Did I think I was stressed before? Well, that was nothing. Yes I've read somewhere that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do. I've moved house loads of times before, seriously I have, hubby was in the RAF (in another life) and we had move after move after move. In fact at one stage we did 4 moves in three years - piece of cake. Everything well organised and just like a military machine, children, cats, furniture and cleaning the house to 'march out' standard, no problem. But this!!!! Blimey, I must be getting very old or something... Can I share? Well, I'm going to... this is just a rant by the way, the need to deflate before I explode is just too strong.
One of the many issues is the cats. We already explored the 'I won't leave them behind' option, or rather we didn't explore it because it is a non starter. I sold stuff on ebay to pay for their passports and jabs and micro chipping etc.
I contacted three companies about transporting them to Spain and asked for quotes. We really couldn't take them in the car - I couldn't cope with constant meowing for two days plus on the road. The quotes came in at £800 and £1200 and a flat refusal from the third company. With the major problem being that neither companies could fly them to Seville (our nearest airport) only to Malaga. We will have to send the cats to a cattery the day before the removal men turn up to pack our stuff to minimise disruption to them and that would be extra money, plus since we are driving down with the dog we have to time their arrival to be the day after we arrive, so that's several days in a cattery. Since the cats need an air worthiness certificate from a vet just before they fly and the £1200 quote includes that and the other one doesn't, it looks like we have to take the more expensive option.
To compound the cat issue: We have asked for three quotes from three different furniture removal companies. The first quote has come in at £10,200 WITHOUT insurance - shock horror feel sick fall down in a dead faint - haven't had the other's yet but have a sneaky feeling that they will be about the same. Apparently it's the cost of fuel with the big lorries using so much of it and us having chosen to live somewhere where hardly anyone from this country goes... i.e. if we picked the Costa's it would be a different story.
Now these quotes are for our furniture going as a special load, that means, just our stuff in the lorry. It would be cheaper (but by how much I don't know) to share our lorry with other removal jobs, but the down side of this option is that it would take up to 21 days for our stuff to be delivered. And bearing in mind where we are going we are most likely to be the last load delivered.
Just to throw in a little concern here... the rental house we are looking at (but haven't signed a contract for yet... cue a touch of anxiety) is UNFURNISHED. And of course once we collect the cats from the airport we need somewhere to take them...?
So, the rental house. Our agent found a nice one, very nice in fact, and a little more expensive than the last but not too much of an issue, still less than our mortgage was here in the uk so we should be ok. But after losing the last rental property out of the blue I really would like to sign something on this one so I am feeling a bit of concern over this. The big downside on this is that the property is not just for rent but for sale too and there is always the possibility of the owner selling it out from under us before we are ready to move into our own place.... nothing I can do on that front - oh yes, I can worry. It is the last property available in the countryside so if this one falls through we are looking at an apartment in the city which would not do for my cats who are not in any way streetwise (like me in fact... which brings me to the next concern...)
A car. We need to take the dog over to Spain by car. He is a poncy little Bichon who suffers dreadful anxiety issues when left alone for anything more than an hour or two and would not cope with a crate in the hold of a plane.
No problem we thought, there are plenty of left hand drive cars for sale in this country (some already Spanish registered... the Brits appear to be deserting the Costa's in droves!), we will buy one of those, drive it over and then hubby can return on the plane a week or so later. Except that even with a Spanish registered car we would have to pay import tax to take it back to Spain and that is a hefty 12%. OK says my eldest son, what if he drives us there and we buy a car once we are there. Sounds good, except that hubby only has a week to settle me in and I have never driven on the right hand side of the road before and I am a very nervous driver in this country never mind in Europe.
I was hoping to have time to get used to the car, to learn the route to the supermarket and the car park in town and then slowly build my confidence up from there. On top of that it would probably take more than a week to organise the purchase of a car over there and I would end up with a hired car to start with - except that I need an automatic and to hire one of them is v expensive. It's been years and years and years since I drove with gears and I just don't think I could do it, especially since they will be on the other side to boot! It's beginning to look like we will just have to bite the bullet and buy a car over here.
Those are the main issues to date. All of which can be solved by throwing money at them. Except we are not rich. We are getting less for our house now than we envisaged and we need every penny in order to realise our dreams in Spain.