2018 – diaries

January 2018

We had our last day of our shakedown trip No.6 at Balloch, Loch Lomond yesterday and we are home now. I got up this morning Tuesday 9th Jan, trying to figure out how to repair the 2.5cm hole in the dining table caused when the iPad fell from a locker that I hadn’t made secure. How stupid am I?  On Motorhome Fun forums there are suggestions and recommendations on specialist companies that repair laminates but it’s around £150, I’ll have go myself first.

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Oops, my iPad fell out of the locker.

We need an additional 12v cigarette lighter and USB point near Cathy’s seat, so I quickly wired up a temporary solution to test it, it works, good news. I had already bought the stuff I need from eBay.

Cut a hole in Pogo’s cupboard to fit the 12v cig lighter and USB point, wired it up, separate switch, sorted.

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12v USB & Cigarette lighter behind passenger seat

I washed the van today plus I put some draught excluder seal in the gap at the base of the fridge, sanded & painted some minor fibreglass repairs, bathroom cabinet door fixed up, wardrobe light working once again; a very productive day

Laminate repair kit arrived so I had a go repairing the hole.

I knew the cam/timing belt needs to be replaced due to age or mileage whichever comes first, the last receipt I can find states it was done in 2010 so it’s overdue. I really want to have peace of mind whilst driving and travelling in the UK & Europe. Over the years I have used GEP Motors in Kearsley for all our vehicle repairs, Peter the owner is highly skilled, knowledgeable and patient, the service is superb, everything is explained clearly, and they always keep you informed of progress, I highly recommend them.

Cam/timing belt was done by Peter two days later for £451

Today I dropped off my two Calor gas bottles at a dealer and collected £12.50 for my trouble, these bottles were surplus due to the Prakto LPG refillable system being installed a few months ago.

Cathy and our daughter went away for two-day spa break, this was their Christmas present from their husbands.

We use our Bose SoundLink Mini speaker in the van, playing music from our iPod, iPad and iPhone through it, also we connect it to the laptop (3.5mm jack) for a better sound reproduction when watching films. I bought a 12v charger for it from eBay.

bose

A couple of days later we call in to the estate agents to discuss renting our house possibly from 1st March 2018. We have considered both options of unfurnished and furnished, priced up the storage, priced up our most expensive items in our house that we would need to leave as part of the furnishing agreement.

After considering all these things we have decided to rent it furnished  and we will save on not needing any storage costs these would be anywhere from £1,200 to £2,000. We can put some of our possessions in our daughter’s garage and loft, that’s kind of them, we don’t have much left really after all the sorting out that we have done recently. Cathy is very good at making decisions on what goes and what stays, far better than I am!

The agent mentions we need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property, they can arrange one for £65, we got one done for £40 after looking on the internet, saved £25!

Up at 6am we couldn’t sleep or relax with lots to think about, I took Pogo back to the storage place and later on I tidied the loft, swept the leaves up and then spent 4 hours cleaning the drive, it’s one of those block paving ones and it always get full of moss and dirt, I use a tool that is like a long-handled toothbrush!

Now we are preparing the house ready for viewings, so out comes the patio furniture and I trimmed wisteria

Next day I cleaned all the windows, inside and out, lovely day for it! It was a massive cleaning session including everywhere and everything!

Checked Rightmove this afternoon and we are on it, just waiting for the calls from the agents now….

We are surprised at the speed it happened;

  • Friday 26th January – advertised on Rightmove at 3pm
  • Saturday 27th January – the estate agents rang to arrange a viewing on Sunday ( a frantic tidy session followed!)
  • Sunday 28th January – house viewed by a professional couple and they seemed to like it
  • Monday 29th January – the estate agents rang with an offer from the nice couple but we refused it, later that day they agreed to pay the full price.

Our afternoon was spent talking about packing, inventory, change of addresses, etc.

Tuesday 30th Jan 2018, we have a guest flying in….

Understanding what’s involved regarding Landlord insurance for our property and what we need to do was interesting, for more information click here to read our notes.

We are very happy, we could be away on 1st March 2018!

February 2018

Only 28 days before we are homeless, I trimmed the wisteria and emptied the metal shed, Cathy did all the crockery, dishes, what is being left for the tenants, I didn’t realise how long doing these things take. Yet again we have more items for the charity shops.

Today was clearing out paperwork and office files, we soon got fed up doing that!

Tuesday 6th Feb 18, we brought Pogo from storage ready for the new radio to be fitted, read about it here, we also discovered that we also need a new speaker, please see here!

Thursday 8th Feb 18, it’s no good we will just have to drink all the remaining alcohol that’s in our cupboards.

Saturday 10th Feb 18, one final last clean up before the new tenants arrive in an hour to finalise the furnished inventory, two hours later and we have sorted the inventory together.

Monday 12th Feb, unbelievable! this is how we felt after a phone call from the estate agent! the new tenants have let us down. Earlier in the day I repaired a broken fence panel.

Our house is back on rental website once more, hopefully we will have more viewings over the next few weeks.

Two house viewings took place within a few days this week but still no takers, we are staying positive as we know it will be rented out soon.

Wednesday 21st Feb, the washing machine came out to be cleaned, also the fridge thermostat is not working properly, so I ordered a new thermostat @ £25 + P & P and fitted it myself. Commenced painting areas that need touching up, removed utility door & painted it, hoovered behind radiator covers.

Thursday 22nd Feb collected Pogo, I fitted the new radio speaker, it was easy enough. Cut the grass in advance of another house viewing tomorrow

Sat 24th Feb 18, after the viewing this morning we decided to have a break and get away in our motorhome for a short break to Pendle Hill, read about it here. It is only an hours drive from home.

Wed 28th Feb, the “Beast from the East” weather is still with us, 43mph winds here yesterday, today and tomorrow plus sub zero temperatures, it’s really cold as it has been across the UK. We are home now & straightened up the over head lockers, these had been annoying us for a little while now, the cupboard doors didn’t close & lock properly and the gaps around the edges were not symmetrical.

cupboards

March 2018

Moved Pogo back in to storage, I had to drive the van through snow to the storage facility, my brother in law was following to give me a lift home. I got through okay as it was slightly downhill, proceeding slowly and carefully, my brother in law followed. Parked in the allocated slot but then we struggled to drive back up the slope in his car, we got stuck trying to leave but perseverance paid off and we eventually escaped safely on to a grippy part of the road.

Due to the bad weather our viewing appointment was cancelled today, it’s a good job because we discovered that we couldn’t close one of our conservatory windows and we had to call the Window Doctor out, brrrr it is really cold with that window open! The Dr came and the window has been made secure!

Saturday 3rd March, out for a walk with my brother in law at Rivington Pike, we took some great snaps in the snow.

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At Rivington

Monday 5th March, we continue prepping the house ahead of another viewing this afternoon.

Tuesday 6th March, we decided to go to the cinema, there’s a deal on 2 tickets for £10, we watched “Finding Your Feet” with Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie, it was a good laugh – just what we needed. Later that day the estate agent called with good news, the chap who viewed our house is really interested.

Thursday 8th March, second viewing today, we put some fresh plants at the front of the house and later on Cathy dropped her iPhone into the Loo!!!  Rescued the phone, removed the SIM and put it a bowl of uncooked rice to dry out, the rice draws the moisture out of the phone, left it for 24 hours, put the sim in and switched it on, bingo its working!

Friday 9th March, the house will be let to the chap who viewed it earlier in the week, we said we could be out quickly and we agreed on Friday 23rd  March.

Only 10 days to go……………..Cathy read the small print of the landlords insurance policy, we painted radiators and windowsill, WD40 on all the window mechanisms. I ordered the emission air quality control stickers on line for France – cost Euro 3.62 and Germany was euro 15.00 I think.

Wednesday 14th March, majestic van hire to move mattresses, garden furniture, outside heater, tumble drier, Cathy in utility with 3 men!

Thursday 15th March, now the whole of upstairs lights are not working in the house the fuse keeps blowing, we called an electrician and 2.5hrs later he finally found the fault,  It’s my fault because without realising I’d put a piece of boarding across the joists and trapped the cable and that caused the shorting. The good news is that it’s fixed and safe for the tenant. The electrician advised us that our bathroom ceiling light fitting doesn’t meet the current regulations and it needs replacing with a specific type of fitting that meets IP44 regulation.

Friday 16th March, the gas engineer is here to service the gas fire and combi boiler for the renters, the gas certificate is required to comply with the law regarding rental properties. Later we moved even more boxes to daughters house for storage. We ordered the Aires books from Vicarious Books.  The estate dropped the tenancy contract off for us to read and sign. I called BT to discuss cancelling the line and they wanted to charge us a further £49.05 to terminate our contract, I was annoyed and I said I’d call back later

Saturday 17th March, the estate agent offers the service of completing an inventory with photos for £95 plus vat,  We decided to this ourselves for two reasons, one it quickens the process and secondly we can save some money,  If you have ever rented your home out furnished you will know how long this takes but this is our first time, it took us 2 days to complete. It is a big job and do not underestimate this part. You have to write every item down complete with a description and then categorise the condition and finally photograph it with a date stamp on the photo. A photo of each room including close ups of damaged, marked, faded areas, we took 201 photos! And don’t forget the garden, the plant pots, benches and sheds., we wouldn’t do it again!

Monday 19th March, 9am we handed our forms in to the estate agent with the photos on a pen drive, at 10am we collected our motorhome, we need to start loading up ready for leaving in 3 days time on Thursday.

Tuesday 20th March, we said our goodbye to our superb neighbours, it was a little emotional, I fitted new smoke alarm batteries and I ordered a £35 SIM card for the Three network from Motorhome Wifi.

Wednesday 21st March, we are so tired tonight, we have done absolutely loads of work in and around the house, cleaning, packing, storing, plus loading the van today. I collected the new IP44 bathroom light from Argos (ordered via eBay and used the click and collect service, so no postage costs but pick up from my local Argos). I fitted the bathroom light and then I had to paint the ceiling as the new fitting was smaller in diameter than the old one! We are waiting for tenants deposit to come through before we change addresses etc. tomorrow is the big day………

Thursday 22nd March, 9am and the estate agents called and confirmed all is good and the money has been deposited, we are good to go. We can’t believe we are moving out today and what a very busy hectic day it has been.

We put the front door key through the letterbox about 4pm and drove away in our motorhome and car, off to a family send off party in Formby at Cathy’s sisters house, her 2 sisters and one of her brothers plus our daughter and husband, they are such a kind fun loving family. It felt strange leaving our home where we have lived for 24 years!

This morning, Friday 23rd March, as I sat in the house in Formby I booked the EuroTunnel! I rang their customer service line for price and availability, what great customer service, quickly dealt with and the cheapest price was £116 one way on Tuesday 27th March at 5.50am. Booked and paid and they also did the API (advanced passenger information) with me, it was so easy and smooth, highly recommended.

Formby shopping, admin day hit the phones and cust service depts, bloody admin fee for cancellations, rip off……then it was party time, it was a great night…………spotify playlist makes you dance. Late finish…

Saturday 24th March – 34 years married! woke up to a sunny warm morning, after breakfast we walked to Formby beach with Cathy’s sister Lou,  it is a super flat beach here. We left later for Doncaster to visit my parents to say goodbye and parked on my cousins drive overnight after a few Proseccos!  .

Sunday 25th March –  Cathys birthday, left Doncaster for Oxford staying there tonight at Cathy sister house. Called at Halfords for a sun blind, those windows are huge! and at B&M for a shower basket tub for the bathroom screen B & M £3.99 We had a leisurely drive to Oxford on a lovely day – we are actually on our way after all this time, we bought our motorhome in August 2016 so it has taken us 19 months to this get to this point. We can’t quite believe that we have rented our house and heading off in to Europe at long last!

showerbox

Just clips over the frame

atlouises

Overnight spot in Oxfordshire, at my sister in laws house

Discovered that the water is not coming through the taps, don’t know why. Filled the tank up and started again by priming the pump etc and now it is working ok, tested the hot water to and that’s ok as well. Now the exterior water cap is not locking back on, going to travel without it being locked hopefully it will stay clipped on and in place.

Registered my debit card and registration number tonight for the Dartford crossing in case we use the tunnel and bridges and then we forget to pay later in 48 hours.

We are going to go “live” with our blog this morning before we cross in to France, hopefully it works. So just pop over the blog pages to continue the journey with us.

Many thanks

Dave