Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our New Home And a BIG Problem With Shippers!

We have now moved into our little cottage in Bollington.  We hired a van on Friday and with the help of Elaine's brother, Trevor, did a few trips to the local charity shops to pick up our bargains.  It only took about 5 hours and it was all done.  Today we went out and bought some new stuff as in a TV, electric blanket, kettle, toaster and all sorts of  other kitchen and bathroom gear.  Tomorrow we will do a big food shop and that should be it - we will be sorted!

Our friend, Jane had lent us loads of Xmas decorations and lights, so we have even 'Christmas-ed' it all up too!

We have already met  few of the locals, shop-keepers and immediate neighbours and I am pleased to say they are very friendly!!  Last night we went to the local pub across the road with our friends, Jane and Andy. It was was going off big time, but once again a very friendly bunch.

I will take some indoor pics of the cottage as soon as we have it in a presentable condition ... nearly there!

Before we left on our shopping trip this morning I took the dogs for a walk around the village.  I am slowly getting my bearings.

Firstly past the butchers ... 

Down one of the many cobbled streets ... 

There are so many lovely little cottages, and they are little! 

The river Dean passes through the centre, just at the rear of our house ... 

The new houses on the right are still built in stone ... 

It is a top spot. I think we have made a good choice.

Looking across the rooftops to White Nancy ... 

The village green ... 

And finally back home - this is the pub opposite our house ... 

Bombo has settled in well ... his favourite spot is in the side window, where El has made him up a little bed! 

Now to the Ba****d shippers!  I won't name names yet until we get it sorted!

Back in September we arranged for the same Aussie shippers that sent our stuff to the UK to pick up all our belongings for our impending return to Oz.  They picked up all the goods in September and agreed to hold them in storage in Manchester until we decided on our return date back to Oz.  We paid an up front fee of $1745 roughly £900, which was door to door Macclesfield to Sydney (but which they agreed to reimburse if we did not return to Oz - so that we would just pay removal and storage costs).

As we have now decided not to return to Oz for the foreseeable future Elaine emailed the Aussie company the other night to ask for the goods to be returned to Macc.  No problem they said ... that would be $1500 (about £780!!)   But this on top of the money we had already paid!!  So that is $3245, or £1680, for a few boxes to be picked up from Macc, taken to Manchester (30 mins drive), stored for 3 months and returned to Macc.  We emailed them again and said there must be a mistake ... she said there wasn't and said that that was the costs of their UK partner!!!!

We had an absolute crap sleep worrying about it the other night.  On Friday morning I found out the name of the UK shippers that the Oz shippers are in bed with,.  I spoke to the Manageress and she assured me that they would only charge me for the storage and pick up.  She said I could pick up the boxes from their depot if I liked, which we will.  She hinted that the Aussie company was taking the piss, but I have to go through them because that's who we have the contract with.  She also said that we shouldn't worry as she said she would call them and get it sorted.

We should get an answer from the Aussie company early next week, we are still in shock!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Catching Up and Moving On ...

In the last post we were looking for a boat to live on ... well that quickly changed!  Details later in this post.

Since I started blogging a few years ago I take the camera with me every time I go out as you never know when something may come along to tickle my reader's fancy!

This tickled mine whilst walking the boys the other morning......

Dog shit tied to the back of a mini....why?!!

Last Sunday was the Aston Marina boaters' Xmas Party.  The do was on the Sunday, so we decided to make a weekend of it and stay at the Stonehouse hotel Saturday and Sunday night.

After checking into the hotel Saturday arvo we went for a walk to Aston Marina ...

We have very fond memories of this place and made some really great lifetime friends who became known as the Aston Marina 'Hardcore'.  Why hardcore?  Well, because we were all there for each other and we always made it to the pub no matter how foul the weather!

A good example of the hardcore team spirit, is that on Saturday night Elaine and I were sitting in the hotel bar contemplating our navels when Ray and Diane rang.  They were heading back to their boat in a hire car and wondered if they could pop in and say hello.  No probs we said.  Then they rang Andy, Sue, Gordon and Dot who were moored up on the marina and within the hour we were all drinking and eating in the hotel bar having a fantastic catch up!  No excuses from anyone, just drop everything and let's go!  They are great people and we love them dearly.  

On Sunday we went looking at boats at Great Heywood marina, but as I will explain later we were just  tyre hull kicking!

Sunday afternoon was the main event ... we were meeting at the local Spoons at 15.00 for pre dinner drinks, so we dropped the dogs off at Dot and Gordon's boat where they would be nice and warm for the night.

As expected, it was a great night with a lot of catching up to do with a lot more of our boater friends.

Dot and Gordon were in full Silly hat mood ...

Actually everyone was in silly hat mood ..

Roly had his best Texan gear on...which coincidently matched Diane's recent purchased Texan boots!

We had a good turnout of 17 people ...

Me and the world famous Isle of Man TT rider, Andy ...

Sue suggested that I looked a right nob in my Xmas hat and jumper ...

Marry Xmas!

Unfortunately Di passed wind, but Sue and Lynne thought it funny ...

Once we had finished at the Spoons Team Hardcore headed off to their clubhouse, also known as The Royal Exchange.  We had picked up the doggies from the boat, so they also joined us at the pub ...

Sammie was in his element, jumping from lap to lap of his old boatie family!

It was a brilliant weekend with some top notch people.

Back to the previous blog post where we were thinking of buying a boat!  The main reason for this turnaround was because we were becoming so pissed off with trying to find somewhere to rent ... what with the dogs and us not working, no UK income and no previous rental references was making things very difficult.  Luckily we had registered with a couple of really good agents  'Belvoir' and 'Harvey Scott' ... we took the dogs into the agents with us to show them what perfect little chaps they are.  One agent in Bollington 'Michael Hart', treated us with total  contempt, explaining that they had very high standards and would likely have nothing available for us now or in the future!

As we were leaving for Stone on Saturday we had messages from both of the good agents that a couple of suitable places had come up. We had just left Macc so took a quick detour to Bollington to check out one of the places.  It looked good so we arranged to meet up with the agent the following Monday.

Meet up we did on our return on Monday and we loved it.  It is a little cottage, right in the centre of Bolly, close to shops, opposite a bakery, cafe and a pub, with the inside of the house being very nice and tidy.

It is a typical Bolly stone cottage, but very un-typically it has parking for two cars!

We applied for the cottage and got it, but we had to pay six months rent up front, which was the easieast option, so no probs there.

The cottage is un urnished apart from white goods so for the last few days we have been scouring the charity shops for furnishings etc.  A major help has been that Elaine's brother Trevor volunteers for one of the local charities and has guided us to some brilliant pieces of furniture.

We have had such fun buying all sorts of of amazing stuff ... it is going to be a very eclectic cottage!!

The only new thing we have bought new is a mattress and some pots and pans. We have virtually fitted out the cottage for a few hundred pounds ... just to think that our contents insurance back in Oz was just about $100,000!!

We have hired a van to pick up all the gear, so we move in Friday.

A new adventure in a English village begins, although I think Bolly is classed as a small town really. 

The blog will still have a tenuous canal link, as the Macclesfield canal passes right through the centre of the town and I am sure we will be meeting lots of boats as they pass through town!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Going Full Circle (Looking For Another Boat)

Our ever evolving plans have now gone full circle......

We are back to where we were a few years ago and are now looking for a narrowboat!

Does anyone know of any good boats out there for around the £50,000 mark?

Hope fully we can find one as good as the one below!!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Horsing Around.

The house hunting is dragging on.  We are looking at two places, the one in the area we like has been on the market for over 5 weeks now, the only problem being the owner is dragging his feet moving out and now doesn't want to go till early January.  If we wait the danger is that he may change his mind again and stay longer.  The other place is very nice but not quite the area we want to be in. 

In between viewing properties we have been checking out the surrounding  villages ...

We visited Prestbury, which is prime Cheshire multi million dollar property area, and is a favourite spot for premier league footballers.

The houses are mind blowing but the centre is a bit run down and tatty looking. 

This shop was interesting though ...

We also discovered some amazing carvings on some tree stumps ...

On Saturday morning we decided we would head down to Milton Keynes, to see my mother, plus my niece Kimberley was taking part in a show jumping event on Sunday.   

Off we went down the M.  It is always a worry when you see a big truck heading straight towards you!

Bombo was the back seat driver ...

Today (Sunday) was the horsey event.

My niece, Kimberley's horse - Neeko - is a lovely boy ...

We had a little cheer squad - Elaine, me, my mother, brother and sis in law ...

Here is the superstar chillin before the big event ...

Niece Kimberley and my mother ...

Yours truly, all wrapped up against the elements 'cos it was freezing!

Neeko about to eat Sammie (not really, this is what happens when you let El loose with the camera) ...

Elaine taking a selfie with Neeko ...

... and then standing like a horse!

Kimberley and Neeko in action ...

Kimberley and Neeko came 1st with a clear round and no faults ...

Well done you two xx

After a great win Neeko rested his head on Elaine ...

It was a lovely family day out, but after standing around for a few hours we were freezing!!

It took us a good couple of hours to defrost.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


We drove up to Macclesfield from Milton Keynes on Monday.  Today our plan was to go to a few real estate agents and try and find somewhere to live for a few months!

Firstly, I took the dogs for a walk in the freezing cold.  I don't mind the cold its the rain and drizzle that does me in.

The frost stayed on the ground all day in the shaded areas ...
Christchurch in Macclesfield
Our plan is to live in the little town of Bollington.  It's a magic little town with an amazing amount of pubs and restaurants!  It is known locally as 'Happy Valley'.  A bonus is that the Macclesfield canal runs through the middle of the town!

Lord St, Bollington ... featuring plenty of frost!
We ended up looking at three properties today.

It's quite difficult when we are basically foreigners (although British and Aus citizen), have no references (we've always owned the 'properties' we have lived in), don't work (but self funded) and have have two dogs!  We took the dogs with us so that the real estate guys could see what good tenants they would be!

The real estate company we are dealing with are very understanding of our situation and seem to be quite accommodating ... a good find!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 5 From The City Of Love To The City Of Roundabouts!

It was an early start from the Paris Ghetto, we were on the road at 08.00!

We made good time and arrived at Calais so far ahead of schedule they put us on an earlier ferry....result.

The dogs had their passports checked and were scanned at the check in desk, the Ethiopian stowaways were removed from the boot then we were allowed on-board ...

This is the motorhome aire we stayed at last July. It was packed then but today there were about six motorhomes parked up ...

The dogs have to stay below decks in the car, which is cool.  They are happy in the car, they just sleep!

Goodbye Calais, goodbye France, goodbye mainland Europe.  Let's hope we can do it all again some day ...

We found a comfy spot in the lounge ... where we were on our own ...

We also spent some time on the sun deck!!

...albeit in our bubble coats!

This is a view you can never tire of ...

"There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover"

Sam was great at navigating in Spain and France but is crap in the UK so Bombo took over!  

It was lovely driving on the right correct side of the road again with the best drivers in the world!
It was also lovely to see the English countryside again, it is stunning even in the winter!

Check out the mini motorhome we spotted - it was tiny! 
... and check out the blue sky, what a bonus to come home to!

Our journey finished at my mum's house in Milton Keynes.   Door to door it was 1395 miles or 2245 ks at an average of 43.8 MPG. The little Citroen didn't miss a beat. 

My mother is away at the mo so we have the house to ourselves.  Tonight we had a yummy Indian takeaway and are vegging out in front of the box.

Next week we head north to look for somewhere to live for the next 6 months or so!

It's been a fantastic trip to Spain and we absolutely loved Mojacar, it is a truly cracking place to holiday or live.

So that is the end of another little adventure!  Sorry to say it's not the end of the blog, I will post again when something blogworthy comes up. 

Hugs from roundabout city xxx