We were kept waiting right up until almost the last minute, but finally just after 4pm on Friday my solicitor called with the welcome news that we had exchanged contracts. We were pretty exhausted from all the stress but had a quiet celebration that evening with a bottle of sparkling wine. Saturday we shot off up to Northamptonshire again to inspect the extremely limited number (4) of rental properties still available at this time of year where we want to live. Property number one was a tiny but very well kept estate house, which would have been quite a squeeze for us. Two and three were bigger Victorian terrace houses but in bad shape, threadbare rugs, repellant bathrooms, and number two even had fleas as I found one biting my leg immediately after we left.
Property four was in a different town from the one where we want to buy, but it was the best of the lot so we've gone for that one. By which I mean, we filled out the preliminary paperwork to commence the checks on our credit history and employment. We will find out hopefully on Monday if the landlord is willing to consider us, then we have to pay a non-refundable £200 charge for the checks to be carried out. That takes five working days so we may not actually know by moving day if we've got the flat or not. So I've re-booked the hotel again as a Plan B.
The flat doesn't have a garden and is partly furnished, so more of our stuff will have to go into storage as there won't be room for it. So over the next few days I have to pack everything up into two groups: storage and rented. There may be a third group called 'hotel' if we don't get into the flat right away. To add to the complication, DS is coming back from Uni on Saturday, so I've had to book him a hotel room as well.
Meanwhile this past week we spent a full day with a removal crew moving all the excess stuff into long-term storage (at that point, I still didn't know if we were moving or going back on the market). They were really good. I had been quite worried about my dollshouses in our self-store unit, but I was hugely impressed at the care they took in packaging them. They basically built a custom box around the bigger houses, with plenty of reinforcement and tape. Luckily they had apparently moved another woman earlier in the year with even more dollshouses, so the concept was familiar. They similarly boxed up my Pfaff sewing machine because I bought it secondhand so it didn't have a box of its own. They were a bit boggled by the amount of yarn and fabric emerging - one of them asked if I was running a business.