Sunday, 14 February 2010

Love in the cold and wet

Eighteen years ago, on February 14, husband and I moved into our first home. I know that this is the third post in a row about moving house, but I promise that it will be the last. I am posting it today because it is topical. At the time, everybody commented about how romantic it would be, but apart from a few minutes early in the morning, it was just another day.

When we married, in June of the previous year, we each had a small house that we were trying to sell. In fact, husband's house was under offer at the time, so we set up home in my house. Then husband's buyer pulled out. We were comfortable were we were, so we stayed in my house until it sold on January 31. Then moved into husband's house for the two weeks until February 14, when his house sold. The contents of my house had gone into storage for two weeks and everything had gone pretty much to plan, apart from the removal men putting some of my clothes into storage that I had intended to take with me. By the time that I realised that I was missing a bag of clothes it was too late to retrieve them from the removal van.

February 14 was a Friday. I suppose that we got up about 7 am and exchanged Valentine's cards over breakfast and then for me, from husband, there was an orchid, which was a surprise. Since then I think that I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I have had flowers on Valentine's Day. That was our romantic interlude. The removal men would soon be arriving. Long before mid-day we were all packed up and ready to go. First to take the keys to the estate agent then it was off to Leatherhead to our new house, or rather new to us, as it had been built in the 1930s. The vendors had lived there for some time and the internal decoration was a 1970s time warp of a bottle green ceiling in the dining room, dark purple hessian in the living room and a chocolate brown shag pile carpet in the bathroom.

The day had started grey and cold and by now it was raining. We were too early to collect the keys from the estate agent, so we parked in Leatherhead's Swan Centre car park to have our sandwiches. For those of you not familiar with the Swan Centre car park, it is a soulless concrete monstrosity in the centre of Leatherhead. This was a far cry from the circumstances in which we met. From the car park we made several trips to the estate agents in an attempt to get the keys to our new home. This is long before the days of mobile phones. The money had gone through and it was legally ours, but the vendor's removal men were still packing. Eventually the estate agent suggested that we drive round to the house and wait outside for the vendors to vacate the house and hand over the keys. By the time we managed to step over the threshold it must have been at least 3 pm and all thoughts of husband carrying me over the threshold had been long forgotten.

The next few hours passed in a blur of unpacking and decisions about where furniture would go. By about 8 pm we were ready for something to eat and ventured out into Leatherhead with the aim of finding a take away. We didn't know Leatherhead very well and were unable to find a take away, so we eventually decided that we would have to find a restaurant. There weren't many restaurants in Leatherhead then. Since we moved away several have opened up. Any way it was Valentine's Day, so they were all full, which meant that we had to queue, in our house moving clothes of jeans and sweat shirts, among the smartly clad couples out for a romantic evening. By now the date meant nothing to us after the trauma of the move. Once fed it was back to the house for more unpacking and sorting out until exhausted we tumbled into bed at about midnight.

25 comments:

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

That stirs some memories of house moves we have made CW. Can just picture the scene - moving house in the pouring rain on Valentine's Day - hope the next day brought some sunshine. A x

Cathy said...

Hello CW
Sounds like houses and you don't mix:)
Maybe its time to pack up, sell the house and buy a Winnebago. Keep on moving on lol
Take care
Cathy

Jennyta said...

The description of decor reminds me of moving in the late 70s into a house filled with brown carpets and - orange curtains, which the previous owners had very thoughtfully left for us!

jinksy said...

Moving is usually hard work, in more ways than one!

Maggie May said...

You have certainly moved around!
Had to laugh at the bag of clothes being put in storage by mistake. Reminds me of the time my husband did this too.......... left a bag of clothes in our hall at home when we were going on holiday he and didn't have so much as a pair of underpants to change into! Had to find some shops straight off!

Nuts in May

JJ said...

After 7 house moves I can tell you that NONE of them ever run smoothly.
That's why we are staying put this time - famous last words!
Great post
JJ
X

cheshire wife said...

SJA - the sun did come out the following day.

Cathy - we are stay were we are now.

Jennyta - I did not mention that the bathroom had brown wallpaper with large orange flowers on it.

jinksy - yes and we did it twice in two weeks!

MM - it was only a bag of tights that went into storage but in February they are something that you can not be without.

JJ - you have moved more times than we have!

Akelamalu said...

This post brought back memories of when we moved here - I hate moving, which is why we've been here for 30 years!

Gill - That British Woman said...

oh the joys of moving house even on the "most romantic day in the year," and yet despite all the nightmares and pains of moving, we still continue to move house...LOL

A Happy Valentine's Day to you......

Gill in Canada

LindyLouMac said...

Leatherhead, The Swan Centre and moving house. You certainly stirred lots of different memories for me today!
Small world, born in Dorking,grew up in Great Bookham, worked at Leatherhead Library!!!

Jenny said...

Moving house is so stressful and never quite goes to plan. The house sounds very much like how we decorated our first home in the early 1970s, but we have moved a lot in style and location since then.

French Fancy said...

18 years ago an orchid was one of the most special flowers you could find - before they were so dreadfully over-produced. It must have cost him a fortune back then.

Happy moving house anniversary CW

Jan said...

Very OK to get an orchid!
Talking re the taking of wrong bags...I chucked away ALL of my son's Uni books/files etc by mistake...

Valerie said...

I believe moving house is high up on the stress list.... I don't like it either. You can have a laugh when you look back though.
Happy Valentine's Day

CG said...

I often think we are very boring for not moving but I think we have had it easy if a little dull. Oh the joys of brown shagpile - we had it in dining room and sitting for a few years; it was in good condition and we couldn't afford to replace it!

cheshire wife said...

Akelamalu - you have been very lucky!

Gill - it wasn't really a very romantic day.

LLM - I used to be a regular user of Leatherhead library, but I can not remember the faces of any of the staff.

Jenny - it is alright, we didn't buy your house.

FF - maybe it wasn't an orchid after all!

Jan - not so sure about it being an orchid now. I bet you were popluar throwing away you son's books!

Valerie - you are right about the stress.

CG - the brown shag pile didn't last long.

Alex said...

Happy Valentines.

Gilly said...

Moving is hell! Ours nearly led to divorce ;-)

I vowed never again, but now we are older we are finding this house a bit big.........

Thud said...

I answered your house question on my last post,i was never a gothic fan but since working on the house it has grown on me although I am being as restrained as possible!

cheshire wife said...

Alex - thank you

Gilly - I know the feeling.

Thud - thank you for your answer.

Rob-bear said...

Moving house can be pretty un-romantic, even on February 14th.
Especially on February 14th. At least you survived to tell the tale.

We've been through so many moves, that we're staying put for a while — until we can't manage the place, or until the undertaker is the removal man.

cheshire wife said...

Rob - Oh dear, what a sad thought, but it is something that we will all have to face one day.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

They reckon moving is second only to divorce, stresswise! Or is it marriage, oh heck, I'm losing it!

Carol said...

We moved house on Valentines Day too....we sat in the middle of the floor surrounded by boxes eating Chinese take away with Tom (Our friend that had helped us move). Not our most romantic Valentines day ever but hey ho...

C x

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