Friday, 20 July 2012

Well that’s the first few steps of our great adventure over.

Amazing how much you can get in a Prius
Premier Inn Ipswich

We completed the sale of the house in Southport last week and headed down to Suffolk with the car heaped high with all the essentials for our next four months whilst all our non-essential possessions headed into store. We felt like a couple of tramps turning up at the Premier Inn in Ipswich after a first night stay at a Days Inn on the M6. But we had little choice as we needed to appoint a builder for the work in Framlingham as quickly as possible or risk pushing the start date for the renovations back even further.

We got the builder appointed by Friday and made good progress with the kitchen, windows, outside office and interior design so we’re looking at the work starting in less than three weeks when the house will begin getting knocked about. Before then we’ve got to try and come up with some bathroom ideas which is not easy as the rooms are very small and we’ve little scope for mistakes.

The beautiful art nouveau frontage to Norwich Royal Arcade

We even found time to do a bit of sightseeing at the weekend and visited the renowned Anchor at Walberswick for a fabulous fish lunch before taking the rowing boat ferry across to Southwold where we enjoyed a walk down the pier and around the town. On Saturday we had a look around Norwich – what a great city!  There’s a great variety of shops, a wonderful market, a castle, loads of places to eat, modern shopping malls, old shopping lanes, independent bookshops (and a good Waterstones) and so much more. We’ll certainly be making regular visits when we finally get to live in East Anglia.

After the relative peace of the weekend we sorted out the giant Leylandii in our new garden that was offending our neighbours; we had it felled at a cost of well over £300 and we hope it’s earned us a foot on the ladder of acceptance in our new neighbourhood. There’s no longer any chance of the tree causing us future disputes. Leylandii have been at the centre of so many huge rows between neighbours; I’ve seen it referred to as “the tree at the centre of suburban warfare” and it’s no surprise – they grow to phenomenal heights.

After that it was back on the road again and that meant another Premier Inn; this time it was Rochester where Paul and Josephine have just bought their new house. It’s a super old Grade 2 listed building with lots of big rooms (their house that is not the Premier Inn) and it’s a perfect new home for our furniture that either won’t fit in our new place or won’t suit its more modern style. It was fortuitous that Paul and Josephine’s purchase came within a few days of our sale so the Rochester house will be furnished and ready for them to move into as soon as yet another huge event (the birth of their first baby) happens.

After we oversaw the delivery of the furniture (well done McDowells Removals – can’t recommend them highly enough) Josephine and her mum Jenny came and we spent some time together getting things unpacked.

Marion Jenny And Josephine At The Rochester House

It was our thirty-sixth wedding anniversary and we got this super bottle of champagne from Paul and Josephine. Although they bought us some picnic flutes to drink it from, the Premier Inn rooms don’t run to a fridge, so we’ve saved it for this weekend. It was strange being within a stone’s throw of where we got married (Chatham) on our anniversary. We didn’t feel up to going out as we were tired and our clothes were starting to look a bit of a mess so we dined in the Premier Inn. It was only regular chain restaurant stuff but it was served with a smile and was perfectly acceptable.

That night we had the chance to check out Premier Inn’s good night sleep guarantee. We were in one of those rooms that links to another by way of a door. And behind that door was someone who managed to snore loudly from around 2am until we got up at 6.30. I told the receptionist and within a couple of minutes my £65 was refunded with no fuss whatsoever (I managed to record the snoring on my phone but although the receptionist listened to the recording I am sure that he would have taken my word alone). So, well done Premier Inn. We stayed with them for seven nights in all and if you are looking for a budget hotel chain with clean rooms, friendly service and okay food you don’t need to look any further.

After our sleepless night we took delivery of a bed at the Rochester house and then set off back up north – after a delay when we witnessed a minor accident and stopped to help out. We made a brief stop at a kitchen showroom in Ipswich and then headed to St Andrews where we managed to get our head down in the caravan before 1am.

As we unpacked the car this morning the car seemed to groan with relief and it finally looks like a car again. Now we're looking forward to some quality time with Sarah, Duncan and Rose.