We have some Very Excellent Friends.
Right now, for instance, I'm sitting at Brian's Mac (one of those very lovely self-contained flat-screen jobbies with the hard drive in the monitor), the keys to his flat on my keyring and the run of the place while he's away in Wales. Clare's taken the kids to Hove Park and I have a few stolen minutes in which to blog.
It's been a bit of a week.
First, we had to wrestle a Completion date out of our sale. (Not easily done, even though the buyer's a first timer with no chain.) We were supposed to Exchange a week ago last Thursday. Then the Friday. Then early last week. We needed this date so we could book a removal company - in August - the busiest month of the year for removal companies - and a ferry crossing. So we can get on with our lives (the daughter's supposed to be going to school in a couple of weeks!).
Then there's the eversoslightly sensitive issue about the money we owe the bank. You'll remember, if you've been reading this chronologically (I wonder how many people do that), that I extended my overdraft to buy our new used car, assuring the bank they'd have a huge pile of cash on June 21st. Didn't happen. Then I extended until the end of July, assuming we'd definitely be goners by then. Weren't. So I got a final, if frosty, extension until the 15th of this month.
With solicitors incapable of making firm commitments and sticking to them, it was time to make a move.
At short notice, our removal company of choice (GB Liners, if you really must know) could only pick our stuff up on Friday. Which only gave us only a couple of days to pack up the house, finish the yurt cover we're sleeping under next week, wash all our stuff, buy anything we didn't have... you get the picture. I don't know what Clare had in mind, but she didn't seem too happy when I asked her to help me empty the loft at 10.30 on Thursday night.
Friday was mental, as you can imagine. Not just clearing the house, but emptying our (Big Box) storage space of yurts, sewing machines, recycled wool insulation et cetera. By four o'clock, absolutely everything we don't absolutely need for the next few months was gone, waiting in Brighton for us to find it somewhere to stay in France.
Last night, I booked the ferry crossing. Tuesday. Overnight from Portsmouth to St Malo, with a cabin with a porthole.
Tuesday. You read it here first. We're supposed to be Exchanging and Completing on the same day. But it's hard to believe when we've lost complete faith in the process. Don't get me wrong. Our estate agents (Brand Vaughan) have been superb. Our buyers, old and new, have done everything they can. It's just that selling a house in England is rubbish. Even worse than buying a coffee in Pret a Manger during rush hour. You can see where things are going wrong - it's clearly unfair and in need of improvement - but no one seems to be doing anything about it.
All we can do between now and then, apart from tidy the house - which looks better now than it ever has - is enjoy our holiday in Hove and the generosity of friends. (This is not the only place we've been offered for the weekend.) Like I said, Very Excellent people.
(Clare just phoned from the park. The friend she was seeing just offered to look after the daughter for the rest of the day. Excellent.)