Week 120

3rd April, 2011

D-Day! I don’t know what the D stands for in this case but we have spent the day – after the Sunday papers – packing up our possessions ready for removal tomorrow. The removal men are arriving at 6.00 am on Monday morning. Pauline cleaned the oven ready for the hand-over and so we had to send for pizzas for tea.

Received an email from Jane:

I hope you have a lovely birthday. 60 should not pass unmarked so hope you have interesting plans. Travel safely and enjoy Greece.


and one from Ruth:

I enjoyed the cricket final India were the better side !Utd escaped once again ! Will miss you when youre away for six months…..where will you be on your birthday ??  Ruthie xxx

Went to bed at 9.00 pm and set the radio-alarm for 4.45 am. Just as well because (read on) ………..

4th April, 2011

The removal men arrived at 5.45 am. We had just showered, downed a cup of tea and dismantled the bed when the lorry pulled up outside. Our first thought was that it wouldn’t all fit into what looked like a glorified white van but, apparently, that is the most common concern and it all went in easily.

The van set straight off for Surrey and we thought that we had plenty of time to get there before it. We packed our car, went down to Sainsburys for sweets and petrol and then set off. At times we touched nearly double the speed limit which you’ll be aware is only advisory and there more as a challenge than to be adhered to. Occasionally, we say to each other, “I wonder how far back the van is now?” and laugh. Suddenly, after 150 miles, we found ourselves overtaking the removal van. We couldn’t believe it. After four hours,we did just arrive at the apartment ahead of them but only just. They downed a mug of coffee, emptied the van, downed another mug of coffee and set off back to Huddersfield.

We slumped, shattered and read the paper.

Received an email from Caroline:

Dear John

Many happy returns for your 60th on Wednesday 6th, I am not sure where or what you will doing for your birthday so I thought I would send this now. I am sure you will be enjoying a gorgeous meal and wine and celebrating this milestone. It is hard to believe that you are 60, retired and moving to the south.

I am down 3 and half stone since I got diagnosed type 2 diabetic last August and a tea totaller now. The attached picture is me and Barney Rubble wishing you a happy birthday from the river at the bottom of our garden, Les was taking the photo but says happy birthday too.

Good luck in your new home in the south.
Love Cal x

5th April, 2011

Today, we woke up to lovely sunshine in Surrey and, after a cup of tea, we nipped down to our new apartment before setting off once again for Huddersfield. The site team had warned us of delays on the M25 but our sat. nav. soon flashed up that there was a complete ‘blockage’ of the M25 and that there was already a tailback of 6 miles. Our sat. nav. offered us a detour which we took and found ourselves driving past Heathrow Airport. It was an interesting detour but we soon got on to the M1 which was fabulously bereft of traffic. It was almost as if, deus ex machina, some one had hoovered up all the traffic and given us a 1960’s motorway.

We were back in our shoe box by lunchtime and hoovering, repainting the walls, etc. My job was to clean the windows but, when we got there, a professional team of cleaners were cleaning the windows. Apparently, it was all part of the service charge which we didn’t pay. This was the first time the windows had been cleaned in five months.

When we were really tired we went off to our hotel – Premier Inn, Brighouse – which is quite delightful and has a nice restaurant attached. We have a lovely room for three nights.


6th April, 2011

Today I have reached a milestone I never thought would happen. I always believed I had Dad’s genes and that I would die young. Of course, I may well still do so but I have managed to reach 60 years old. Every time I drive past Junction 28 on the M1, I shout, ‘Hello Mum’. Now I can salute Dad with my achievement of three score years. My next target is the extra ten. It is the most glorious day reaching nearly 70F with lots of Spring sunshine. Pauline & I are celebrating my birthday with a pork pie and bottle of wine picnic. Tomorrow we will take friends out to Dinner. Tonight it is Chelsea – Man. U.

Couldn’t have had a better birthday present than United’s destruction of Chelsea. I thought Torres showed himself for what he really is. He couldn’t even dive convincingly.


7th April, 2011

Today  we have to post our parcels to Greece. They collectively weigh about 80 kgs.


Parcelforce will charge us about £200.00 and have them in the Post Office in Sifnos a couple of days before we get there.


After going to the Post Office, we had underweighed our parcels on the bathroom scales by a total of 20kgs but because we are regular customers – this is our eleventh year – they found a really cheap consignment deal which still only cost £200.00. The boxes will get to Sifnos next Wednesday.

After the Post Office, we went on to Santander to buy our next ISAs. We bought our full cash allowance – 2 x £5340.00. It makes us feel righteous by salting some capital away. It was amazing how many people were buying ISAs. Santander were finding it difficult to keep up.

After Santander, we went down to say goodbye for the final time to our old next door neighbour, Jean. That was lovely in the scorching, hot sun and we drove back feeling good to our hotel.

After a shower and a cup of tea, we went out to Ciao Bella to meet our old friends, Viv and Margaret. We had a wonderful meal of Italian salad, Bresola and Bruschetta as a starter followed by Chicken and steak with various salads. Over three bottles of wine, our memories and conversations were emotional. We vowed to meet again at our house in Greece. We drove back to our hotel for our final night in Yorkshire.

8th April, 2011

This morning we drove down to the Letting Agents, Martin & Co. We were supposed to be having a review of the shoebox prior to getting our deposit back but they contacted us to say that we were such good tenants, a review would not be necessary. We drove down to give back the keys. We retrieved our deposit on the web from The Deposit Protection Scheme.

Today is like mid summer – hot, clear blue skies – and seems wholly appropriate for the first day of the next stage of our lives, as Pauline said. We go back to our Hotel room to pack up and leave for Surrey. The motorway is quite busy today and aggressive. The bright light seems to be sending drivers bonkers. Even so, we arrive in West Byfleet in three and a half hours. It has been a stressful and quite emotional few days. We are both shattered. After a cup of tea, we set about our final arrangements before leaving for Greece. We contacted British Gas to pay our final gas & electricity bills for the shoebox. Pauline had forward accounted £450.00 based on our previous house’s experience. It actually came to £120.00. Every time we go to Greece, we forewarn Mastercard and Visa so they don’t get suspicious about our spending. We also had to inform them of our change of address.

9th April, 2011

Three years ago today, we set off for Manchester Airport and got caught in a blizzard. Cars were skidding off the M62 and crashing into the embankments all around. It was actually terrifying particularly because we had set off with Greek sun in our minds. Needless to say, we did get to the airport and flew off to the sun but what a contrast. Today is scorching sun and clear blue skies in Surrey. 73F is predicted and, by 8.00 this morning, Brighton beach was packed with sun lovers as the BBC illustrated.


We are dropping some final things off at our new apartment, having the car cleaned, filling the tank and preparing for the off. Instead of driving from Surrey at 4.00 in the morning, we’ve booked a room at the Travelodge which is 15 minutes from the Tunnel and will allow us at least another hour in bed.

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