Leaving Australia began to feel a bit more real this past week. I have booked the movers to come and pack up the household goods and ship them back to the UK — in a VERY few weeks. Yikes!
Several of you have asked if that means we plan to live in Great Britain — but truthfully, we don’t know where we want to resettle. We’re starting in England and sending our ‘stuff’ there because that’s Mark’s passport country. Are we more likely to end up living in one of the EU countries? Quite possibly.
We are very open-minded right now and since we’ve been away from Europe for three years, we plan to do short term work contracts and travel through several countries BEFORE we make a final decision.
Boxes, boxes, boxes and mountains of bubble-wrap and shipping tape. THAT is what will take up at least 50% of each day for the next few weeks. And we have to do a long list of pre-departure things like new glasses, dental cleaning, getting our medical records, donating things to charity, and a big garage sale. And did I mention packing – packing – packing?
Packing boxes — ready to load!
We’ve gone from a gorgeously tidy house as people viewed it for a few weeks prior to sale to stacks of boxes and bubble-wrapped artwork lining the walls of the hallway. I’m still wrapping my head around it!
It’s been a challenge — being back in Australia after living in Europe. We returned to find the social and political climate had changed significantly — and it wasn’t our ‘cup of tea’ any longer.
We had a plan and we’ve stuck to it — even if it did all take a bit longer to unfold than expected. We bought a fixer-upper house in a charming and established neighbourhood — a practically derelict 1950 house on a 1/4 acre lot with mature trees. And yes, it was that classic real estate cliche — the worst house on a good street.
The goal was to fix it up and sell it and then head back to Europe. But my oh my — didn’t 60 hour work weeks (on top of the renovations) and BREXIT and other kerfuffles add to the stress.
The house was completed and listed for sale in early July — and 7 weeks later we had an unconditional sale. Now the gritty part begins — deciding what to sell, what to keep, and then the flurry of packing boxes and bubble-wrap appears again. There will be happy moments and wistful moments and we know that it’s all part of the process of getting us BACK to a continent where our hearts are happy and we resonate with the look, smell, art, history, and social ethics of the place.
So wish us luck as we transition away from this quite beautiful Mid-Century house and off to the unknown! I’ll post progress updates along the way — and there will be some REALLY big news in the next few weeks about my simultaneous project (as if I didn’t have enough on my plate!) of launching an entire trilogy into the Amazon universe plus re-issuing 2 previous books that have unexpectedly gained ‘traction’ again.
Wrapping up the last week of life in France was incredibly compressed. But I am happy to report that we are safely home in Norfolk at Mark’s parents’ house. What a trip back though! I thought the 10-plus hours of travelling on Friday was bad — on Saturday we did 12 hours.
We drove through a full day of torrential rain that the windshield wipers barely kept up with on Friday. And may I just say that spending just short of THREE HOURS in wall to wall traffic on the Paris ring road was not a happy experience! The next day we had to deal with a really scary hail and ice storm in northern France which turned to snow just before we got to Calais. There were lots of car accidents north of Paris and we were driving slowly to be sensible and safe.
Then due to the weather, the P&O Ferry sailed from Calais to Dover an hour late in gale force winds. Thank heavens for motion sickness pills! After that we had another three hours of driving from Dover up to Norfolk. There was just enough ice on the road up here that Mark skidded the car a bit a mere 1 km from his parents’ house. Whew!
Gosh I slept hard — and so did Mark. We’ve had a marvelous and restorative day so far, a scrumptious brunch out, my darling mother-in-law is cooking pork roast for dinner, and after the movers arrive tomorrow we’re going to start looking for a new van for driving on the UK side of the road.
I took some wonderful photos at a museum outside Paris yesterday and I will try to start posting those — and the other huge backlog of articles and photos from the last month — in the coming week. Be patient — we’re taking it a day at a time right now and trying to get quite a LOT accomplished in a very short time.
Life is good, we’re happy to be back, and we’ll keep everyone posted!