One of the biggest landmarks as far as we were concerned was when the letting agent came around to our flat in Kentish Town and said that they would market it for us. More final than that was when they said that they had someone that wanted our flat, up until that point we could have left whenever we liked whereas at that point we had to pack up and leave and we had a definite date (more on this below). So, having set the date we then made a monster list of what stuff we wanted to keep, sell, give away (to friends, family and charity) and dump. Quite a cathartic thing as it turns out and we basically ended up with about 10 plastic white boxes, a few bags and about 4 bits of furniture that we wanted to keep. The rest either went to the charity (the shops on the High Street love us!), to friends in need, on Gumtree or as a last resort to the dump. London also has a great way of recycling itself: if you leave anything outside within minutes it’s gone, whether you want it to or not! In our case we wanted people to take it away and they didn’t disappoint, everything we put outside went!
So, on Thursday 15th March all appeared to be going very well with packing the flat etc, all was relaxed! We’d just been down to Devon with a van containing the few bits and bobs we wanted to keep, so the flat move was well underway. My parents had kindly cleared an area in their back room that we could use to store our stuff whilst we were away.
On that Thursday, however, I emailed the letting agent with regards what should happen with handing over the council tax bill to the tenant. A few emails whizzed back and forth and Graham at the letting agents said all would be in place for the tenant when they moved in on 20th March. I thought that the move in date was 30th! A very quick phone conversation with Graham and I had indeed got the date wrong! I then spent the next 15 minutes running around the flat shouting swear words too shocking to write here and then realised that I had to tell Martina, who was on her way to work. I plucked up the courage and called her. Her reaction was much the same as mine except without the swear words as she was on public transport at the time. I then had to plan what to do next and boy was it lucky we had been down to Devon the weekend before as the flat was pretty clear of our stuff and we were living a ‘minimalist life’! However, there was still stuff to get rid of (mattress, futon, couch, etc) and other things to sort out in a very short amount of time. Firstly, where were we going to stay? Dina and Trent, our friends up at Dollis Hill, had agreed to put us up from 26th until we were due to leave on 2nd April and they came up trumps when they said they were fine to have us for an extra week – relief!
Having said our goodbyes down in Devon we had planned to go to Donegal over the upcoming weekend to do the same to the Irish side of the family. The weather was forecast to be really bad over the weekend (mini Beast from the East) and the worst case scenario could see us stranded over there when the tenants were due to move in on the following Tuesday. It was decided that it was too much of a risk, so I stayed behind and Martina went. This meant that even if she was stranded I was still around to do the final move out. Not in any way ideal and this was definitely the worst part of the whole debacle, not only had I mucked up the moving out date, but I missed out on saying good bye in Ireland. As it was the weather was pretty bad, flights into and out of the UK were delayed and even cancelled, but Martina wasn’t stranded and made it back to help move out.
A lot was learned over the 4 days between finding out the date was wrong and our move out on Monday 19th March. However, it was much better to find out when we did rather than on Tuesday morning when the tenants would be moving in! In the end I spent the weekend sorting out the final bits of our flat, cycled my fully laden bike over to Dina and Trent’s and cleaning the flat. The Monday move was much smoother than it potentially could have been and there was only the final clean and the move to Dollis Hill to do.
This early move to Dina and Trent’s may well have been a blessing in disguise. Although it had been pretty hectic and it wasn’t the way we’d wanted to leave Kentish Town we now had no distractions for our final preparations….