Leaving on a Jet plane, don't know when we'll be back again:

Common consent is that moving house is one of the most stressful things in life – well I guess I must be one of the most stressed people around – having moved houses 13 times but I don't think so (other people might but I don't). It's just a matter of lists – and moving countries is just making extra lists which have a few extra things on. So this move - from the house in the UK to the boat in the Caribbean – promised to be ‘just another move'. Stressed? Absolutely not! However my body told me differently – by developing a huge abscess on my arm for goodness sake – where did that come from – I've never had an abscess in my life before! Anyway nothing that 2 weeks of strong antibiotics and minor surgery can't fix – even if it was just 10 days before we were due to leave!

We began by saying goodbye to all those people who we haven't even said hello to in a good while – catching up with old friends before leaving them again – sure fire way to be spoiled rotten and have a good time and it always just seems like we've never been apart! Then there are all the other local friends – they can wait until last – we know we'll have a good time with them - and family………well what can I say? We've left family before and moved to the other side of the world but that was leaving parents – this time we're leaving children (OK so what if they are adult children with their own full lives to lead and lovely partners and a whole support network around them) they're still our children! And it hurts. Yes I know we can email and text and skype and fly back within 24 hours if we need to and yes I guess knowing all that and the fact that they think what we're doing is fantastic and just try to stop them coming to see us…….. it all helps – a bit……..

Next the house and it's contents – not only am I good at lists, I'm also very good at filing – only took us 3 days to shred all that paperwork I'd been very carefully filing away – the poor shredder kept getting so hot it would cut out and we'd have to go and have a cup of tea until it cooled down again! So a salutary note to all those of you who like to be organised and haven't moved for many years – have a good clear out now and then – it really is cathartic (honest)

The hardest thing to decide was what to take – what would we really need living on a boat – I spent a day piling absolutely necessary, can't do without, things up and then 2 weeks taking things off the pile but then putting things back - I had to absolutely have that with me and ooh I'd better just take those in case and I must make sure I have enough of these… I left Matt to sort out his ‘necessary' things whilst I went off on a 3 day first aid course. When I came back, Matt's absolutely necessary items were stock piled in the middle of the garage – I couldn't lift most of them! So he had another little sort out (and I do mean little) and finally 2 days and 14 boxes later (yes I did say 14) we were ready for the shippers to come.

Then there was all those little treasures we really want to keep – so we packed them away in the attic – now imagine if all goes to plan and we're away for several years – even twenty maybe – how delighted we're going to be to come back to unpack all those Marchwood Yacht Club glasses! The furniture was another matter – the most treasured things went to the kids whilst things which they did not consider as treasures or couldn't fit into their houses just had to go out. We were like Woolworths – closing down – everything must go! It was all very carefully planned so we didn't have too long to spend in a zen house with two garden chairs and a laptop (and of course the crate of fosters). Zen lounge

Dealing with BT and Tiscali for the telephone and broadband was a totally different matter however – now they certainly could cause the most laid back person to pull his hair out. Anyway despite all that we managed to have a bed until the last day (but thank you to those dear friends who did offer to put us up – we may take you up on those offers one day!) So as the daffodils pushed up through the ground and the weak spring sun went down over the horizon we say goodbye to our old life and head off to the tropical sun to the start of a new adventure………………To those people we never got to say goodbye to – we'll raise a glass to you and by the time you read this if all has gone to plan we'll be doing just that!

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