So, this was the weekend of the grand move.
Weather played a rather large factor in mucking things up, although so did something else...we'll come to that later.
The original plan for Thursday had been that Sarah, with some bags and boxes of her clothes, would drive over from Chorleywood to Bishop's Stortford, pick up the keys to the house, drop the bags and boxes off at the house, and then return to Chorleywood.
Sarah's car in Chorleywood is kept in one of a set of garages near her mum's house. There are two rows of garages at right angles to each other. One is on a flat level, and the other is on a slope leading up to the road. Sarah's car is kept in the garage at the top of the slope. She drove her car out of the garage, and it slipped down the snow-and-ice-covered slope, and no amount of coaxing and persuading and encouraging could get it up the slope again.
So Sarah travelled by public transport to Bishop's Stortford, without the boxes and bags, picked up the keys, and then returned to Chorleywood.
The original plan for Friday had been that Sarah would travel to Barking by public transport; rent a van for the weekend; load up the van with various boxes and things that were stored in the lock-up; come to Chelmsford and pick me up; and then we'd go to Bishop's Stortford.
However, it snowed very heavily in Chorleywood on Friday, so Sarah (after a treacherous drive with her mum to the local Tesco) stayed put, whilst I did some tidying up and sorting out in my house.
So Thursday's and Friday's plans ended up sort of shifting onto Saturday, with a slight change of plan - Sarah's mum drove Sarah, and the boxes and bags, in Sarah's car from Chorleywood to Barking, where Sarah rented a van for the weekend, and was going to go to the lock-up to pick up some boxes.
However, as her mum drove off, Sarah realised that her mum had the keys to the lock-up.
To cut a heckuva long story short, on Saturday, Sarah drove:
- From Barking to Chelmsford to pick up me, some boxes full of books and magazines that I'd got ready to put into storage, and my bike.
- From Chelmsford to Bishop's Stortford to drop Sarah boxes and bags and my bike off at the house.
- From Bishop's Stortford to Chorleywood, to pick up various other things of Sarah's. And the keys to the lock-up.
- From Chorleywood to South Mimms, where we had a bite to eat at KFC, and thence on to Barking, where we dropped off my books and magazines and picked up various boxes full of kitchen implements, towels, bedding, and other things that Sarah's going to need in her new house.
- From Barking back to Bishop's Stortford, where we unloaded the van, a task complicated by the fact that it was pretty much impossible to find a place to park immediately outside the house and therefore had to park in a little side road opposite.
- From Bishop's Stortford to Barking, where we loaded the van up with more things - chairs, a television, and Sarah's bed, which had mostly been broken down into manageable bits, but the mattress was a bit of a pain to shift. By this time we were need of sustenance so we had a Nando's, and also popped into the local Tesco for some things for Sunday's breakfast.
- Finally from Barking back to Bishop's Stortford, where Sarah just decided to hell with it and stopped the van outside the house - a gap in the parked traffic, but not one Sarah felt safe manoeuvring a large and unfamiliar van into - bunged the hazards on, and we emptied it. Again, the mattress proved to be a challenge, and also there was no way we were putting the bed together at that time of night (it was near enough 10:00pm, and apart from the fact that we were knackered Sarah had no desire to alienate her new neighbours on her first night), so once we'd laboriously got the mattress out of the van, up the steps and into the house, and then upstairs and into the bedroom, Sarah put a sheet and a duvet on it and we slept on that.
Frankly, I think she deserves a medal for all of that - I don't think I'd've managed it. (She was worn out by Sunday afternoon, her hand very achy.)
Sunday was altogether more restful; after a morning in which we unpacked and washed up some of the kitchen stuff, and I made my way to The Community Church (and found out that the service times are 9:15am and 11:30am, not 10:30am as I'd thought - whoops!), we picked up some stuff for lunch from the local Sainsbury's (I had some tomato and grated cheese toasted on a panini, very yummy). After that, we had one more batch of driving to do in the van to Chorleywood and back, where we picked up some other oddments of Sarah's from her mum, and a dressing table which gave us yet more fun loading and unloading it.
One thing I discovered was that we'd left a very important part of the bed in the lock-up in Barking, so Sarah will be sleeping on a mattress for the time being. Whoops, but then not really any more so than Sarah leaving her mum with the keys to the lock-up.
In the afternoon, my mum paid a visit, which was pleasant, and also gave me a hand with finishing the washing up, whilst Sarah unpacked some of the things in the lounge and generally made the place look a bit more like it was a home rather than a dumpit ground for boxes and crates. I made tea - Earl Gray for Sarah, and some of mum's herbal stuff for mum. I was going to make myself a cup of "normal" tea, but despite having borrowed some tea bags from Sarah's mum I discovered that we didn't have any sugar. So I had a mug of lemon barley water instead as we sat chatting about plans for the house, the future, and the gradual move of my possessions over to the house or the lock-up over the coming months.
It's a very pleasant house, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more of Sarah there over the coming weeks and months (it's a simple bus ride from my work place to Bishop's Stortford, and I could potentially visit her after work and then travel in from there the following morning, which'd be nice. I might do that this Wednesday if all works out okay).
So, that's part one out of the way...