Monthly Archive: September 2014

Week 16: Taking a break

Something of a detour: from East London to the Eastern Algarve via the East Midlands. The sale completed successfully last Wednesday. Rather than a cause of joy, it was simply the end of torment. I arrived at my mum’s in a fully laden car – everything we need for the next two to three months – with my niece at the wheel. I don’t like driving, so I was very grateful to her. The next day was the first anniversary of my father’s death. We drank the Krug we’d kept to toast him with, but we preferred the mead Dad had made from his own honey twenty-four years earlier.

When I started this blog, I expected to muse about the prospect of changing countries and trying out a different life; I expected many challenges, but for them to come from the Portuguese side. No doubt difficulties are yet to come, but so far buying a house in Portugal has been a story of pleasant cooperation and charming efficiency, while selling a flat in London has been a story of inexplicable legal inefficiency and pointless, long-drawn-out nervous tension. And then there was a motorcycle accident thrown into the mix.

Now we are spending a few weeks in rural England, with my mum. We are in an old-fashioned village beloved of 1940s re-enactors and commemorators of the second world war. The Dambusters Squadron operated from here in 1944 and 1945. Lancaster bombers occasionally fly overhead. We are near the RAF station where they are housed (one permanently, one is on a visit); they are apparently the only two airworthy Lancasters left. Their flight path is directly over my mother’s house and they come low enough to appear to skim the treetops. You can either hear them or see them. Hearing them is wonderful. Their beautiful sound enters and fills the house. Or you run out and watch them overhead, almost close enough to touch. My husband, who is German, observes the British obsession with the war with mild detachment.

My promise at the beginning of this blog was to write once a week, unless a fox takes me out. A fox has not taken me out, but has done severe damage to Husband’s knee. So I’m taking a few weeks out, while he recovers, and while I do too. We visited London on Monday for an appointment at the fracture clinic. It gave me a pang to be in London so briefly and as a non-resident. London still has a small hold over me. The news was positive: two weeks have been taken off the time in which he cannot put weight on his knee, reducing it from eight weeks to six. That means, from now, just three and a half weeks to go. He got to see, via x-ray, the extraordinarily clever scaffolding put in to hold the knee together. It was a good day.

Please see the subscription widget, which I have managed to reinstate, and do sign up for the next post (if you are not already signed up). I shall take up our story again in October when Husband is back on two legs and we are finally on our way to our house in the Algarve.

Our house in the Algarve: front terrace

Our house in the Algarve: front terrace

Our house in the Algarve: the garden

Our house in the Algarve: the garden

Week 15: Action

I’m typing this sitting on the floor of an empty flat. On Wednesday evening our solicitor phoned us to tell us contracts had been exchanged. Confirmation in writing, via email, came on Friday. On Thursday Husband made it, with my help, to his office where he delivered a leaving speech while leaning on crutches and with the additional support of a wall. He was very happy to be able to say his goodbyes. On Saturday he and I travelled by train to my mum’s house – a bungalow: what joy! – where he will convalesce, then I returned to London. I now had 32 hours before the packers arrived. I managed to work for 24 of these hours. (Thank god for years of yoga practice. Makes you strong.)

Parking restriction went up on Thursday. I used to believe - many years ago - that one shouldn't own more than could be fit into a rucksack. Now we need three parking bays for a pantechnicon

Parking restriction went up on Thursday. I used to believe – many years ago – that one shouldn’t own more than could be fit into a rucksack. Now we need three parking bays for a pantechnicon

Living room

All my hard work resulted in a flat ready for the packers: living room . . .

Top landing

top landing . . .

. . . study

. . . study, and the rest . . .

Arrival of pantechnicon on Monday morning

Arrival of pantechnicon on Monday morning

Just a few hours later

Just a few hours later and much has already been done

Empty

On my return on Tuesday: an empty flat. Hard to capture in pictures, but you get the idea

Bread can still be made by Husband on one leg, I'm happy to report

Bread can still be made by Husband on one leg, I’m happy to report; the last loaf made in our London home

Goodbye, London! Now we really are leaving.

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