It’s been a funny old week in A Brummie Home and Abroad land. We started January with two things looming on the horizon. The imminent exit of the UK from the European Union. A bad thing IMHO. And a house move. Definitely a good thing. Both scheduled for 31st January.
And then at the end of last week, Mr Fletche and I were thrown for a loop. Just 10 months after his mom passed away, his dad was being placed on an end-of-life care package. We’d watched him deteriorate since losing Judy, as a life once filled with love was replaced with loneliness and boredom. And just two days after receiving that news, we got the devastating call that he’d passed away.
And all of a sudden we are juggling the last minute anxiety of completing on a house, with the tremendous stress of all the procedure and protocol involved with the death of a loved one. Solicitors are seemingly AWOL. Completion statements have random, incorrect purchase prices. Money has to be transferred from one account to another, to be transferred again. Death certificates have to be picked up. People need to be informed. A funeral has to be arranged. It’s hard to keep track of who’s doing what as Mr Fletche and I both work through a long to-do list.
All these practical tasks don’t distract from the emotion. Grief wells up at inopportune moments. We pack boxes at home aware that there will be much more packing up to do elsewhere. Previously forgotten memories creep into Mr Fletche’s mind. We laugh at something, and then immediately wonder if it’s “too soon”. Because we’re excited too. We’re starting a new chapter, in the first home we’ve chosen together. There’s furniture to buy. Lots of it considering we left everything at our old house and moved into a furnished apartment. But we can’t order furniture, because we don’t know the funeral date, and therefore can’t arrange delivery. Every positive emotion is counterbalanced by a negative one. And vice versa.
For most people, January seems to be at least 75 days long. But for us, the first 31 days of the new decade have been a whirlwind. It seems like yesterday that we were ringing in 2020 at 1000 Trades, a swansong to our time in the Jewellery Quarter. And now 31 days later, our lives have been turned upside down, in good ways and bad.
It seems like just five minutes ago that we were unpacking our worldly goods in our new city centre home. The original plan, you may remember, was to sell our house, bank a chunk of the money and rent for a year in the Jewellery Quarter. And that’s what happened. Except a year turned into sixteen months.
But as I write this blog post, we are in the final stages of completing on our new house. Hooray! It’s been a long drawn-out process. Which apparently isn’t unusual in the cutthroat world of property buying and selling. I don’t really remember last time. How long it took. But it was 24 years ago. Things have probably changed since then.
We found a house we both loved back in July last year. We’d been keeping our eye on Rightmove for a while, and this one kept coming up. We viewed it one evening during the heatwave (remember that?). And we put an offer in the next day. Which was accepted. We did a little celebratory jig and got excited about buying furniture. All the furniture. Remember that we moved into a furnished apartment and therefore left all of our big bulky stuff for Mo and his family.
Our vendor has an eye on a house. They are putting in an offer. Everything is moving smoothly. I’ve sent every possible document off to our solicitor. Who then seems to disappear off the face of the earth. Emails go unanswered. They are always “in a client appointment” when I call. Occasionally they reappear and pop up with a query, phrased in legalese which leaves me nonplussed.
Luckily the estate agents are keeping us in the loop. Our vendor has found a house, and they’re putting in an offer. Hold on. Didn’t they already do that? Oh, that one fell through, so they’re back to square one. OK, we’re in no rush. And then house #2 falls through. Something about an abattoir turning up on the searches. But they’ve found another house. Repeat. On loop. Until finally, house #5 seems to be the one. Fifth time lucky. We’ve exchanged contracts. We’ve waved goodbye to a chunk of money and transferred our deposit. Completion “should” be happening on Friday.
We’re so exhausted by the process that we stopped doing a celebratory jig three houses ago. And we still haven’t bought any furniture. We’re waiting until we finally have those keys clutched tightly in our palms.
The endless cacophony of seagulls during the summer. Which means not being able to have the windows open overnight. In an apartment which is so hot at times we could grow tomatoes.
Three flights of stairs. And no lift. Although it saves on gym membership and I have thighs like Beyonce.
The joys of commuting on the A38 and M6 every day, checking in with Google Maps to see which road will hold me up this morning. Is it a breakdown on the A38? A multi-vehicle crash on the M6? Both?
Being a short walk away from my favourite drinking establishments, 1000 Trades, The Wolf, Jewellers Arms. Wings at the Rose Villa. The humongous mixed grill at the Hen and Chickens. Fish and chips from Dhillons (ok, maybe not that one). And brunch options at Saints Kitchen and Coffee Tales. I’m not sure the brunch scene has hit Coleshill yet. Although there are plenty of pubs and a plethora of Indian restaurants.
Listening to a full podcast on the way home. That 50-ish minute journey home is the perfect length for many of my favourite podcasts.
Staring at the flats opposite, trying to assign resident backstories. There’s the cosy flat, constantly lit by ambient lighting and the flickering of a TV. There’s “Bending Over Woman” who constantly appears to have her head in the fridge freezer or the washing machine. There was the couple with all the house plants and a cat and a baby. They moved out, leaving all the house plants to die a sad death. I’m assuming they took the cat and the baby. And there’s the prostitute flat. We have no evidence other than the occasional scantily clad woman in the car park, and the fact that the blinds are never open. Probably trying to stop nosey residents from looking in.
So if the blog’s a bit quiet in February, these are my reasons why. I’ve put a couple of events on the backburner, because A Brummie Home and Abroad needs to take a bit of a backseat for a short while. But we have a lot to look forward to. A family wedding in March. A railway carriage glamping trip in May. Our first Christmas at the seaside. And the small matter of a Japan trip to plan for.
Normal service will resume soon folks!