Tag Archives: Getting Prepared

Hidden Costs

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Moving abroad isn’t cheap!

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Nineteen

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Today is our 19th Wedding Anniversary and a time to reflect on the past as well as look to the future – I share here  wedding pictures from that day almost two decades ago. These come from Anita’s Creative Memories scrapbooking album. Continue reading

Too Many Shirts!

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I have an admission. I haven’t ironed a work shirt since the start of term!

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I’ve got a bit of a headache :-(

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A lot’s been going on since January when I got the interview and then the job in 5 days flat for Isamilo School and I think it’s beginning to catch up with me.

Firstly the house clearance – we’ve got rid of a lot but there’s so much more to go.

Secondly the house – on the market, then the viewings and the perpetual tidying (I’m not good at that!), the lack of sale due to solar panels then the dramatic offer of a loan and subsequent purchase ( subject to contract).

Thirdly work with the usual stresses and strains which come this time of year as we push the students to achieve of their best (some more reluctant than others). Today finally the Year 11 and 13 coursework is ready to go.

I’ve been wandering around with a low level headache all day. I’ve kept my health so far this year but there’s a lot happening. So tonight I’m having a night off enjoying a long soak in the bath and keeping well (if I can) for tomorrow. A headache’s not much but I can be prone to migraines at times of stress so don’t need that. I also need to get back into regular exercise which is ironic because this headache is forcing me to miss Badminton 😦

In contrast to the general tone of this blog I refuse to be downhearted and just ensuring the headache continues to subside.

Believe it or not we’re still not half way through the time until we leave the UK. That will be 1 week from now. There’s still a lot of time and a lot of things to do. So batten down the hatches and enjoy the ride. 😉

Solar Storm in a Teacup!

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Selling our house has proved a little more difficult than we imagined and it’s all down to Solar Panels
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Patience

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I am not the most patient of people. The one big hurdle to overcome before moving abroad is selling up!

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We are assured this will happen by the Estate Agents and the property market is in our favour. We have had 15 viewings. We have had a near offer (they haven’t sold themselves and a freaked out by the Solar Panels on the roof? – go figure!). However, this countdown reminds me of the approaching deadline (125 days until we fly). Of course we only need one person to buy. 🙂 As Christians we believe that God is in this and that there is a right person at the right time, but I’m not good at waiting. Yet that is what we must do. I am told that patience is something you need a lot of in Africa – so it’s all part of the learning curve I am sure.

Very soon in our garden the Ceonothus (Californian Lilac) will bloom as will our Wisteria. For now we must wait for this too. Isolated buds have opened….

20140419-122001.jpg …but the bush remains drab from a distance. As does the Wisteria adjacent to it. 20140419-112323.jpg However, when it comes in to full flower it will be spectacular as it was last year. 20140419-111926.jpg Sometimes we just have to be patient.

 

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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Garden Panorama

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Taking stock of a weeks work on the garden

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Passing 5K

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About a year ago I took up running as a way of losing weight, keeping fit and improving stamina ahead of a trip last summer that was to include trekking in Vietnam and in Cambodia.

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It is unfortunate that all the house preparations in recent weeks have prevented me from doing this.  When up to speed (forgive the pun) I usually run between 3 and 8 miles – though I have been known to run 10-12 on rare occasions. My aim and intentions over the Easter break is to get back into running – though a heavy cold at the moment is hampering this goal. I would also like to get back into the 5K Park Run locally – though I realise running in Tanzania might be more of a challenge (I’m no Mo Farah!) and I might need to find some other form of exercise.

 

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On the subject of  5K, in all the pleasure I had in sharing my Liebster Award yesterday, and all the Deck Painting. I completely forgot to mention that our blog has now surpassed 5000 views and  is attracting over 100 views per day on most days. As you can see a number of bloggers are visiting from Asia, as well as those from Europe, North America, Australasia and Africa.

Thanks to all those of you visiting my site it’s much appreciated.

Country Views
United Kingdom 4,797
United States 110
United Republic of Tanzania 52
South Africa 46
Sweden 27
Ireland 24
Australia 24
Germany 22
Thailand 17
Singapore 14
Spain 9
Taiwan 9
Malaysia 8
Greenland 8
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 8
Canada 7
Norway 6
France 6
New Zealand 4
Italy 4
Venezuela 3
Gambia 3
Isle of Man 3
Philippines 3
Uganda 2
Malawi 2
Indonesia 2
India 2
 Republic of Korea 2
 Netherlands  1
 Bulgaria  1
 Czech Republic  1
 Austria  1
 Belgium  1
 Portugal  1

 

 

Damson & Ash

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The past two days I have been putting a second coat of stain on the decking area. Mum so ably having provided the first coat when she was here.

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First the Summer Damson for the balustrade, trellis and path. It’s amazing how the colours fade overtime and this was particularly noticeable as I painted the trellis – the algae green showing up brightly against the damson purple which gradually replaced it.

 

Day two has been spent re painting the deck itself, along with the gate and fence in Ash Black – removing all traces of blue.

I am particularly proud of the balustrade and the trellis as this was all my work 11 years ago. My most major piece of DIY to date.

I put the path down in 2003 with the help of my dad along. Eleven years ago the deck was mostly constructed by Geoff with my help.

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Many a late Spring and Summer gas been spent on the Deck, although the British weather has often curtailed us.

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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!

Saturdays

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Saturdays are probably my favourite day of the week. Waking up in the morning with a whole day ahead of you and a blank page upon which to write your life.

At the moment (of course) life is pretty full of sorting, shredding, boxing (things not people), dumping (things not people!!), tidying, painting the list goes on… And so Saturday is pretty much mapped out.

Today Anita is out at Woburn Sands Band Playing Day. Matt is off on a youth weekend away and Bex will be off to a party soon. So here am I.

This morning has been a mix of dumping and then food shopping, before putting a wash out (it’s dry and sunny).This afternoon the joys of gloss paint await.

Later we are heading out to a friends Big Birthday Bash. This is actually a fund-raiser at a local Leisure Centre in aid of various African Development Projects. However, this deserves a post of its own so more later. I’d better get painting before Anita gets back!

Dentists, Doctors and Dastardly Diggers

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I am writing this whilst waiting to have a filling at the dentist in sunny Milton Keynes. (It really is sunny by the way)

I hate going to the dentist and even more so when I need to have work done. Such is life and it’s all part of the routine of UK living. Soon that will change of course.

In front of me are the usual crop of magazines. Most are, of course out, of date. Magazines on Fashion, Home Improvement and Gardening as well as the ubiquitous OK Mag.

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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.

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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. 🙂

Forms, Forms, Forms

T minus 184 I hate filling in forms, but whenever changes occur in life forms must be completed. Applying for a job in a foreign country does create a lot of paperwork. Today I have received a whole bunch of forms relating to immigration and work permits and application forms for the children. Where’s that black ballpoint?

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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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