barclays only returned £680.00 and in Nat. West, only £720.00. The Barclays & Lloyds accounts were purely temporary until we bought a new property. We closed them completely today. The Nat. West account was first opened by Pauline in 1968. Currently our private adviser/account manager is a lad I taught and who left our school some twenty years ago. Whenever we have wanted a facility, Nat West have always complied. We are reluctant to leave but there is no point in having an account based in Oldham. When we return in October, we will have to address that. In just the same way, our wills are deposited with our Huddersfield solicitors. Bob has a copy. Pauline’s niece has a copy. The Huddersfield ones will have to be moved.
Went for our final trip to the Health Club, had a lovely swim, jacuzzi and steam room session and then spent the afternoon contacting all sorts of organisations from investment firms to service suppliers to inform them of our change of address.
30th March, 2011
Up early because we are driving to Surrey. Tomorrow is ‘Exchange’ day. After weeks of warm, dry, sunny weather, today is dull and damp and heavy rain is forecast. The M1 was quiet and the journey uneventful. We did it in 4hrs which is as good as it gets. The weather was warm and sunny until we reached the M25 when the rain came. After a sandwich with Phyllis & Colin, we went down to our development. It looked good and we will be happy to get the keys tomorrow. We drove back to West Byfleet in high spirits until we got caught in a bit of a traffic jam. We had been parked there for a couple of minutes when – Bang – a sharp shove from behind rocked us forward. An Asian lad had lost concentration and run in to the back of us. Pauline & I looked at each other and both of us thought – Oh No! We’re driving to Greece in ten days. – as we jumped out of the car. On the basis of the noise and movement, we expected to see major damage to the car. Miraculously, there wasn’t even a scintilla of a scratch. The plastic bumper had absorbed the impact but sustained no damage even to its paint finish. We could not believe it. For some time, we continued to stare at, feel, stare at, feel the bumper until we could do it no longer. We’d had a lucky escape in our almost brand new car.
We decided to go out for an early dinner at a local Italian Restaurant – Ponte Vecchio – in West Byfleet. It is a delightfully informal trattoria.
31st March, 2011
Off to our Development to get the keys today. First we have a ‘Familiarisation Meeting’ to teach us how to live in an apartment. After we have the keys, we will need to check that all the white goods are working properly, that the toilets and showers and the heating is working properly. Most people will have another check after living in their apartment for a month. Unfortunately, the burglar alarm has not yet been fitted and that is crucial.
The keys were handed over at 1.00 pm as the solicitor phoned me to say the money had been paid. The burglar alarm man turned up and we now know it will be fitted before we leave for Greece. We spent the afternoon trying out the taps, sockets, showers, oven, fridge-freezer, lights, etc. We have to write a snagging list. We parked our car in the underground car park and checked out the huge store cupboard we can store our wine in.
1st April, 2011
These photos show the development and the second one outlines our property. Underneath the building is the car park where we have a specific parking bay and a large, secure storage area.
The blind lady called at 12.00 pm to fit the blinds and we left to drive back to Yorkshire at 2.30 pm. Friday afternoon is not a good time on the M1 and there were a number of accidents and hold-ups but we got back by 6.30 pm and finished a tiring day with a Chinese takaway – the first for months.
2nd April, 2011
Got up this morning and thought, with some trepidation, about the bumpy fortnight we’ve got ahead. It starts in the shoe box in Huddersfield – getting our chattels ready for the Removers by 6.00 am on Monday and ends two weeks today as we drive up to our house on Sifnos. In between, we will drive up and down the M1 three times, drive the length of Europe, stay in five hotels, sail down the Adriatic, drive across the Peloponnese and sail across the Aegean. Exciting but tiring. We finished off the four boxes being posted to Greece and began to plan for the removal.