Greetings from Arran

Well, we made it… just. It’s been one of the hardest weeks of our lives and I never, ever want to go through it again. Having an 18-month old makes everything so much harder. Plus we had too much stuff. And all the lost weekends when people would invite us round during the only real packing time we had meant that, even after staying up the whole night before leaving, we still couldn’t do it. Lorraine left with the kids on Tuesday morning at 6.15. It should have been 6.00 and, thanks to the Tom Tom, we missed the train in Arlon. Thankfully she still made her flight, but barely.

Then I was back to the apartment to wake my brother up and try and get everything into the neighbour’s garage. My brother had slept from 3 a.m. so got a good 4 and a half hours. I, on the other hand, hadn’t slept at all and had been up and down to the garage all night long, all 43 stairs, carrying box after box. The landlord came round about 10 as scheduled and by this time I was close to collapse. Just the exhaustion, the stress and not eating properly at all. I ended up laying on the kitchen floor while my friend, whom I’d called in for some urgent help, tried to communicate with the landlord for me. He ended up having to call his wife to talk to the landlord on the phone to interpret into the landlord’s native Italian. We agreed that I was going nowhere that day – I wasn’t fit for anything. Then we decided that my brother would still be able to make the ferry and take the cat, providing we could get the cat out from behind the kitchen units. If he couldn’t get her out, he could still make the ferry but then I’d have to get the ferry too, and have to take our car, which means we’d spend a fortune and not be able to leave the car behind to sell it (because the Brits like to be different and drive on the other side, have different electrical sockets, different currency, etc.) Anyway, we knocked the bottom panel off the cooker and managed to get the cat out, get her to the vet’s before the 11.30 deadline (she needed tick and worm treatment between 24 and 48 hours ofin the UK – not easy to arrange).

So, with my brother departed, I went to my friend’s house and collapsed for a few hours. Then back to the apartment to see the mess and start shifting it all to my friend’s. We did about half, then I started sorting it the next morning to see what to throw, what to ship and what to bring on the next morning’s flight. Another dear friend of mine met me at the apartment at lunch time and we got the rest of the stuff to our friends. Then she fed me a really good meal at her mum’s and we went back together to sort out the rest of the stuff. Then a trip to the recycling centre with all the stuff we were not taking or shipping and then back to box up what was left ready to ship.

She then fed me another good meal at her mum’s after we’d shifted all the boxes for shipping to her parents’ garage. And we were done! I flew out at 11 the next morning, got the ferry to Arran that night and have been here since Wednesday night.

The whole ordeal has taught me two things, one is that I love my wife, and the other is that friendship is one of the most valuable things in life. I really could not have done it had it not been for my two friends in my hour of need.

The new house is nice but full of old furniture and we have to try and fit around it. So far it’s working out but it’s taking a long time. And now that we’ve got all the furniture pretty much where we want it, I can’t even start unboxing as I’m heading out in a few hours for two weeks’ training on the mainland. It’s quite frustrating. Still, I guess it’ll work out in time. I have to learn how to be patient.

And so ends my first post from Arran. It really has come to pass!