British Paper-shuffling gone mad

To rent a van I need to provide the following

  • Driving licence (this makes sense)
  • Proof of my address (fair enough)
  • A credit card to take the deposit (if you insist)

The proof of address must be two documents, a mixture of a bank statement and a utility bill with my address on.

To rent a new house I need to provide the following

  • Photo ID (I suppose this makes sense)
  • Proof of address that cannot be a credit card statement

(This is in addition to the lengthy credit and background check they did a month ago)

Yes… to move into a new house I need to prove where I live. Or I need to prove where I just moved out of, which also makes no sense – “Hey look! I don’t live here any more and I have paperwork to prove it”. I might just wave the tenancy agreement at them and point out “you posted this to me, I have it. I think you’re probably talking to the right person”.

Madness. Especially when I went to print a gas bill and it had my old, old address from three years ago on it which caused five minutes of hold music and a confused man on the phone.

To get a resident’s parking permit so that my car doesn’t get a ticket I need to provide the following

  • Car details
  • Proof of address

Again, this makes sense… except what do I do with my car when I’ve just moved in and haven’t had time to fill in forms, post them off, wait for them to be processed and then wait for the sticker to be posted back to me. Or the rental van…

At least the woman sorting out my home insurance was more helpful and made sense.

Moving house Version 3.0

Yes, I’ve done this before once or twice. Thank god the Internet has become more of a useful tool in the past three years (well, two and a half, but nobody noticed when I put ‘three years 4 months’ on the reference forms. Saves me having to remember the past sixteen addresses I’ve lived at).

Went on Google, stuck in “houses for rent in <new place>”, started clicking on links. Found house on Monday, arranged viewing for Friday. Friday snowed, Amy was in Leeds on a train in the snow, I was driving from work to <new place> getting stuck in rush hour traffic. We only arrived 20 minutes late, but that’s OK I’ve never been on time to a house viewing for a house we’ve actually taken.

Also it was snowing, did I mention the snow? I got Monday off work because it was that “bad”. This worked out really well because on Monday the letting agency rang us back and had a chat.

Anyway, we went to the house. It’s a terrace, but like most houses I live in, it’s a bit weird. There’s rear access and a garage, but you drive under the house to get to it. It has a secret cellar (secret in that I didn’t know it existed until I went there and went “oh! cellar!”) and a really long corridor going to the bathroom and really high ceilings.

After politely pestering the letting agency all week using various tactics from “what’s going on?” to “oh err my phone is broken can I just check you have another number… and how’s it going anyway?” we’ve just had confirmation we can move. This is good, I gave notice to my current letting agency this afternoon.

Now to go through the pain in the arse of telling BT I want to move so that I get a phoneline and some Internet (not from BT).

Living in a warehouse

Having finished moving on Tuesday, I am now left with the unpacking. I’ve moved from a small two bedroom terrace into a larger three bedroom detached house. I’ve gained a dining room which is currently crammed to the ceiling with most of my stuff and the rest has overflowed into the front room and landing. I made some space by storing all my outdoor gear and music CDs in the loft.

No real idea how all this stuff fitted in my old house really! It’s a bit like buying a new hard drive and filling it.

I made a run to the local “recycling centre” too to get rid of some stuff.

Now I’m waiting for my Internet to be activated and I think I’ll spend a quiet week just unpacking and sorting things out, and definitely not driving up the A1 and M62.

House move confirmed

Today I have done many things. Let’s put them in a nice list…

  • Confirmed with letting agency that I can actually move
  • Told current landlord agent that I am moving out
  • Had a nice chat with BT but utterly failed to move my line because their computers are “down”
  • Had a strained chat with the van hire support line after their website ate my booking
  • Found my van booking in my spam folder an hour later
  • Was asked if I wanted to switch phone providers, internet providers, car insurance, buy more TV channels and did I know there was a special SHUT UP I AM MOVING HOUSE GO AWAY!
  • Went and watered some plants because it didn’t involve repeating my name, address and new address to everybody
  • Renewed my car insurance (which has gone up)
  • Spoke to people in at least three different countries
  • Discovered my phone has a rubbish battery
  • Gave out a non working mobile phone number to everyone

There are other things I’ve done today, but I can’t remember what they are. In general, I have found the companies with websites to be easier to use than the ones where I have to speak to a human. The humans try to be helpful and efficient but get sidetracked by trying to sell me extra things. I am moving house, it’s hard enough without someone trying to sell me car insurance.

Especially when the car insurance quote is 200 quid more than my current one. MoreThan live up to their name 😉

House moving game, Level 2

Quite a bit has happened since last Saturday. I arranged a viewing at the house I found and spent most of the week waiting to go and see the house. The meeting was supposed to be at 5pm but it didn’t happen, but now I know the A1(M) and most of the other roads into town turn into carparks and should be avoided.

I emailed the letting agency and they rang me back on Saturday. We managed to arrange a new visit that day and by 12pm I was stood in the house looking around. And it’s not bad… not bad at all.

For a start it’s detached so there will be no neighbours to listen to and I won’t have to turn my music down. There are four large rooms – a front room, dining room and two double bedrooms, and then a tiny kitchen and tiny boxlike third “bedroom”. There’s also a bathroom which contains shower and bath. Outside is a small garden, a shed and a brick outhouse, plus space for a car. All of this is contained within a six foot brick wall.

I couldn’t see any signs of damp, or badly concealed damp for that matter. The are a looks good enough – I sat in my car for half an hour outside the place and didn’t see anyone, couldn’t hear any locals yelling at each other and while inside all was quiet.

I have filled in several forms, sent scanned copies of various documents to the letting agency and now need to wait for them to do a check and hopefully I will get the keys on Saturday.

I am now in the process of turning my house into a warehouse. Unlike last time I plan on having it all boxed before I drive the van home, otherwise it’ll turn into a week long saga like last time.

New office is smaller, how is this possible?

I think some sort of reverse TARDIS thing has happened during our office move. It seems smaller than our old one now everything is in there. We’ve thrown away four boxes of paper for recycling, three large bins of general crap and have not imported any new things… and yet the place seems full. There is more storage available and the room is three times the size of the old one. It’s not the extra office furniture that is causing this, but the sheer amount of books, papers and boxes we appear to have. All this stuff fitted in our old office and somehow seems to have tripled in volume during the move.

It’s crazy, everyone that visits comments that it looks full and walks out slightly confused.

I’m liking my new desk though, next to a window I could jump out of. The sink is behind me with the vital tea making supplies and a water boiler. They say the average British person drinks 3 cups of tea a day… I think I managed at least five this morning. We traditionally have one at break and one at dinner. I had one before break, then one at break and the same at dinner. And then two after school and one in the morning.

Moving office

Our old office
Our old office

For those of you who read this regularly, you’ll know I’m an ICT teacher in a local secondary school. The ICT department I am part of contains five people, and we’re possibly one of the smallest departments in the school. English, for example have about 30 members of staff. Since ever, we’ve been crammed into a small office next door to the IT technicians in their giant office.

Ignoring the fact there’s five of us jammed into this room, the day after our monthly curry meetings is enough to warrant a move to a larger office. And fortunately for us, the IT technicians have moved into another office, meaning we get theirs. The desks have been moved, shelving put up and the floor cleaned. Tomorrow we’ll move our crap in there.

Opposite corner of our old office
Opposite corner of our old office
The important corner of our new office
The important corner of our new office
The other corner of our new office
The other corner of our new office

Beercave 2.0

The neighbours
The neighbours

Today me and Amy have spent the day helping Beerman and Lagerlass (Jonny and Vikki to the rest of the world) move house. They’ve moved from a small cramped hovel next door to some chavs who, amongst other things, have posted flaming matchboxes and meat pies through their letterbox.

They now live further up the road in a nicer area of town – rather than the chavs being next door hammering on theirs asking for food, they merely have drunken normal people walking down the street yelling drunken randomness as they go home from the trendy bars and curry houses. Their neighbours are much more quiet and peaceful.

Amongst moving boxes and things I managed to capture some blurry photos with my awesome VGA quality cameraphone.

Yesterday did not exist

Yes, this year is a leap-year and the 29th of February was yesterday. According to Blog365 rules, yesterday was a non-posting day… so I didn’t. Yesterday also didn’t exist according to my watch, which happily informed me it was the 1st of March instead.

Today I went to collect a Mac Classic from a friend. It’s now sat in my house waiting for me to play with it. There must be a cheap or easy way to connect it to my network. Right now I’m sat on the toilet at Amy’s while she cooks some food downstairs. She’s moving house tomorrow and we’re madly trying to put things in boxes.

Got to go, my legs are going numb. I hope the toilet in her new place has a better seat.