Friday, 19 July 2013

Farewell Stonestack

The end of another busy day, and we have now said farewell to Stonestack. I wonder whether we will ever live there again?

It has been a long, hot and exhausting day clearing out our remaining belongings and making sure the house is left in a reasonable state for our new tenants. We had some help from a professional cleaning company but there was still plenty for us to do.

I managed to have one last fire (am I becoming a pyromaniac!?), and the day ended with a skip arriving which we filled up within 15 minutes and sent it on its way.

After some final tidying up, we packed our remaining stuff into the car and then took a few minutes to have a look round the empty house, which we have never actually seen in that state before, having moved in before it was all finished.

It was then time for us to head over to Jo's parents in Ainsdale, where we are spending the night prior to heading off on holiday tomorrow.

The last couple of weeks have been hard work at times, and it was sad to leave Stonestack, but I think we can be proud of what we created there, and we can now turn the page to a new chapter of our Arabian Adventure.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Preparing to Leave Stonestack

Not too much to report today. We've started the final tidying up of Stonestack, ahead of a team coming in tomorrow to give it a thorough clean. I've also dismantled the trampoline ready for storing in the garage, and given the lawn one last mow. We've come across one or two small items that should have gone in the container, but nothing we can't do without. Tomorrow we do the final sorting out, meet with a representative of the letting agent, and when Henry gets home from school we will head over to Jo's parents, where we will stay the night before heading off to Florida on holiday. It's all go!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Will They Have Sand in Abu Dhabi?

Well, it was all much smoother than we were expecting. By 3pm this afternoon our container was on its way to Abu Dhabi, and everything we hoped would be in there had been accommodated.

The packing team arrived just after 9am this morning to finish the rest of the packing, and to start labelling all the boxes and summarising their contents. Each box has to be individually numbered, and its contents recorded on the shipping schedule ready for perusal by customs.

At 1pm the container arrived, and following some skilful reversing managed to back up the driveway without destroying too many trees.

We were quietly nervous that not everything would fit, but the packers seemed relaxed and proceeded to demonstrate their skill in making maximum use of the space that was available to them. Our essential possessions took up 97 boxes, but in the end we managed to get a number of our reserve items in as well, making a total of 115 boxes (goodness knows what is in them all!).

Once it became clear we were going to get some of our reserve items in, Jo decided to clean the barbecue, just in case there was room for it. This resulted in one of her classic lines, as she emptied the drip tray of its layer of sand, "do you think we'll be able to get some new sand in Abu Dhabi?". I politely reassured her that I didn't think this would be an issue! In the end the barbecue didn't make it anyway, so we don't need to worry.

It only took a couple of hours to load all of the boxes, so shortly after 3pm we were able to observe the locking of the container with the official seal, not to be opened again until it reaches Abu Dhabi. The truck driver had a minor panic at that point, because when they shut the container doors it trapped a few stray branches from a nearby tree, so he was concerned that customs may be concerned that we were importing something dodgy! Anyway, the debris was soon cleared so I don't think we need to worry about that.

It was then time to bid farewell to the container, with our fingers crossed that we will see the container again in six or seven weeks many miles away. Before he left, the driver reminded us that we are able to track the progress of the container ship on the Internet. Jo's comment (sorry Jo) at this point was "so is that like we can track Father Christmas?" (as we have for the last couple of years using the (fictitious) NORAD website). I said it was similar, although in this case our container ship really does exist!

We then spoke nicely to the packing team, who have been fantastic over the last couple of days, and they were happy (once we had made it worth their while) to move some of our surplus furniture from the house to upstairs in the garage where we are going to store it.

It's strange seeing the house almost empty, we've not seen it like this since the building work finished as we moved in before it got to this point. There is still some final sorting out to be done, but that is a job for tomorrow and Thursday.

Since the container left we have only found two items that we forgot to pack; an ironing board and a remote control for the TV, so I don't think we've done too badly.

The other piece of good news today was that I have now received my entry permit for Abu Dhabi (thank goodness!), which allows me to enter the country in August and start the process of applying for my full visa.

Time to relax now, so I shall leave you with a snippet of our container disappearing.....


Monday, 15 July 2013

All Wrapped Up

Finally sat down after a long day with the packers, followed by a well earned Chinese. A team of three arrived just after 9am this morning and set about their work with gusto. Everything seems to have gone smoothly, the only minor hiccup being that the dining room table wouldn't close up completely once the extra leaves had been removed, as it seems to have expanded in the heat. We've just left one leaf in so it's no problem really.

Everything, bar some final bits in the kitchen, is now wrapped up ready to go into the container when it arrives around 9am tomorrow. It is hard to imagine that everything is going to fit in a 20 foot container, although the chaps from the removal company seem pretty relaxed. I'm fairly sure that very little of our lengthy reserve list is going to find a space though.

Right, tomorrow is going to be another long day so it's time for a couple of soaps and then an early night. The only problem seems to be that I haven't left any pyjamas out, or any clean clothes for tomorrow, which is a little unfortunate.


Sunday, 14 July 2013

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Not much new to report today. More sorting out and packing, and we've finally cleared one or two rooms completely. There's still lots to do, but I think the removal company have plenty to be getting on with when they arrive in the morning. Archie and Flossie have gone to Grandma and Grandad's this afternoon, so they are out of the way when the chaos begins in the morning.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Flaming Good Day

Another day, and yet more sorting and packing. Monday, when the packers arrive, suddenly seems very close and we still have lots to do. We're making progress but are finding that we probably weren't as ruthless as we should have been when we moved from Gale Barn to Brierholme Ave, and then to Stonestack. We are making up for it now, throwing things out left, right and centre. It made for an impressive bonfire this afternoon.

I managed to find a photograph online of the ship that our container will be going on. I think Jo is a little worried that our container is going to perched at the top of one of the precarious looking piles so is considering increasing our insurance cover!

The plan for tomorrow is to have a final push on sorting everything out and to make a final decision on what furniture we will take and what we will leave. Mind you, Jo has other plans for some it. This afternoon I caught her in our bedroom in a bikini smashing a unit to pieces with a sledgehammer for the bonfire! There's so many jokes I could make at this point but I shall resist. A photograph does exist but I have been banned from uploading it!!

Until next time......


Friday, 12 July 2013

Farewell Toby

As expected today was another emotional day as we had to say goodbye to Toby. After a final cuddle with Flossie we packed up his basket, bowls and toys and sent him off with the guide dog lady to meet his potential new owner.

We heard back later this morning that he had settled in very quickly to his new surroundings so he wouldn't be returning. Apparently he has enjoyed exploring his new garden, but he has already managed to destroy the soft toy that his new owner had bought him as a welcome gift!

In other developments today we now have a door between the garage and the storeroom, meaning we can lock away the things we are leaving behind. Work has continued to sort out our belongings and there is gradually some kind of order emerging in the garage at least, if not the rest of the house yet.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon contacting Sky, etc to inform them about our move. Probably goes without saying that this was a frustrating process with long periods of waiting for phones to be answered and lots of hurdles to jump over to cancel contracts, etc. for what it's worth, the best customer service was from EON (long time waiting for call to be answered but excellent customer service and friendly conversation), but way off the bottom of the list was BT (unhelpful, obstructive, etc).

Thanks for reading, more tomorrow....


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Last day of school

An emotional day today, particularly for Archie and Flossie, as it was their last day at Beech House. They both dealt with it well, and received some lovely good luck cards from their friends, and one or two presents.

Saying goodbye to Sergeant

Flossie seems to have been most upset, I think it was a little easier for Archie as all his class were moving on to junior school anyway. Flossie was very sad to say goodbye to her class, who had made her a lovely card, but she was most upset to say goodbye to her best friend, Louis. He gave her a framed picture of the two of them together, which she hasn't stopped cuddling yet.

A lovely card from Flossie's class

Meanwhile, Jo and I have been carrying on with the sorting out and packing. We've made good progress, but now only have three days until the container arrives, so the pressure is on!

Tomorrow promises to be another emotional day. Toby is going on a visit to a potential new owner, and if they get on, he will be staying. I suspect there are going to be a few tears shed. Mind you, earlier in the week we weren't sure he would make it this far. Jo and a friend took him out for a walk, and he didn't get far before he sat down and refused point blank to go any further! Despite much cajoling little progress was made, so in the end I had to go and collect them in the car.

Time to say goodbye


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Chaos all around

Another day of sorting out and packing. The house is a scene of complete chaos, which is hopefully a sign that we are making progress! I've also spent a couple of hours sorting out various bits of paperwork for Florida, schools in Abu Dhabi, and making sure that our tax arrangements are in place before we leave. Finally we have made a decision to drop our first choice tenants for Stonestack, and go for the back up option, which seems to be the least risky option.


Tuesday snippet

Another busy day of packing, the loft is empty and the garage is getting there. Hot work in the sun, but good practice for Abu Dhabi.

Following a backlash against my plan to get rid of Orinoco, he has been in the washing machine, and his future is in the balance!



Monday, 8 July 2013

Daily update

Summary of today's developments:

  • We've started packing at last! Hot work in the current weather but needs to be done.
  • My visa paperwork has arrived safely in Dubai, so BDO are on with submitting my application.
  • The attested paperwork for the rest of the family's visas should arrive here tomorrow, so I can then send that onto Dubai.
  • We have booked our flights out (in August), and back in December.
  • We've made progress with practicalities such as life insurance and getting our will updated.
Not sure if there is going to be room in the container for Orinoco!


Friday, 5 July 2013



Friday night is curry night, but Jo is out with Archie at a party, so whilst I'm waiting for them to get home, a quick update on this week's developments. Jo and I have been very busy during our first week of unemployment, we haven't done much packing yet, but progress has been made in the following areas:

  • Renting Stonestack. We are close to agreeing a contract for someone to rent Stonestack. The developments this week have been a little surreal (cant say more than that in public I'm afraid) but hopefully we will have a tenant signed up next week. We met our mortgage provider this morning and it sounds fairly straight forward for us to convert to a buy to let mortgage, so that's another thing that should be sorted in the next week.
  • Moving. We have confirmed that our container is going to be packed on 15 and 16 July, so we need to get on with packing next week.
  • Toby. Toby is going on a visit to a potential new owner next Friday, and if that goes well, he won't come back. It will be a sad day, but good to have found a new home for him.
  • Visa. I have finally got the documents needed for my visa application attested by the UAE Embassy in London, and they are on their way to BDO in Dubai now so the application can be submitted.