NW6 to NW11: Two kids, a grand piano and a truckload of stuff

So it seems just ridiculous that we made our Big Move up the Finchley Road, from Flat to House two and a half months ago now and I still haven’t blogged it, but that’s pretty much my pace at this blogging thing. So here we are in mid-October, having moved on 2nd August and it’s time for a little retrospective….

You probably all know, because I whinged on and on about it, that we had to up sticks at short notice and move out of our three bed flat on Broadhurst Gardens, NW6 (and area I LOVE, by the way) and you’ll know if you read my bi-monthly posts that we found a great house just up the road in Childs Hill, with plenty of space, a playroom for the boys and a garden, for not a wildly different amount to what we were paying in rent for our old place! We couldn’t quite believe our luck, yet here we are two months later actually living here.

Meanwhile, we had to get all our stuff out of one place, and into another. So somebody had to pack. And that somebody was my husband. I was in Cornwall, sunning myself with the boys, attending my grandmother’s funeral and getting emotional about the move. Because that’s what I’m good at. My husband is good at packing. Now that’s teamwork 😉

Gabriel’s Space Party was really the last day we properly lived in the flat with our stuff around us and knowing this I took some photos around the place in the aftermath of the clear-up that evening (while watching Andy Murray win his Wimbledon Final). I had a good look around and tried so hard to take it all in and store it in my memory properly, because my God, we had a good six years here, and how many memories were made here and how much we loved this place:

The following day we packed for Cornwall and the next time I saw the place, it looked like this:

Watching the piano movers trying to squeeze our Steinway Grand round the spiral stairwell was nerve-wracking:

And then the amazing people from Alexanders Removals turned up. These guys were the best removal men I could ever imagine. They were quick, careful, friendly and when we bought them lunch and coffee half way through the packing they were so sweet and gave me a little pep-talk (I was very emotional that day!) and were really understanding. We couldn’t have wished for a better experience. Moving is a stressful nightmare, but if you have to move, use them!

Then we were left to lock up:

 

My eyes looked upon empty rooms, but my brain saw this:

 

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As if one goodbye wasn’t enough for the day, that morning I got a call from Gabriel’s former nursery mentor, asking was I coming to the “Graduation Ceremony” today for the ones leaving for Primary School? I hadn’t known anything about it!! But there was no way I could let Gabs miss it, it would have broken my heart so even though it was a major inconvenience and Remus wasn’t that happy for me to bail on him mid-move, I took Gabs for his last goodbye to all his friends and teachers. It was so worth it:

By the time we got back (to the new house, not the old!) the removers had unpacked almost everything and were about to leave and we were left with the very, very long road of unpacking and settling in ahead.

So long Flat 3.... Thank you for the memories.

So long Flat 3…. Thank you for the memories.

Change is in the air…

… Lots & lots of change!

Maybe the most change that’s happened in one condensed period of time in my life. Life changes appearing like long awaited buses, three, five, six at a time. It’s quite, quite unsettling but also exciting, if I can keep my head!

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A couple of months ago, when I was feeling very emotional about something, I forget what now (and anyway, I’m always emotional so it’s hardly news) Remus said to me that he felt we were coming to the end of a long cycle in our lives but the new one hadn’t started yet so we were in this transition phase, a state of limbo which was making me feel unsettled as if some metaphysical rug had been pulled out from under my feet. (One of the many reasons I adore my husband so much: He totally “gets” me and my unseen emotional phases, like the moon! He’s awesome.) I don’t know where he got that from but little did we know at the time how right he was.

Now, in July the previously unseen is starting to appear in the form of many, many changes all coming at once. Some of them planned and others more surprising. The first week of July was a busy and emotional one, starting with my 33rd Birthday on 1st, which was also my last acting class at GFCA before the summer, where I had to perform part of the seduction scene from ‘The Graduate’ (playing Mrs Robinson felt appropriate somehow as I turned another year older *sigh*). Then the 4th was Gabriel’s 4th birthday and his very first visit into Holy Trinity Primary School to meet his reception class, followed by his last ever day at nursery. He has been at Active Learning West Hampstead on Tuesdays and Fridays for the last three years, he absolutely loved it, was so happy there making good friends who have stayed with him through the years and I kept having flashbacks all day to his first days there when he was just one year old, all the times of picking him up and dropping him off and the ten minute walk along the road having our little chats. It really felt like the end of an era and his teacher and I both cried!! At least little brother Lucian is still there so he can come with me to drop him off and visit.

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A teary Sabina with Gabs!

The next day, Saturday 6th July was Gabs’ 4th Birthday Space Party!! The theme was the solar system so I was up hugely late hanging planets from the ceiling and blowing up balloons. He had a wonderful time but somehow despite having the wonderful Natalie Hope from West End Bubbles doing ALL the entertaining for me I still wound up completely exhausted! It was probably the heat and the prosecco… I’ll blog about the party properly later.

I have completely failed to mention that while all this was going on we were waiting for news that we have to leave our home, the flat we have lived in for the last six years, pre-marriage and babies until now. Due to ongoing damp problems in the building combined with damage caused by a serious leak in one of the other flats, we discovered a huge amount of water inside the walls and under the floors and toxic chemicals building up meaning we have to leave imminently. While not exactly a shock, it had been weeks of surveyors and insurance companies visiting and mixed messages – you can stay, you have to leave, you can stay, etc. etc. – so we didn’t really believe it would happen, until last week we were told the flat is unsafe, needs gutting and we have to be out by September. Well, Remus is on tour in September and Gabs starts school. We have to be settled in a new place before then, so it dawned on us, just a few days before our summer holiday in Cornwall was due to start that we have to get out, like, NOW!

Would you believe it, two days later on Gabi’s birthday, we found a house?! Not too far from where we are now, and a HOUSE! With a garden and everything. It’s been a hell of a stress getting the paperwork sorted so we can legally leave and get into the new place but we have somewhere and Remus has already boxed up most of our life and we are definitely going. So goodbye to Broadhurst Gdns and the place we moved into newly engaged, the place I got dressed for my wedding in, suffered morning sickness and heaved my enormous pregnant belly around in, brought my babies home to and watched them grow, where one big brother met his new little brother for the very first time. It’s all happened so fast and I can hardly believe it but somehow I also feel so ready and convinced we’ll be happy in our new place. The boys will have a play room!! It has a separate kitchen! No more shouting at the boys to shut-up because Daddy’s teaching and putting them to bed late because their room’s next to the teaching room and keeping them cooped-up indoors! This can only be good for us! But it’s the end of an era…

So, the house found we decided we could afford to pack up and come down to Cornwall to my parents’ place as planned and sort the move out when we got back. The plan was that Remus would come for the first week then return to work and pack for the move, without the boys under his feet, and I would stay down here (I’m at my Mum and Dad’s now) for another couple of weeks. But sadly, the next morning we we woke up to the news that my wee Grannie B, my Dad’s mum and last remaining grandparent, had passed away (she’d been really poorly for a while). So we gave the boys a full day on the beach, planned what is a really tricky journey with two small kids, logistically, and set off to N. Ireland. It meant a lot to me that we all go, as none of my family over there had met Remus and the boys yet and I know it was really important for my Dad that we were all there. In fact, we made it like a holiday adventure for the boys and they loved it, but it was two days travelling each way and a hell of a lot of driving for us and time in the car for them and poor Remus’ only week’s holiday all summer was gone. No beach, no resting and no anniversary dinner/drinks by the sea for us! Poor man. He works far too hard and I wish so much he had his holiday, but I’m so glad we were all there to pay our last to my amazing wee Grannie, who had 11 children, 16 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren and without whom I wouldn’t be here! But yes, another change and another thing to get used to.

But for now, I’m having a lovely holiday in the Cornish sun with my boys while Remus packs our entire life up ready for the removals lorry. There are more changes afoot in my career/what I do with my days now Gabs will be at school and Luci is bigger but right now, I have to go to sleep, as tomorrow another landmark event: I get attuned to Reiki Level I, something I have wanted for years and I am so excited about. It’s a big deal so I need a good night’s sleep. Good night all.

Coco xx