Tag: moving

The times they are a-changing

Bob Dylan wrote this song and published an album with that title many years ago, ‘The times they are a—changing’.

As many of you, if not all of you, we as a family spent a lot of time evaluating things during Covid. From what we could do to the house, increase and change living space, to extensions. Are we living in the right area, will Brexit affect us, and what is the way forward? How and where do we want to spend the next 10 years of our lives. These questions and more went through most people’s heads during the pandemic.

My wife and I did the same. Given she is from Scotland, and that’s where we met many years ago, in Aberdeen, and I am from Germany, there could be two obvious choices.

To a cut a long story short, we made up our minds. Edinburgh it is. Back home for the wife, free universities, and a possibility to join the European Union (if ever so small). A city called ‘Athens of the North’ (although some say Paris), not much bigger than Brighton, on the coast with some amazing outdoor activities, lochs to explore and mountains to climb. We are all excited, although it took the boys a few days to get over the initial shock but they took it very well. And of course, we are close to the mother in law too. Germany just doesn’t seem to be a possibility for any of us to move to.

My biggest question was around ‘can I continue my career’, and it turns out that my current contract is very happy for me to move. Given the changes in the way we are working and companies being more open to remote working, and I am confident they will not change, location is less of an issue in the future. As a matter of fact, it hadn’t mattered whether I was working from just North of Brighton or Land’s End for the past year. Whilst I believe that I need access to the next job’s HQ, it might just be enough to do so every couple of weeks. If you look at our US friends, they work remotely for many years. And it works. My biggest fear was to not be close to London. All I am changing though is the access from 90 minutes door to door on a train, to a plane (maybe 2 hours all in) or early train (4 hours) – and the certainty that this will be less often. So I am sold, besides there are some very interesting start-ups and companies in Edinburgh too!

Plus, and I look forward to that, there is the chance to stay a few nights in London as I did in other European cities. This always allows for nice dinners, activities and enjoying a city properly. Something I haven’t been able to do in our current location as late night trains weren’t reliable.

Now the search begins. Which area to move to? Which house? Temporary accommodation? Schools, school intake? It is going to be a stressful time. With the lockdown easing, I cannot wait to spend some evenings back in the Scottish pubs, sample the local ale. Even for me, after many years in London and the South, it is a homecoming. I cannot wait.

And we have settled on an area for now, South Queensferry, and plans are firming up.

Will it all be better?
Will the grass be greener?

No, of course not. And to be honest, house prices are not too much different to where we live now. However, there will be some things that are better, some things that are worse. As always. Anywhere you go. At least we still got the same super markets, take-aways and language, so it will be very similar 😉

What I am looking forward to?

It’s the independence from London. A new beginning, new networking, and the access to a city with a culture that resonates with me. London got a bit too big and too far away from where we lived. As a close friend of mine said when we moved out here, it’s a long way out. And it is, particularly with a unreliable train service. I felt I didn’t have access to London as much as I would have liked. For the past 12 months I have been sitting in a room in front of a camera. This room could have been anywhere, but soon will be within throwing distance of mountains, outdoor, and the sea. We can pop up to my MIL for tea, see family and make new friends. The boys will have access to excellent and free education.

And I can’t wait to see an opera. Silly, because I don’t even like operas. But I could, if that makes sense. And then take a taxi home. Living quality just moved up a notch.

Our house in Hassocks is on the market, and the journey has begun. Come and buy, Hassocks is one of the 10 most sought after areas in the country!

We cleared out years of stuff, despite having done that already a year ago. It’s the ‘second round’ where you go a step further in terms of what you keep. We made cash on eBay and local selling sites. It’s liberating, and soothing to be honest. I find that anyway. It’s that time when you evaluate what’s important.

Anyway, here we go. Wish us luck. It might be quite a journey until we settle into our new place and got it the way we want. Time will tell they say, and we are confident we made the right decision.

And that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

See you around!
Volker

Sunday Column (170)

I am on holidays. Yes. I finally booked 2 weeks to move house, go to a friend’s wedding and sort out everything around the new house.

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And, it is Jubilee Weekend. A time people in the UK, and this includes myself, are proud to be (or to live in) British. I love the bunting all over town. It is good to see this country supports its monarchy, is proud of it and proud to be British. I suppose if I had a British passport, I would be too. I must be feeling more British than German by now.

Of course, me being off work, suggests that I might check my emails now and then or do some work. I have decided not to do that. On the one hand because I am in a situation at the moment where I don’t have to, and also I really need to chill out, disconnect and come back after 2 weeks to really rock in my new position at work (same job, don’t worry).

But enough about work. There is one single most important thing that happened this week that makes me most proud: Rohan finally started to walk. It is great to see him walking. Whilst wobbly he is great in getting around. And at a speed too! It is a lot of fun watching him going around, raising his hand saying “Hiya”. Nothing ever prepares you for kids, surely nothing ever prepared me for those little proud moments.

Colin is at a great age too. He had his last day at school on Friday. I managed to pick him up and I was quite sentimental and emotional. Such a lovely group, fantastic people who taught Colin so much over the last year. I hope the new school will be equally as good.

Besides that I had a busy week. I went to the dentist on Monday and will get a new filling coming Wednesday. I tried sorting out our invoice from the solicitor and estate agent and think that our estate agent in Beckenham (Alan de Maid) are useless. They are great when it comes to mortgage advice but any requests for invoices or even when they showed people around, making appointments was not a great experience. Hopefully our last move for a while we hope. Anyway, we are now waiting for the final bill from the solicitor which should come next week – that is from the solicitor Country Wide – again a call centre approach which takes forever to get anything sorted. We will have to deal with them for a while as we need to claim some land. However, until you actually start working with solicitors and estate agents you don’t know what they are like. Enough, we finally move! And in a weeks time I would have forgotten why I think that they still owe us £75….

I guess the secret is that you should not get wound up about things. Particularly when purchasing a house this is easily done. Also when travelling. I went to Rome this week. Due to some cancelled meetings I managed to see St. Peter’s cathedral and a client took us to the Colosseum. It was hot, we had good food, I saw a lot, I got a lot of work done, and I came back home on Thursday at 22.30. Do I mind? No – I actually really enjoyed this trip as it was a very successful one. And that matters to me. I have never been to Rome before, so it showed me another nice Mediterranean country’s capital and the roots of “civilisation”. Definitely a place worth visiting with more time to do some proper sight seeing.

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Rome airport however is very busy and seems very unorganised. It is fascinating though to see so many people going places. The shopping malls at the airport, the different nationalities and reasons to travel. You can meet some interesting people that way.

On Saturday we celebrated Colin’s birthday party. A few days early but we wanted to do it before the move. It was good to see so many folk and catch up. Now we can concentrate on packing bits and bobs and move next week. Nothing else matters. Hopefully the next Sunday Column will be written in Hassocks.

Have a great week, a fantastic bank holiday weekend.

Volker