All change

Hello dear readers. Big gap in my blogging recently but we’ve been incredibly busy for one thing and without internet access for several weeks too. I doubt you’ll be that concerned but it might make sense for some of the subsequent postings for me to fill in a few details on what we’ve been up to.

To begin with we decided not to renew the tenancy on our apartment in Twickenham Green at the end of June despite a very decent offer from the owner who seemed keen for us to stay. We’d had a nice time there but needed a bit of a change. We had a few things in mind; firstly our lovely daughter S was scheduled to return to work at the start of May after her maternity leave and we had committed to looking after our two young grandsons from that point. Also they were moving themselves to a lovely new home in Chiswick and we really needed to be nearer to them to ease the morning and evening runs to their place. Our other wish was to use the last few weeks of time available to C&I not looking after the boys to return to Italy to go and spend some more time there making more improvements to the place. There was stil a huge amount to do especially in the garden/olive grove. We’d rather spend the money that would have gone on the apartment in rent, on our own property of course so we gave notice from the end of January and started making preparations for all the upcoming moves.

First up we helped S&E move from their apartment into their new home – it’s a lovely place and really suits them and their needs as a growing family. The plan was for us to spend a couple of days wih them before heding out to Italy and then return to them for a few weeks until we found a new place to move into ourselves. Sounds a bit complex but there was a plan developing. It did mean that we had to down-size quite a bit so we sold some big furniture to the new incoming tenants to Twickenham Green. We also sold a sofa and armchair on Ebay and gave away some other items of furniture etc on our local Streetlife service. We though we’d done well getting rid of a load of stuff but we still had to put about a van load of gear  into storage for a few weeks as well as move some things like our bed, clothes, personal effects etc to our daughter’s place. Fortunately there was enough room not to make it look over-crammed. But we knew the bedroom we would be using was going to be one of the boys’ rooms so we had to keep things short-term and try not to fill the place with our crap.

Having had one night with S&E, we packed whatever was left over (and it was still quite a bit) into the car and next day headed off to Italy. The following blog will describe our spell out there. Would there be dramas, would we get through the Alps, would it be freezing in Italy and would we have anything to keep us warm out there? All will be revealed dear readers. But one thing we did learn was that S was going to have to return to work at the start of March so we had to get as much work done as possible and be back by 29th Feb to be ready to look after the boys. It proved to be a a real hard-working trip but very satisfying and we returned 3 weeks later tired but pleased with progress.

So March saw us looking after our youngest two lovely grandsons. E is now 2 and a half and a delight to look after. N is much younger at 5 months and just a baby still so requires more input from us of course. It took us a week or two to get into a nice routine but it’s been great fun and exhausting in pretty much equal measure but we’re up to it and enjoying having so much time with the boys. We only wish we could as much time with our other lovely daughters R&E and super grandsons too but we make as much time with them as much as possible.

Of course during this time we had to look for a new apartment. We found a nice place in the Grove Park area but it was a little more than we wished to pay. We were then shown some atrocious places in Chiswick which were outrageousy expensive for what they offered. In fact the place we had at university – our very first flat as a married couple – which cost us just £5 pw was way better than these rabbit hutches. We were wondering if we’d made a mistake by not taking up our owner’s tenancy renewal offer when C spotted an apartment in the old art deco Barratt’s building beside the elevated M4 heading out of London. The place has been renovated over many years and we fell in love with it at the first viewing. We have a stunning foyer and concierge service, dedicated protected underground parking and a gym (though I’ve yet to pop my cherry in the place you’ll be horrifed to learn). It took a small fortune to secure the place, such is the rental situation in London these days and the most stringent of credit and reference checks etc. But the young girl from the estate agency actually seemed to be on our side and steered us through it all without a blip and we moved in over the Easter week-end. All we had to do was remove the items from daughter S’s place (incredibly one complete van full) and from the storage place (another van full) and lug it across a public space and up 4 floors. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to my son-in law E for his help that week-end. How we’ve still got all this stuff after endless spells down-sizing is a mystery to me. But we’re in and settled in our dinky bijou apartment in this place…



I don’t know if you know this but there were a cluster of beautiful art deco factories/HQ buildings built around this area, many designed by the architects Wallis (our building is officially named after him rather than the original tenants) Gilbert and Partners and I’ve always been a fan of them. Perhaps the most well-known is the Hoover building and then the Gillette building which is about to be turned into apartments I believe, but also the lovely old Coty cosmetics factory…



and the Pyrene building and the infamous Firestone tyre factory where the developers razed it to the ground one week-end as the local council dithered over giving it protected status. Shameful. These gates and fence surround are sadly all that survive…



Anyway next time you’re zooming into London from the direction of Heathrow give us a wave or pop in for a cup of tea. We’d love to see you



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