Juggling the Admiral, two teenagers and estate agents - Diary of a Sussex Newbie

Moving is generally accepted as being one of the most stressful things you can do in life. Bizarrely I quite enjoy it.

Moving house
Moving house

There’s nothing quite like a meaty project to manage.

Our initial move to Sussex went like clockwork, but, fairly soon after we were on the move again to our permanent home here and this move tested even my enjoyment levels to the full.

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Ridiculously we were only moving five minutes down the road.

We thought therefore that it would be a piece of cake and didn’t compute that moving, is moving, is moving, whether you’re moving five minutes down the road, or five hours up the motorway.

We also had an added ingredient to spice things up. It wasn’t just us moving.

We were combining forces with The Admiral (aka Grandpa) who would spend part of his time here in Sussex, in an annexe to our home.

And the logistical planning was akin to that of a 2nd World War battle plan: moving vans from three addresses, variations on surnames, the Admiral’s mal-functioning hearing aids, plus two teenagers who were ‘too busy with GCSE’s’ to get at all involved.

Despite all the above, the abiding memory I have of D-day is when a friend rang at 9am ie peak stress time, to say she’d spied Devoted Doctor sitting stationary on his (much beloved) motorbike (which rests un-used in the garage for 361 days of the year), in his slippers, in the middle of the village hall car park, in the pouring rain...

The fuss and bother that went into the motorbike’s move far surpassed the rest of the combined family’s move put together.

What time would be best to drive the bike over to the new house? Should it go before or after the moving van?

Where would be the safest place for it to sit once at the new abode so as to avoid being knocked?

Having discussed the bike’s welfare in some detail, over a period of weeks in the run up to D-day, what we had of course not factored in were some minor logistical details which would be crucial to the mission i.e. where would Devoted Doctor’s helmet and bike keys be, and more importantly, where would his shoes be, come 7.30am on D-day?

The entire (not modest) collection of Devoted Doctor’s shoes had vanished. Clearly the movers had, last thing the evening, before packed away every pair of his shoes into one of the 100s of identical brown packing cases that littered the floor. So, out in his slippers he went.

I exaggerate not when I say that Devoted Doctor disappeared for nearly two hours that morning. In the pouring rain. On his bike. In his slippers.

It wasn’t until later we realised he’d been stuck there in the car park, sitting on top of his beloved bike, absolutely sodden, for over an hour.

For the moving van had reached the new house before him and was so enormous that it had completely blocked the driveway and he was therefore stuck.

I was left to juggle the Admiral, the two teenagers, the various moving teams and the estate agents.

Well we’re here, and settled, but the bike is no more.

After many years he’s decided his biking days are over. The leafy lanes ‘aren’t as conducive to motorbike riding’ and he’s gone low tech and healthy, preferring instead pedal power. I’m secretly relieved. And that’s one less stress if and when we’re on the move again!

Marah Winn is a former London resident who has recently settled in Sussex.