Tonight's blog is about our foolish attempt to move house and the catastrophes that followed.
This summer we embarked on the great move from Reading;
where we had been at Uni for 5 years, up to Bradford in Yorkshire. This is how the first conversation back in March went.
“You know we always talked about moving up North?”
“Maybe now we are having a baby we should think about where we want to live long term and maybe buy a nice house?”
“Yes good idea, somewhere nicer than this place. By the way there were 5 more slugs in the kitchen last night. I caught 4 of them but one had slimed it’s way back behind the bin so I just left him”
“Yeah okay we need to move don't we? We could afford a much nicer house if we moved up north and we’d be close to family which will be nice when the baby arrives. But do you think trying to move to a different part of the country, transfer jobs and decorate a new house and the baby’s room will be difficult while I’m pregnant? What about switching midwives/hospitals?”
“Nah it’ll be alright, that lady in John Lewis said loads of people move just before they have a baby, they obviously all cope alright”.
“Okay let’s do it” they naively thought as they still had 32 weeks until the due date and how hard can moving house really be.
Oooh you’re mad, everyone said. You’ll get stressed. You’ll be too big and tired to do anything by the end. Won’t it be difficult? Maybe you should wait until after the baby is here.
Just a word of advice to anybody that wants to move into a newly built house, IT’S QUITE DIFFICULT ACTUALLY. I’d heard that moving house was the most stressful thing you could do and we have both experienced stressful situations before anyway (no, turns out we hadn’t), but when it’s a new build and it’s all ready for you, surely the moving process can’t be that bad?. Well it wasn’t, it was fine. We had a lot of help from family and we spent a lot of money on curtains and crap, but really we had that house ready within a week, bar a few lampshades. Moving house wasn’t the problem. But God forbid you should want to buy a new one. Guess what? YOUR ADDRESS DOESN’T EXIST YET. Isn’t that funny. You assume it will. Maybe the house builder will register it with Royal Mail as it’s being built? Maybe as they have done this thousands of times before with thousands of new houses up and down the country, they will have a process? It will be done on the day we complete and we’ll have a flurry of cards come in the next day from a cheery postman. We were so optimistic. So hopeful. Such twats.
I shouldn’t complain really. We are lucky enough to have bought a beautiful house near family, and have been able to move in before the baby arrives. But you know what really fucks me off more than anything else? Being inconvenienced ever so slightly. Must be the Brit in me. We don't deal very well with inconvenience do we. I could have dealt with a disaster, if things hadn’t gone to plan. I could have dealt with us having to rent for another year, even having to stay in Reading on our own with no support. I could have coped if the baby came mid move and he had to sleep in the dog bed for a while. In Sweden their babies sleep in boxes for the first month anyway, and if there is ever a region to aspire to, then surely it should be Scandinavia.
But no, instead of a variety of catastrophes that could have presented themselves, the worst that the universe could offer us was the slight inconvenience that came with our address not existing. I want to blame Royal Mail. Or the house builders. Maybe I want to blame my husband, or my parents. Perhaps Donald Trump. Must be partly down to him mustn't it? Really I don’t know who is at fault, but when you are 34 weeks pregnant and things aren’t going EXACTLY to plan, it can be a little upsetting (imagine a slightly swollen beached whale sitting in bed propped up by all the pillows in the house, sobbing and throwing snotty tissues embarrassingly far away from the bin). That is what you are doing to me on a daily basis Royal Mail.
Here is the list of things that went wrong over the last 2 months from the day we got the keys to our new house (I have used copy and paste a few times when writing this – can you tell?)
Important documents got lost in the post
Important documents got lost in the post
Important documents got lost in the post
Royal Mail could not register our new address, so for the next month IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS WERE LOST IN THE POST.
We discovered that the home insurance that our mortgage advisor had set up was for our old house and was never activated. Cue mad rush to insure the house before it burns down. Our new address was not recognised on any system so nothing could be set up, ordered or changed. Important documents got lost in the post.
I pulled out all of my hair and threw it at a Royal Mail worker. But alas, they would still not register the address.
£200 worth of Mothercare stuff got 'delivered' and signed for by Dan, but was nowhere to be seen. After a week of frantic phone calls it turns out Yodel have a secret system where this is actually code for ‘the driver couldn’t be fucked to find your house or call your mobile so he signed for it himself, clocked off work early and went down the pub for a beer. The cot bed mattress you ordered has been sitting here at the depot for a week and we might have a few other parcels for you too. You didn’t think anybody would actually want to steal your boring order of nappies and flannels did you? Feel free to come and pick it up but you will need to bring proof of your new address which we know you don’t have. Hahaha. You stupid woman for ordering something to a new house. Your poor baby would be better off with somebody who had the foresight to buy a house which already existed. Better send him off to Sweden in a box when he’s born. Dan can deliver the parcel for you if you’d like.'
Midwives don’t want to see me because I’m not registered in our new area.
Midwives in Reading don’t want to see me because I’ve registered in a new area.
The baby decides this is a good time to scare me and send me to hospital for a check up. But we aren’t registered there yet. Nobody can understand the situation of why we aren’t registered. We are the laughing stock of Bradford Royal Infirmary and the team of community midwives. What fools to move areas mid pregnancy they chuckle, as they pretend to make new paperwork for you.
I tried to register at the doctor’s surgery but they can’t recognise our new address. They try and send a letter to confirm it. Important documents get lost in the post.
Suddenly one glorious day we receive 18 cards in the post, we must be registered we think! I feel like sending a cake to Betty from Royal Mail and an apology card for calling her an inconsiderate shitface. But I don’t because it would probably get lost. In a frenzy of excitement we change our address for various important documents including driving licences. Hurrah. Haven’t had this much fun since the baby was conceived.
We await the important documents with anticipation. 2 weeks go by. No post.
Important documents got lost in the post.
We receive a letter that was sent 31 days ago. What a long journey it must have had from the doctor’s surgery up the road to our house less than 5 minutes away. Oh the places it must have been, the things it must have seen. What a shame that the appointment they were offering me had been and gone. Alas, you can’t expect to be seen by a doctor or a midwife easily when you’re pregnant and in the middle of moving. That’s all part of the fun though.
We bought a new car – how exciting. Turns out the day before we pick it up it had been sold to someone else. So we choose a different car, telling ourselves we liked this one more anyway, as it’s green. They send us all the important registration documents to the new house. Well, they tried. Important documents got lost in the post.
We are now waiting on a total of 17 missing items. I even have a note on my phone that I look at daily. I am keeping track but it makes me want to sob. But it’s okay because one letter made it through. The fucking council tax bill. We aren’t eligible to register to vote because our address doesn’t exist, but SOMEHOW Bradford Council have managed to get that bill to us and we have 7 days to pay. Maybe they found a carrier pigeon with a fantastic sense of direction? Maybe they used Dan from Yodel but bribed him to actually deliver the letter before he sodded off down the pub. Maybe it was hand delivered by the head of Royal Mail as he chuckled to himself about all the seemingly unimportant new home cards and birthday cards they had stashed away and kept from us. Or the completely insignificant envelopes containing our driving licences, our car registration documents, our mortgage documents, our bills, insurance confirmations, my bloody PGCE degree certificate.
If one thing makes it through their letterbox, he must have thought to himself as he battled wind and snow down the treacherous row of 5 houses and up our drive to the front door, if one thing is really important for them to receive, even if I die delivering it, and Dan and the carrier pigeon must too give their sad and meaningless lives for this honourable cause, at least this will all be worth it so the newest residents of lost post lane can have their shitting council tax bill.