Driving home from Dover to home I have to say both Terry and I were a tad worried about what we’d find. We’d rung ahead and warned Danielle and Alfie of our impending return. Much to our delight Danielle had chosen to wait for us to come home and had arranged for her Grandad to pick her up the following morning. Things boded well indeed and of course when we did reach home we were both absolutely thrilled that the house was in excellent order and the animals had quite obviously been cherished whilst we were away.
It took a while for the dogs to calm down and even Miss Saffie the cat came down to see us. We spent a lovely evening with Danielle and Alfie and talked into the wee hours. It is such a feeling of gratitude when you can converse with grown up children. Danielle’s Nan, Denise and Grandad, Tony arrived the next morning to transport her and her boyfriend back to their respective homes and Terry and I started immediately on getting the house ready for sale.
As usual we have no before pictures of the house which is a shame because we have done so much. Over the next 2 weeks we painted, pointed, took a packed load to the tip, dismantled most of the veg patch and started packing up the house. I made a batch of banana cakes for my Mom and Dad in thanks for their help both on our holiday and at home and were delighted to receive an allotment bounty from Terrys parents with the addition of something we’d never seen before; cucamelons. They were tiny watermelons from the outside and tasted like cucumbers with a tint of lime.
The kitchen in our house feels like the only room that is going to let the house down so it was with heavy heart that on Saturday 22nd August and in sweltering heat we made our way to Ikea in Southampton only to have to sit for 2 hours in front of a pc in order to plan a kitchen. We’d tried to at home the night before but despite the software alluding to Mac compatibility it definitely wasn’t playing ball. Terry surprisingly took the mouse and with a degree of competence that always surprises me planned the kitchen in the 2D and 3D generic Ikea software. Turns out we can buy a pretty slick and pared down kitchen with fridge freezer for £1.5K. Sadly we didn’t have that amount of money so it may take a week or two to get that together.
It feels like we are never going to get the house ready for sale. The second bedroom is filled almost to the gunnels with boxes and Amalia’s belongings are almost filling another room. As she’s off to Uni in Brighton we are both stressing about what to do with her things. She is a collector and an artist so we have the dilemma of knowing that we can’t get rid of her art but don’t want to sort through her clothes collections and make decisions for her in her absence. Amalia is blithely unaware of the situation despite many reminders. We also worry that she hasn’t yet sourced accommodation for Uni. Her current pad, shared with her Greek friend Illias finishes on the 6th September. She penned an advert that made us both howl because it was so apt and because it wasn’t going to get her a home.
On a final note I never stated how much it cost in diesel to take the short wheel base Transit, loaded to the absolute brim on the way out and empty on the way home. Taking into account the fact that we were misrouted on the way out and used few motorways and found only motorways on the way home it cost about £450 including vignettes. The countries that required vignettes were; Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. It was possible to buy vignettes (road tax) at the last petrol station before crossing a border or the first thereafter. I would sternly recommend that anyone travelling did exactly this as some of the enforcement is not pleasant and bloody expensive if you are caught short! The queues for the vignettes were awful but there is no way around this. I practised my German in the Austrian queue, my Greek in the Hungarian queue and how to keep my mouth shut in the face of adversity in the Romanian queue!