Tuesday, 7 September 2021

I’m writing this on the sofa at my new place. What more can I say?

Moving day

RJS Removals were great - no messing about, no breakages, and they cleared the old flat in record time, giving me plenty of time to do a final clean-up and take the meter readings before handing over the keys.

Both sets of solicitors and agents were fine on the day, and indeed the keys to my new place were released to me at 11:36 AM. So rapid was this that I was still stuck on the Oxford ring road at that point, but having eventually located the agent’s anonymous office in Sandy Lane West, I was opening my new front door for the first time not long after mid day.

Unloading was all finished by 2.30PM and with some family help, 85% was unpacked by the end of the day after moving in.

The heroes and villains

I’m not going to name the firm of solicitors I used. Suffice it to say that using a reputable firm of locals was mostly a good experience except for the bits that weren’t, but I suspect I’d have had a much worse time with a cheaper or more distant lot.

Davis Tate were the selling agent for my flat - a middle of the road experience in my opinion, not a lot to like or dislike. I feel like it was worth more than I let it go for, but unquestionably the pandemic has dented the value of anything without a garden.

The aftermath

Certain family members called me moderately crazy for spending all the money in the world on a house I’d only viewed the inside of once. They weren’t wrong, but fortunately my first impression was accurate. 95% of what the previous owners have done by way of refurbishment is up to an excellent standard.

I didn’t have a floor plan with dimensions on it, but the measurements I took on that first visit were accurate, and if anything the size of some rooms has come as a welcome suprise. They were more generous in 1968 than they are today, for sure.

The only annoyance has been a chronic lack of sockets (only one double in a master bedroom, anyone?). However, the truth is that British sockets are designed to send up to 13 amps through a single outlet, so using a decent six, eight or even twelve way extension lead isn’t a safety issue (as long as you’re not hanging kettles and toasters or fan heaters off it), just an aesthetic one. And even that’s not too bad as you can probably disappear most of them behind furniture. One fine day I shall pay a sparky and a decorator to chop holes in the walls and double the number of outlets, but for the moment all is fine after some trips to Argos.

(Thankfully the place is new enough to be wired in PVC cabling not rubber, and the previous owners invested in a full RCBO “fuse box” where every breaker is its own RCD. No more ending up in the dark after tripping another circuit.)

Utilities and other small tragedies

Sadly my capitalist and quasi-libertarian views have not been softened by the admin of moving house.

In general, private sector organisations have been excellent, with 90% of them having an online form to fill in which allows the move to be registered out of hours without making a phone call.

Meanwhile in the public sector, the council failed to action the change of address for council tax (despite me filling in the form on their website a month in advance) and I had to navigate the phone system of hell to get a person to sort it all out.

The DVLA have been both excellent (new driving licence waiting on the mat when I moved in, applied for four days previously) and iffy (still waiting for a new V5C for my car after three weeks).

Oh, and Openreach have made a total hash of getting broadband installed, which has meant I’ve had to dangle my dongle over a gutter out back - but that’s a post in its own right. Coming soon!