tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines


One wide of my family has a thing about moving house. My parents moved about seven times between my birth and tenth birthday, the last being mainly due to my sister's growing problem with arthritis, whcih, coupled with the fact that no-one else wanted to buy the place, has pretty much kept them in the same spot ever since. My grandmother on my Dad's side has moved five times that I can remember, and from what I can tell has racked up houses well in to the twenties, if not thirties. Still, as she's in her 90s, this is at most an average of three years in each home, which is much better than I'm getting.

In five-and-a-half years in Brighton I'm now on my fifth flat. I've been in the Albion Hill area, Hove (two flats, one next door to the other), Hanover and now Seven Dials. Whilst all very interesting in that I'm sampling different parts of Brighton (and Hove) none of these moves have been my decision, all have been driven by the housing market, which in the South East of England and pretty much the whole of the UK has now reach ludicrous proportions. The basement flat where I've moved to is on the market for £149,000. That's for a one bedroom flat in a basement, i.e. with less light and harder to insure! The first flat I had to leave, three-and-a-half years ago, was about £85,000 and had two bedrooms and a balcony with a good view. I wish I'd had then the job I have now, I would have been able to buy it and probably sell it now for twice the price.

I can understand why I keep having to move - the owners of the flats I've been in are taking advantage of the highly inflated property market and selling their flats for a profit. Unfortunately I've been surfing the wave of landlords who are just about to get nervous enough to sell up before they think the market will go down. The last place was owned by a firm in Gibraltar, so they must really be sure the market has peaked. I do hope it has, at the current prices I'm never going to be able to buy somewhere to live, and I can't imagine there are many first time buyers out there that can, without resorting to the sort of mortgage you never actually pay back.

Anyway, the moving itself, on a practical level. Here's the recipe for my last move:

  • Give yourself slightly less time than you should have to prepare by accepting work for part of the week you'd put by to prepare. Make sure this work is a long way away so you can't do anything in the evenings.

  • Hire a van

  • Rope in a couple of mates (thanks Alex & Alex.) Preferrably with good Tetris skills to help with the packing.

  • Fill van, drive to new flat, placate traffic warden (thanks again Alex,) empty van.

  • Repeat until original flat empty, or van due back at the hire firm.

  • Have smattering of stuff still at old flat, and enough cleaning to do to take up the rest of the weekend.

Both Alexes were an enormous help with the move, and a special mention goes to Mr Farran, who cycled over from Lewes at the start of the day and back out at the end. His level of fitness really put myself and Mr Morris to shame.

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