Monday, June 19, 2006

More temporary messages

Look, this is getting silly. This was supposed to be where I did the main writing; instead, all my energy has gone into the newspaper stuff, which has taken off in a most gratifying way ('Dear Friends' link, if you haven't seen it). I have all sorts of random stuff written or planned to go in here, but it's just not happening at the moment. However, the majority of the unpacking is now done; I have an office with shelves and shelves of books in it, and there should be time to catch up very soon.

I'll get back to you.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

We live!

We are here, and we survived!

This is a temporary post, just to reassure the watching millions that we're still alive. There will be much more to follow, including the peculiar sensation of being accosted in the street because of what I have written. I could get used to that.

Otherwise, all is well, we are now officially mortgage-free; we have now seen our new house (and boy, did we get that one right); we have (almost) bought a car; we have seen the boys' school, and the weather is just terrific.

What more could one ask for?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Breaking Away

I'm writing this on my laptop in a hotel bedroom at Heathrow. The boys are just drifting off to sleep, and we'll be joining them soon. Everything is now done, there's just us and our travelling bags left (all the others are in left luggage at Terminal 4); we no longer have a car, or any other UK encumbrances. I've just transferred a chunk of money to our offshore account, and I've also withdrawn a sizeable chunk of Canadian dollars. This is it, folks. Next entry will be from an entirely different timezone. See you on the other side...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Exchange and Mart


  • The house is finally sold - contacts were exchanged this afternoon; there's no going back. The funds will be available on the 7th, just one week before we need them to buy the new place, but it'll do.

  • We've pretty much packed, and I think we'll be able to carry everything. The majority of our belongings went Canada-ward on Tuesday, and all that's left is what we can carry (which seems to be more than we thought we could carry, so I'm quietly confident on that front).

  • We've sold or given away large amounts of things which we either don't need, don't want, or won't work in Canada. Tomorrow is the final giveaway; everything must go, including the 20 year old microwave. I'll probably shed a tear giving that away, and then everything else goes to the tip.

  • The cats are on their way. Tonight, they're at Heathrow; tomorrow they'll be in Vancouver. We'll see them on Monday, with any luck

  • I'm going to bed now. I'm exhausted. But I'm published!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stop Press

I'm in print! I have a note here from the editor of the Citizen which says I'm on Page 1, continuing on Page 5, and "Readers are already looking forward to the next instalment".

If I had time, I'd be speechless. More as soon as possible...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chain Gang

Last night, I had my farewell meal, and tomorrow I have my faarewell presentation. After more than 16 years, it's fair to say that my colleagues are doing me proud.

But I struggled to concentrate on things last night because of the dreaded chain. 8 days before we move out, we are still far from certain of selling our house. If you don't live in England, this may puzzle you. If you do, this will be all too familiar to you. What we seem to have pieced together in the last few days is that somewhere down at the bottom of our chain, there is a problem. The kind of problem which is avoidable, manageable and resolveable, but which has been neither avoided, managed or resolved. The result is that we wait, our buyers wait, their buyers wait, and we all get little or no sleep, which in the case of the person in the chain who is heavily pregnant must be particularly galling.

At the moment, my rational head say that everything will be OK; it's just a hitch (or a ruse by someone to pay less for something which has already been agreed), but the majority of me, which is far from rational at this stressful time, is actively investigating bridging finance - we are committed to our Canadian house, and if we don't get the funds through from this one, we're scuppered.

This English system is truly awful for everyone involved, and the amount of yelling one has to do at solicitors and estate agents indicates why they are two of the most loathed professions in the country. Please take me away from all this.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Tiscali. Remember the name, people. By and large, I've had no real problems with them over the years, but it seems the trick is never to tell them you're moving away. I had a long conversation with them a week or so ago, and explained that I needed the broadband connection discontinued on the 31st, giving them less than the stipulated one month's notice. The lack of notice is not a problem, because we are going somewhere where Tiscali do not operate, so there is no notice period. Everything was arranged, and they declined my offer of notice in writing, noting that the file would say that we wanted to be closed down at midnight on March 31st.

On Saturday morning, the connection stopped working. Sever increasingly irate phone conversations later, two things became clear:

1) We had been disconnected 2 weeks early ("Yes, it says here to disconnect you on the 31st." "But it's the 18th." "Oh. Yes. Um. That happens sometimes".)

2) There was nothing I could do about it until today, because the cancellations team only works Monday to Friday.

Today, I was cheerfully told that I could reconnect if I liked, but it would take 15 days to process.

I hung up.

If updates become sporadic now, you know who to blame...