Lots of people thought we were bonkers moving before Christmas. What lots of people did not realise was, we didn't really have a choice. Our landlady issued our official notice which expired in December 2020. Although she also texted and explained the letter was a paperwork exercise, it did feel like we were sitting on a ticking time bomb.
The estate agents trickled through the house, the photographs were taken, the For Sale board was erected. I fought back tears when I saw pictures of our lovely home listed on the internet. It was brutal.
I can't tell you how many hours I spent viewing properties online, chasing agents, staring at the ceiling in bed, unable to sleep, a million thoughts and worries whirling through my exhausted brain.
Because not only did we love our cottage, we loved the village it was situated in. I can honestly say the seven years we spent in Ingrave were some of the happiest days of my life. And not a single day passed when I did not feel lucky and grateful.
There literally was not another property to rent in Ingrave, in all the time we looked, and we were warned it would be a rare occurrence. It's a small village and most property is large and expensive, thus, even if a rental did become available, we knew it would probably be out of our price range. It was sickening that we didn't have enough money to buy the cottage, it would have been the perfect opportunity to finally step on the property ladder and secure our village life.
Now don't get me wrong, our cottage was small. I did often say I wish I could stretch it somewhat. So, there was a tiny speckle of hope at the end of the dark tunnel - a bigger house would be nice.
Also, have you ever tried moving in a pandemic? Let me tell you this, it is not easy! For every house we called and asked to view, in surrounding area, there were literally twenty others on the list! Because even though others were looking to move - perhaps young couples living apart, banned from dating, wishing to move in together, or friends not allowed to meet up, wanting to share a home - there wasn't enough properties available.
We were despairing of the disappointments. Then one day, Marks friend informed us his current tenant had lost her job, therefore his rental property would be free. Okay, sadly it was not in the village, we were reluctantly giving up on that dream, but it was in the next town and we would have more space. Plus it boasted a period fireplace, something I had decided was one of my top wishes.
We viewed the house with an open mind and a hopeful heart. We liked it. We could imagine living there. And funnily enough, minus the wooden beams it actually reminded us of our cottage, but bigger. Let the packing commence! Oh my goodness, how did we accumulate so much stuff? It really did feel like a loosing battle. Somehow we managed it.
We moved fourteen days prior to Christmas. Yes some people thought we were mad, yet I was looking forward to finally relaxing within our new walls and enjoying the festive period. Other people admitted to being envious, those who were going stir crazy and longed for new rooms and area to explore and a much needed change of scenery.
I think it helped to soften the blow, moving in December. I was excited about a new beginning, during the magical month of Christmas. I always go slightly overboard at Xmas and I was brimming with ideas to make our new home a happy place for me, Mark and Tommy.
I like to think I succeeded with this. More decorations were purchased, a larger tree was bought and the countdown to Christmas Day began. And do you know what my favourite moment was? Something I will never forget, following all the mayhem and uncertainty. It was after we were finally unpacked and able to enjoy our familiar family treasures. It was Christmas Eve and Tommy looked at me with his little eager face and said, "Mummy, do you want to know something? I can feel the magic in the air."
Mr Elf on moving day. I assured Tommy he would know we were moving and low and behold, here he is with his suitcase.
There it is, our period fireplace.
Our new Christmas tree in our new home.
Mr Elf counting down the days with magical pixie dust, I don't think he could fund any chalk. Like the sleeping bag Mr Elf.
We also celebrated his birthday in our new home. We had an indoor picnic, party games and watched the Elf movie after dark. Amazing what you find yourself doing during lockdown.
I can't resist setting scenes.
Christmas Eve box, a little tradition, with new pjs, snowman bath bomb and Christmas crafts and chocolate.
Well you wouldn't expect Mr Elf not to have a present, would you?