Tag Archives: clearing

Potential Paralysis

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There is a sense of potential paralysis at the moment. It may be obvious from reading this blog that there has been a bit of a lull in preparations for leaving.

We have not been sprucing up the house/garden

We have done all we need to in this regard and have sold. The daily routine grind of clearing and tidying is not necessary – so we have perhaps reverted to a more normal way of living (coffee cups left on sides and clothes not always put away). Though we know we must not let things slide too far the pressure’s off. Work has been busy for both of us and in teaching this has been the busiest term and a half making sure pupils are prepared for exams and coursework moderated.

We have not been clearing out the house.

I knew this phase would come when we had to start getting rid of stuff we still wanted and / or did not know if we were going to need. Winter clothes have served their time (we think!) but will we ever need them again?
Storage is going to be an issue for us! Some items of sentimental value are going to have to go so tough decisions are going to be needed. We must be ruthless.
Then there is the issue of shipping we have had little concrete information about the practicalities of shipping to Mwanza. We don’t want to spend the earth sending out stuff we will never use but don’t want to find ourselves without something we really need. In the UK this is not so much of an issue – you go on holiday and forget to pack a corkscrew or a toothbrush you pop to Tesco (other supermarkets also exist 🙂 ) and pick one up. However, my experiences of looking for AA batteries in Cambodia last summer reminds me of how this may not be so easy in the developing world. Those I found in Siem Reap were of poor quality and lasted a matter of hours.

What Next ?

Our house is going through the process of completion and once complete we need to decide where and when to invest our equity. We have ideas which I won’t share here yet, but it’s another thing to add to the list. We need to invest wisely and the biblical Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30) is a helpful one to think on.

Ninety three days seems a long time but we need to avoid doing nothing for fear of doing something wrong. So it’s an end to potential paralysis and half term next week provides an opportunity to take action!

So What Next?

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So we’ve sold. So what happens next?

Continue reading

Hidcote Gardens

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The danger in all this preparation we’ve been doing is that we miss out on the glorious Spring weather we’re currently having and the opportunities to visit some of our favourite places in England before we move away. Most weekends have been spent clearing, selling, painting and gardening. This week we have been taking things much more easy.

Today we have used our National Trust Membership before it runs out in May and have been to Hidcote Manor Gardens in Gloucestershire. We last went in Summer 2012 and thought we’d like to see what Spring has to offer.

Rather than share conventional photos on this blog I thought I’d share some I took using the Front Facing “Selfie” camera on the iPhone. I used this to take the plants from below as well as for more conventional “selfies”

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Here also a few conventional shots just for the sake of it.

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Routine Matters!

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It has been nice today to have a more normal day today after several weeks of preparations and celebrations.

Yesterday’s wedding was a great chance to catch up with family.

Last weekend it was great to celebrate Mother’s Day in Lincoln.

The previous weekend we had an Open House and a Car Boot Sale.

We have had both Mum and Anita’s parents ( Heather & Geoff) helping us get the house ready and then this week we have put the house on the market.

We have had several viewings already and await any offers. All this anticipation is a little exhausting. Not least, keeping the house scrupulously tidy!

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We have already made a decision to not have viewings on a Sunday which gives us a day of rest. So today was more routine.

We had a nice lie in which was great both bring really tired.

Then we we were up and out for the 11am service at our church, SMB (St Mary’s Bletchley), the service was great and well led by Catherine (our minister) and Andrew (our lay preacher). SMB has been part of my life for almost all of the 26 years in MK. Anita and I were married there and the kids have grown up there. It was good to catch up with folk having been absent for three weeks. We go not out of habit or obligation but from a genuine desire – even so it is part of our Sunday routine.

It will be sad to leave in a few months time.

Now home it is time to sort out Sunday lunch, Bex is clearing out the guinea pig cage, the others are chilling.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs – alternative cage

This afternoon either a board game or a film. I will phone mum for an afternoon chat – getting used to doing this by FaceTime ahead of the move.

Then this evening Matt goes to C4 (youth group) and Anita is playing at the evening service. I’ll probably do the ironing – though the TV schedules have changed – no more ‘Call the Midwife’ or ‘Musketeers’. We are  both eagerly await the new series of  ‘Game of Throne’ – our guilty pleasure.  However, the first one tonight is a late (2am) simulcast which might need to be recorded! Routines need to adapt a little.

I wonder what new routines await in Tanzania. They will probably be different.

It’s all a matter of routine but in times of change routine matters!

To Market, To Market….

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The process of untangling ourselves from the UK continues.
The next stage begins – our house has gone on the market

Continue reading

Gardener’s World

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This afternoon we took advantage of the good weather and delayed our journey to Lincoln. Anita set to work on the front with a little help from Bex and Matt. Mum potted up some plants with a lot help from Bex. I meanwhile went to the dump and then the weekly ALDI shop (normality needs to go on) before returning to help out front.

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The Last Sontaran

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All in all a good weekend and a satisfactory morning we offloaded a lot of stuff and although we brought quite a bit back it’s definitely been worth it. Combining it with yesterday’s efforts we made a bit and gave a good bit to charity. Today we decided to give half to a charitable project in Tanzania being organised by the children of a local family of development workers (The Mongers)

The weather was dry apart from one shower and we had a steady stream of visitors. Anita sold most of her Creative Memories, we sold loads of Kitchenware. Most DVD’s and some CD games went. One guy bought all our Doctor Who models in one foul swoop.

We returned with some books, most board games, a few soft toys and remaining craft items.

When packing up the car we found one lonely Sontaran (pictured) which not only had fallen down but had been trampled in mud. This lonely Sontaran is our mascot for the day.
😉

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Great help throughout from mum, Stephen, Fiona, Matt, Bex …..

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…..and also from Heather and Geoff.

A good day!

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DVD’s, Games and Kitchenware To Boot!

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So the day of the Car Boot Sale has arrived. We were up at 4:15 and in place by 4:45. Continue reading

Open House

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So we are opening our house and hoping to get rid of a lot of stuff at ridiculous prices. Half the monies to go to Sport Relief

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Final Push

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We’re on the final push 🙂

Everything in place for tomorrow’s Open House Sale. Just tidying through. Elephant (what’s left of it) is in the garage. A busy day of tidying by Anita, Heather and Geoff and a final push from us all and we have a house which can be seen 🙂

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After all the tidying a pause for Pizza

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Stresses and Strains

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Moving house can be stressful at any time. When that house is as yet unknown and over 4000 miles away in a different and developing country. When your probably going to take at most no more that 2-3 large cases each plus whatever you decide to ship. When you need to clear as much of existing possessions as you can before sale the stresses multiply.

The day by day routine of clearing and sorting is getting a bit onerous now and we are feeling the strain. It is the busiest time of year for work for me in the run up to the exams – so extra stresses and strains there. So Anita has done much more than I and her parents have been extremely helpful thus far.

We will eventually get through this and the act of clearing will be beneficial (we were great hoarders) but not yet.

The weekend sees an open house / sale for local friends and family on Saturday and a Car Boot Sale on Sunday. Hopefully this will make big inroads into our mountain of goods. As Anita recounted in an earlier blog “How do you eat an Elephant? – A bit at a time”. It just seems the elephant is more like a blue whale!!

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Week End

T Minus 162

Weeks Fly By

I cannot believe how fast time is going – when we started this blog  it was T minus 190 – 28 more days have flown by since.

Last week went by fast – this week has flown by even faster. I think having a focus i.e. our leaving date is part of the reason. Once the house is put on the market – I am sure time will fly even faster. That still is a way off though as we are still house clearing.

This week Anita has been off work and her parents (Heather and Geoff) were up. Between them they have done so much:

Heather has helped us clear surfaces and the kitchen is looking suitably sparse.

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Tidy Kitchen

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Cleared Surfaces!

Also the Bathrooms have new floors replacing the tired old ones – thanks to Heather.

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New Floor

Geoff has helped with various DIY tasks I just never got around to – the door frame in Bex room and the upstairs banisters have benefited from his hand. Additionally cupboard doors have been repaired and skirting boards painted  along with aforementioned banisters and lots of doors. It’s funny how you live with things for so long and only get around to getting them fixed before you leave.

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New Door Frame

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Banisters replaced

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Warning Wet Paint

Bruce (my brother-in-law)  came over one day to help painting – so a big thanks to him too.

As for Anita – lots of paperwork scanned and shredded – lots of clothes, DVDs and  games sorted and books boxed.Grouting and oven cleaned.

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Games ready for sale

After all this  tidying the loft left overs still clutter our lounge and conservatory. It seems never-ending.

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Stuff to sort in the Conservatory

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Even bears have to go!

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Part of the lounge

Tonight and tomorrow, my job is to carry on sorting and dumping whilst Anita is out on Band business. We have an evening off attending a Birthday Bash / Charity Fundraiser of which more tomorrow evening.

Next week Anita is off work again so more of the same.

Geoff and Heather plan to come back for a couple of days next week too, to finish some uncompleted tasks and the following week my mum (Jane) will be down helping inside and (weather depending) out.

We could not do this without their help and it’s great they can be around. Our aim is to have everything sorted for next weekend.

Next weekend is a big weekend

On Saturday we are having an Open House / Garage Sale from 10:00am to 6:00pm –  the plan is for people to come over get some good bargains and we can lose some of the enormous quantity of goods which fill every corner. Anita has sent out invitations via Facebook and hopefully folk will come.

On Sunday we will be  heading to the Car Boot Sale at the Bowl – with an aim of getting rid of much of the rest. Anita and I will be assisted by Mum,Heather, Geoff, Stephen,Fiona, Mel and Bruce – so between us we hope to be successful.

If the next week is anything like the last two we’ll be at the Car Boot Sale in hardly any time at all.

Up Aloft

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So finally we’re biting the bullet and tackling the loft. We’ve put it off for too long. So here goes……

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Update ….

After a trip to the dump and several shreddings we still have a long way to go but a little pause for a cuppa on the deck before continuing.

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Update 2
Looks like this is a weekend job!

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Moving Mountains in MK

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The week has gone by so quickly again. It’s Friday already and we’re two weeks into term. It feels like time is rushing by and Mwanza draws ever closer. Meanwhile in MK there are mountains to move! Continue reading

Phasing Out!

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“tat”, “jumble”, “goods”, “superfluous”, “shipped”, “stored” and “packed”. All phases of reduction we’re going through.

Let me explain….. Continue reading

What you leave behind.

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One of the biggest challenges we face in the coming months is what we’re actually going to need in Mwanza and what we will leave behind in the UK. We will be provided with a furnished house in Africa, which will be great – though this will be basic and will need to be added to. Some items will need to be sourced locally. Apparently even though it might seem difficult on first impressions, you can get just about anything if you look hard or wait long enough. Even so some items which are cheap in the UK will be expensive in Tanzania.

Deciding exactly which items to keep and which to sell / give away is going to be a conundrum. Anita and I have always had a tendency to hoard and in common with most people in the West we have probably had an excess. One look in my wardrobe tells a story.

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We’ve not been extravagant by western standards but we have far too many clothes. I have loads of Vinyl which I never play (though some has been converted to mp3), an old video recorder and a DVD player – that’s just one cupboard. We will really need to trim down the quantities – some clothes will never be worn so it should be easier but then there’s sentimental value.

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How many versions of Monopoly and Scrabble do you need? We have loads.
Then there’s the book-case.

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Anita was into scrapbooking for a long time and we have so many albums which would fill our luggage allowance. These will probably be digitised.

When it comes to DVD’s there’s a lot to filter out. Probably keeping the box sets and the series but even so…

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Apparently there are no copyright laws in Tanzania so downloading is common practice. Added to which there is a community library among the expats.

So what to take and what to leave behind?

This weekend we’re making an inventory of everything we have. A long job that needs doing. Wish us luck!

From Milton Keynes to Mwanza

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When we leave we will obviously be flying. Looking to squeeze all our remaining possessions into all the bags we can take and still keep to luggage limits. The next few weeks and months will be spent disposing of much of our possessions via eBay, car boot sales, jumble sales, charity shops etc. This will be a challenge but one we must continue to work through……..

On a lighter note believe it or not there is a website which plans out a road route for you should you wish to take it.

dateandtime.info/drivingdirections

I must stress we won’t be doing this but nonetheless…..

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They even provide road directions.

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I would not recommend this route given the 11 countries and the areas of unrest through which you would have to travel. Let alone the petrol for the 10000km trip over 6 days (non stop!)

UK –> France –> Spain –> Algeria –> Niger –> Nigeria –> Cameroon –> Chad –> Central African Republic –> Democratic Republic of Congo –> Rwanda –> Tanzania

Only for the truly adventurous I imagine. 🙂

The Day After

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A busy day of clearing yesterday focussing mainly on the kids bedrooms.

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It was all bit overwhelming at times.

However it is now done and we have clean and tidy rooms ahead of today’s visit by the valuer.

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The bin men will have their work cut out today but it’s all been worth it.

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Dropping Mum back today and then the rest of Half Term has to be devoted to school work. So the loft will have to wait!

For now the Garage is full – but tidy and ready for a Car Boot in the coming weeks.

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Garage, Shed and Kitchen

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A good morning and another trip to the dump leaves the garage a lot clearer. That which remains will go to a car boot sale – we’re currently looking at 23rd March – so stay tuned.

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The afternoon it’s the turn of the shed.

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Inside Anita has started on the Kitchen clutter

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Meanwhile looking to get house valued – regardless of renting and selling. This is booked for Wed. Once we know we can form up a decision either way.

We’ve now had application forms for the kids at Isamilo. This will be a formality (we hope) but still needs to be done.

Let the Clearance Begin

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Today is the start of Half Term and the start of the long process of clearing the accumulated detritus of 26 years in my own house (and 16 in this one). We have been ruthless! Anita in the bathroom clearing out numerous bottles of lotions and potions some of which are years old – including some small bottles of aftershave which I will miss 😦 . I on the other hand started on the Garage (with Mum who is down for the weekend). Several trips to the dump later we have made inroads – though there is a long way to go.

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More garage tomorrow and then the loft – that is going to take a long time – some of the stuff came straight from the loft of our previous house 16 years ago and has not seen the light of day since.

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It may seem a long time until we go – but a holiday week like this is a golden opportunity to get started. Certainly we are considering the options as to whether to rent or sell and may need to leave the house  before the summer depending on the best option.

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