Ready to go

Once we had finished working we had three months before the completion date for our house. The first thing was to book the flights - this time just one way tickets!

When we got down to six weeks we set out lists for each week of what we had to do, pinned them on the wall and ticked the items off as we completed them. The hardest part was getting rid of the last items of furniture which we weren't going to take but which we needed whilst we still lived in the house in England. It is increasingly difficult to even find charities which will collect and take away furniture. We eventually found one though who were brilliant. They came one week but couldn't take everything so they arranged to come back the next week for the rest. We also had some lucky breaks. When we tried to disconnect the dishwasher the water tap wouldn't close. The plumber who came to fix it not only sorted out the problem but bought the larder fridge off us. A friend nearby took the lawnmower and the patio heater and our neighbour had the extending ladders. A colleague from work came to take the hedge trimmers and ended up taking half a dozen other items as well. The charity shop where we had taken a lot of stuff couldn't take large items but had a contact who could. He took the dishwasher, the tumble dryer and quite a lot of furniture in his little Suzuki van. The only items we couldn't get rid of were a long john sideboard and an old chest freezer. We eventually left them outside the house and arranged for he council to remove them once we had gone.

We researched removal firms that would transport our goods to Spain and came up with three local firms that we thought sounded OK. Some of the companies manage the move completely themselves i.e. they use their own people to pack, transport and deliver the goods. Others sub contract the work loading the goods into containers to be re-distributed once they are in Spain. We felt that it would be better to use a company that covered the whole move from door to door. Any problems that we might have would then have been resolved by the company we had booked.

A very expensive element of the cost is insurance. In our case this represented over £500 of the total bill. WIth a journey of over 1000 miles including a sea crossing the potential for a serious problem was a risk that we couldn't take.

We used Brittania Cestrian in the end. They weren't the cheapest but the rep who came impressed us with his thoroughness. He showed us examples of the materials that they used and itemised everything that would be included in the price. All of these companies work on volume and is therefore important to get the volume right otherwise the final bill could end up very different to the original quote.

It took them two and a half days to pack all of our items. Anything that was delicate was wrapped in generous quantities of new tissue paper. Clothes were neatly folded and laid flat so that they wouldn't crease. Pictures and ornaments were wrapped in plastic coated bubble wrap. Each box was labeled, numbered and listed on the itinerary. Once everything was packed it was all checked and loaded onto their van. There were over 200 boxes and items to transport not including the furniture that came from Marks and Spencer. It was therefore very important to make sure that the boxes were labeled sensibly to give us a good idea where everything was when we arrived in Spain.

Originally we were to have one large load on a road train but there was a problem with the vehicle so we had one and a half loads on smaller vehicles. The part load was held up by a rough crossing of the channel which gave us time to unpack a lot of the full load and thus get rid of the boxes that it came in. The drivers and the salesman phoned us regularly to let us know where they were and when they expected to arrive. We had to get rid of the rest of the boxes by taking them a few at a time down to the bins.



Our house in March
Box city
Pool construction





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