Friday, 13 December 2013

Hello from Northamptonshire

We did it, we are now living in a rented house in Northamptonshire.  Right up until the moment the solicitor's secretary confirmed that the funds had come through, we were fully expecting that the buyers would screw it up somehow and we would have to turn around and go home.  But miraculously they didn't and we sold our house to them.

The move all went fine, it was just a huge rush the last few days trying to get everything packed while I was trying to cancel services and get them set up for the new place.  This wasn't helped by the short notice nor by the fact that until the morning before we moved, I still didn't know where we were going.  The flat we initially tried to rent turned out to be unavailable, with extremely dodgy letting agents giving me conflicting stories on its status.  In desperation, after a few more days I fell back onto a property we had previously seen and rejected because it was too expensive and had dodgy decor.  Luckily it was still available (probably because of those reasons) and the letting agents were able to rush through the credit checks in just a couple of days.  So at least we knew where we were going and I could start ordering telephone and utility connections.  I've had to pay a lot more than I would have done if we had had the luxury of advance notice but at least we didn't have to go into a hotel.

The rented house has been a bit traumatic, even though we weren't expecting something as comfortable as the home we had left.  It's been difficult to find places to put even our limited possessions, the kitchen/bathrooms are pretty worn, and the first night we discovered we couldn't lock either of the doors from the inside.  Well, the front door would lock from the inside but wouldn't unlock from the inside.  The letting agents sent their workman the next day after I complained and he ended up replacing both the locks. There was no fridge or washing machine so we had to rush out the day after moving to buy a secondhand fridge, and then keep our food outside in the cool until it was delivered on Monday.  I bought a washing machine on Monday which was delivered on Tuesday. There are no mirrors in the bathrooms (and we're not allowed to drill holes in the wall to hang any), the heating seems eccentric with freezing floors downstairs while the upstairs gets too hot, not a single hook or towel rail in the kitchen for teatowels, aprons etc., and we were having to eat off a garden table until we could buy a secondhand dining table which was delivered on Monday.

But the real drama was when I got home last night from work and could smell gas as soon as I got into the house.  It was reeking of gas in the kitchen so I called the National Gas Emergency Line who told me to shut down the gas and open all the windows, and they sent out an engineer within 30 minutes.  He declared it 'actively dangerous' and capped off the gas at the meter and shut off the boiler.  So no cooked dinner and no heat all night.  I spent some time yelling at the letting agent while we waited for pizza to arrive but he said he couldn't make the landlord send anyone out until the next day.  Luckily the cold spell had warmed up and it wasn't as freezing last night. They came out today  to look at the gas cooker and isolated it so we can have heat and hot water again, and they are supposed to be replacing the insides.  The joke is that they claimed to have passed the property as safe in a gas safety check the day before we moved in, yet the emergency engineer said it was clearly leaking when you carried out the standard test at the meter.  I don't need all this stress - it was supposed to get better after we moved!!!

We don't have any television or broadband as the earliest installation date I could get was a few days before Christmas.  DS isn't very impressed at the lack of these vital services.  I'm typing this blog at work as I only have an iPad on 3G at home.  Which has also made it awkward to change my address with banks and providers as not every site is compatible with an iPad as well as the iPad not having a decent keyboard.  I'm slowly ploughing through the huge list of people and companies I need to give our new address to, plus our mail is being redirected.

Meanwhile I've been unpacking.  After some deliberation, I've managed to squeeze most of my remaining craft stuff into a hall closet.  I'm using some of the moving boxes stacked on their sides as 'shelves' for the yarn etc.  I look forward to the Christmas holidays when hopefully I will get some time to sit down and do some sewing - meanwhile I am knitting on my new longer train commute and at night. I started a Baby Surprise Jacket the week we moved, it's straightforward garter stitch although I'm having my usual problem that I can't remember how it goes together or what bit I'm knitting without comparing it to the diagram.

Last week is my final week of work for 2013 and then we are both on holiday for almost two weeks.  I can't wait.  We are going to go get our tree this weekend, and we both have office christmas parties to go to. Christmas has been the last thing on my mind these past weeks so we are playing catch up.  I've discovered that my carefully purchased stash of christmas cards from last year's sales must have gone into storage so I've had to go out and buy more, which I will have to get filled out soon as the 2nd class mailing deadline is next week I think.

I hope you are all having a much more relaxed pre-holiday countdown, and are looking forward to a restful holiday.


Daisy said...

I can't believe how bad some letting agents/landlords are! Hopefully that'll be all the problems fixed from now on though, and you'll be able to get on with all the Christmas stuff.

Mad about Craft said...

Considering the rules for letted houses in the UK, it is appalling what they get away with!!

swooze said...

Slum lords everywhere. I am glad everyone is ok and hope there are no more issues.

Sue said...

Congratulations on finally selling the house and surviving the move to a new place! Is this a temporary location until you find a new home? I'm still getting caught up on Christmas and I haven't moved!

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