Moving house is widely acknowledged to be a stressful, stressful thing. Which is fair enough, because it is a stressful, stressful thing.
It’s stressful when your lettings agent takes the bit between his teeth and has had tenants sign to move into your property before you’ve even told people your plans.
It’s stressful when estate agents don’t seem to understand that Price Bracket A and Area B aren’t whimsical notions you’ve plucked out of the air, there to be ignored as they fancy.
…When you look at two flats in quick succession that veer so far from specifications you’re tempted to give the whole project up as a bad job from the word ‘go’.
…When you do find one you like and there are two other couples looking round at precisely the same time and it’s a bit over budget but hell, you sign for it on the spot and decide to think about the ramifications later.
…When the new landlady doesn’t know when she’s moving out, leaving you in limbo for a fortnight before finally letting you know that, yes, you and all your stuff will have to move into your parents’ house for a week in between moving out of your place and into the new one.
…When you’re constantly haranguing the estate agent for little details like how much they’ll want to be paid, and when, and whether she’ll be leaving furniture, and if so, what.
…When you’ve told your lettings agent you’re exceptionally busy at work and only wish to be contacted via email only to have four calls a day come through the main work switchboard.
…When you box up your house, get up at 7am on a Sunday only to find the heavens have dumped a foot of snow and your removal van can’t get to you, the final weekend before your tenants move in.
…When you work full-time and can’t be there to oversee the removals process when it does happen, in the middle of the week, on the very final day it possibly can.
…When, amidst all this, you’re part of an international pitch team getting into the office at 7am and leaving at 11pm, only to be told you’ll be travelling to a European capital for a 24 hour visit two days before you move.
…When, the day before you’re due to move, you and your parents and your boyfriend and the three cats can barely move for boxes and sofas and lamps and more boxes, only to be told by the new removals man that he can’t come at 8am as agreed.
…When you have to unload the contents of said (renegotiated) van onto the pavement outside the new flat because the lettings agent is 40 minutes late in turning up with the keys.
…When you get inside to find that the bed, dining table and two sofas you were expecting to see have been accompanied by, amongst other things, cutlery, crockery, a washing machine full of linen, antique chandelier, two ugly brass lamps, a television, painter’s easel, kitchen bin (full), a tagine, a fridge full of food, a hat, several decorative mantelpiece items, a duvet and a book on ancient Egyptian art.
…When the boiler seems to have a mind of its own; the fridge refuses to get cold but has been so cleverly installed that you can’t get to the plug to switch it off and defrost it; and the shelves in the sitting room – vital to two people with myriad books – are “for decorative purposes” only.
And yet, when the trundle round the M25 is done, and the boxes are unpacked, and the chandelier has left the building, and there’s a cup of tea brought to the bedside table in the morning, it’s the best decision you’ve ever made.
In search of the middle ground.
6 hours ago