• Living the Dream – 21. Moving On

    Moving on from Nero

    In my last post, I compressed ten days into a few paragraphs. For Margaret and I, those ten days felt like ten months. We are both still sad. We both miss Nero and we will never forget him. That, is as it should be.
    Every night, we listen to Nero’s assailant barking.
    That, is not, as it should be.
    I’m not going into the action that we are taking – but we have spent time with the police, the local authority and retained legal counsel.

    Bureaucracy

    In between vet visits, we got the ball rolling on a variety of ‘immigration admin’. The car is now registered – she got her Cypriot paperwork faster than we did. As an only slightly political aside – we had to pay duty. Bringing in our personal, duty paid, vehicle from an EU country, to another EU country, we had to pay duty. Frictionless eh?
    We started the process of getting our residence permit. Yes, we are EU citizens and therefore can exercise the right of freedom of movement etc…but actually, we can’t. For example, we need to take private health insurance, and we need to demonstrate that we won’t be a drain on the Cypriot state. Cypriot citizens don’t have to do that. We need to jump through several hoops to be permanent residents here. #justsayin

    Winter is coming

    The evenings are chilly up in the village now. In comparison with the UK, that’s nonsense. I’m sitting outside in the dark, typing away. It’s 16 degrees centigrade, so 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it feels cold to us now. I’m still swimming every day, but long-term residents think I’m certifiable.

    Settling In

    Mags has done amazing work getting the house setup. Our furniture is in place, our clothes in the right wardrobes and the house feels more like a home every day – with one obvious exception.

    We both know there will be more dogs in our lives, but how and when – we don’t know that yet.

    Time to get on with #livingthedream

  • Living the Dream – 16. Landed

    Yasu! We’ve landed.

    First Days

    On Saturday the 22nd of September 2018, we left home at 4 am and by a pleasingly symmetrical 4 pm we were at the house in Cyprus, our home for the foreseeable future.
    We are settling in; assessing the losses from the burglary, working out where our furniture is going be placed when it arrives and generally feeling our way in to the new life.
    Exciting isn’t it?
    Erm…well, hmmm…

    Feelings

    Curiously, neither of us knows quite how to feel. Margaret desperately wants to organise stuff, but is a bit snookered until our belongings arrive. We are beefing up home security and taking stock of all the things that need to be done around and about the house.

    Nero

    The arrival of Nero, who landed a couple of days ago, has impacted us both. Airlines regard pets as freight. If that’s the starting point, things are unlikely to go well. Two employees at Larnaca airport probably have no idea how close they were to very sudden blunt trauma injuries as they faffed about being bureaucratic halfwits. Fortunately, I resisted the temptation to punch anyone through a wall, and Mags, Nero and I are together at last. All of us needed a stiff drink.
    The stress of his arrival apart, Nero has given me a bit of rhythm. My day starts with his walk, as does my evening, when we meander around the village, greeting all and sundry. Thus far, our favourite restaurants have been welcoming of him, (on the terrace) bar one, who has had a customer go nuts at the sight of a dog. Neither Mags and I has been willing to leave him alone – not until he is a bit more settled. As I type this, on the terrace, he is dozing at my feet, looking for all the world, master of his territory.

    Perhaps, I’m settling in more than I think.

  • Living the Dream – 15. Packed

    Packed

    Packed. Our entire house has been packed. As this post is published, the container is on the truck, on its way to the ship.

    Late Saturday night, I returned from the Camino , having walked 130 miles in 6 days, tired but happy.

    On Tuesday morning, three cheery guys, well, two cheery guys and a moody, quiet one, turned up ready to get the house packed. The challenge is to stop them packing stuff. Let your attention drift for a second and your hand luggage is beautifully encased in cardboard and packing-tape.
    They have accounted for two short packing days and then to load the container itself on the third. This includes the car, which needs to be valeted before it goes into the container. Well, you wouldn’t want any English dirt getting into Cyprus, would you?

    If anything, it’s surprising how quickly the house is broken down into cardboard boxes and furniture components.

    Powerless

    Margaret and I are alternately excited and growling at each other. So much to do and yet such a feeling of redundancy. Things are happening around us. Tenants move into the house next week.
    Nero, the beloved miniature schnauzer, begins his journey on Friday, when he goes to spend a few days with the agency that are shipping him to Cyprus. We have a car booked for 4am on Saturday. We will arrive on Saturday afternoon, with plenty of time for some sunbathing and a dip in the pool before dinner. Nero arrives on Tuesday lunchtime, completing the family again.

    Holiday

    Margaret has declared us ‘on holiday’ until the container arrives a couple of weeks later. Time to recharge before taking on the task of unpacking and rearranging everything. There will be some admin to get started – applying for residence permits and the like, as well as dealing with the aftermath of the burglary.
    That said, I’m looking forward to some swimming, some golf and frankly, some rest.

  • Living the Dream – 13. Farewell

    Farewell!

    I’m all out of weekends. Not that I have cancelled them, but I have no more weekends in England. As I write this, I am preparing for my walking trip in Spain, which runs from next Saturday morning until the following Saturday night, and the one after that is departure day for the big adventure.

    A few people have asked us when our farewell party is happening. I laugh. Margaret is, overall, much nicer than me and frets over whether we should have one. Inevitably, time is accelerating, and neither of us has a free day or evening between now and departure.

    I handed in my locker key at the golf club last weekend. I’m not going to get another round in before we leave. Sad though I am to no longer be a member of Tidworth Garrison Golf Club, I’m excited to be a member at Secret Valley Golf Club. This mirrors how Margaret and I feel about the whole move. There is much here in England that we will muss, but there is more in Cyprus to look forward to.

    I paid the moving company today.

    I needed a sit down afterwards.

    Even the insurance bill made me catch my breath. Door to door, our chattels will be in transit for two weeks or so. To insure them for that time will cost us 1.5% of the declared value. An annualised cost of nearly 40%.

    Now, I’m no mariner, but as far as I’m aware, my furniture is unlikely to come up against Somali pirates as it hugs France’s Atlantic coast before turning left into the Mediterranean Sea; which is usually about as tempestuous as a puddle. As with all insurance, if we don’t need it, it’s incredibly expensive – if we do need it, it will be very cheap.

    The picture is taken on my morning commute – which is one thing that I will miss, although I daresay a swim in the pool will be just as much fun.

  • Living the Dream -12. Four Weeks

    I write this exactly four weeks before we fly to Cyprus.

    We are a tiny bit disappointed, knowing that we will be inspecting damage done by last week’s uninvited guests. (Robbed!)

    Friends secured the house for us immediately after the robbery, but the repairs are temporary and we will need to deal with the internal damage. So, along with sourcing a home security system, sorting these things out will be the first order of business.

    Admin

    Now that the move is four weeks away, I’m able to pull the trigger on several decisions that I had deferred; insurance policies and the like. Forms to fill in. What fun! Said nobody ever about filling in forms.

    Even more amusing, I have to make several very chunky payments. I’ll be glad when this part of the process is done with – nobody likes handing over lots of money. Hopefully though, this will soon pass. I will have made, or set up,  the payments, the to-do list will be shorter – and I’ll disappear off for a week’s walking in Spain with my best mate; leaving Mags in the eye of the storm. (Yes, I do know that I am a very, very lucky guy to have such an awesome, understanding and generous woman as my wife.)

    Stationery

    More fun has been picking out stationery supplies for my new home office. Regular readers will know that I love my paper products and analogue tools, and that I own a webshop, Nero’s Notes. The picture is one box of notebooks that should get me started. (I know – it’s an addiction!)

    We are still stressed, still wrangling to-do lists, but we’re getting excited too.

    Tools

    I spoke today with the man who has maintained the swimming pool and the garden for us. He revealed that the thieves had thrown my power tools into the swimming pool.

    Charming. Criminals these days, no class.

    In fairness, my lack of proficiency with power tools is legendary, but I do find myself affronted that the thieves threw them into the pool, nevertheless.

    Swine.

  • Living the Dream – 11. Robbed!

    Ouch. The unexpected ring of the phone startled me. I spilled coffee onto my hand.

    It was before six. Who called a mobile before six in the morning? The ring had come from Margaret’s phone. I let it ring and dealt with the spill.

    Mags called Antonia back. Antonia keeps an eye on the house in Cyprus for us and gets it ready whenever we visit.  When there had been no answer, she had also sent an email, one that encapsulates the situation rather nicely;

    “Good day. I have bad news. Somebody stole your home.”

    I imagine it reads a bit better in Greek; still Google Translate got the message across. We had been robbed.

    Not the start to the day that we hoped for.

    Every room had been ransacked.

    I imagine that the thieves were looking for a store of value. A safe or similar. They even emptied the washing conditioner bottle. The utility room is now very fragrant.

    There is no good time to be robbed, but there might be many worse times than when we were not in residence and the house was sparsely furnished.

    We’re far from happy, but I can’t help but smile when I picture some dope tearing around the house trying to find something more valuable than the router.

    An empty house is always a target, I guess, but first order of business in October will be a home security review.

  • Living the Dream – 10. Reality Bites

    Reality has crept up. For months, emigrating has been exciting, distant and most importantly, theoretical. Something to talk about, plan for, even blog about.

    Then, all of a sudden, reality sidles in unseen, and chomps hard into my backside.

    By the time this post publishes, I’ll have twenty one more days in the UK, along with eight walking in Spain. Less than a month.

    Friends are anxious to get together, wanting to wish us ‘Bon Voyage’. Last chances are mounting up; the last chance to go this shop or that restaurant.

    Mags and I find ourselves tired, and tetchy. Inexorably, stress levels have crept up. We’re both developing little health niggles. Regardless of lists, the volume of tasks is overwhelming. If we can’t find anything to stress about, then we invent some.

    “What if…what about…?”

    We devise endless potential problems and issues, rather than deal with the reality:

    We’re scared.

    What if we hate it? What if we’re bored? What if we can’t stand the relentless weather?

    Still – I think this stage is passing. I’m through it. If I’m with Margaret, I’ll be OK (Not sure she feels the same!)

    We’re starting a new, exciting chapter – and most importantly, we’re starting it together.

    I’ll take that reality.

  • Living the Dream – 8. Hassle Hurricane

    In six weeks or so, we will be waking up in Cyprus. As my home. Oh, how I anticipate that day! Right now however, we are in the midst of a hassle hurricane.

    Hassle

    Each day, I wake to long to-do lists, endless dependencies and unforeseen complications. There’s a skip on the drive, bundles of paperwork to complete and the small matter of valuing every single thing that we own still outstanding. The garage needs partitioning, the fridge ‘un-plumbing’, the list goes on.

    There are plenty of people who offer to take away this hassle. At a price. More than once, my legendary patience and laid-back approach to life has been tested by ambitious quotes.

    “How much?!” I have spluttered.

    Fortunately, I married a very smart woman, who has calmly sourced alternative solutions, leaving me snorting and shouting ineffectively into the wind.

    Ultimately, the sheer volume of tasks can be stress-inducing and overwhelming. Often, changing one arrangement has a knock-on effect requiring several other things to be adjusted.

    Solution

    Staying on top of these hassles requires a notebook. That might sound silly, but it isn’t: Writing lists asserts control over the tasks, ticking them off creates a feeling of progress. Referring to the book calms any mounting nerves and anxieties.

    For those of geeky disposition (like me), the notebook is a Great Barrier Reef by Dingbats, from my store, Nero’s Notes. I got the pencil from there too, and it is a Palomino Forest Choice.

    Have no illusion, the notebook completes no tasks and lowers no prices, the hassle hurricane remains. However – using the notebook helps me plan my days and navigate the bureaucratic nonsense, arrangements and dependencies. Suddenly, I can spy glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. Some lists are completed, some can only be completed nearer to departure date.

  • Living the Dream – 1. Can we do it?

    Living the Dream

    Three hundred and twenty six days of sunshine per year, a laid-back lifestyle and some decent golf courses. That’s living the dream.

    My wife, Margaret (Mags) and I are going to test that statement. Thirteen weeks from now, we are upping sticks, leaving the UK and moving to the Island of Aphrodite, Cyprus.

    Exciting? You bet.

    The really lucky people might be able to jump on their private jet, check into a five star hotel for a year and start having grapes dropped into their mouth by willing servants. For most of us however, it’s not quite as simple as that. It takes planning.

    Mags and I are designing a life. We are putting together an action plan for living the dream.

    My my. There’s a lot to this emigrating malarkey.

    Some decisions have made themselves. My Mum and Dad retired to Cyprus and built a wonderful home. They enjoyed several happy years there together and after my Dad passed away, my Mum stayed on another fifteen years before returning to England.

    Nevertheless, Cyprus isn’t terribly handy for a weekend bolt-hole. Depending on the wind direction, the flight is between four and a half and five hours from England. Add in the land transfers and the mandatory waiting around of modern air travel, and you are pretty much writing off a full day each way.

    To really live the dream in Cyprus – we need to move there.

    Questions

    Did we want to? Could we? How would we make it work? What are the pros and cons?

    On this blog, I’ll log how we arrived at the decision to move and how we went about turning that decision into a plan.

    I’ll post weekly; covering both the logistical challenges of living the dream and how we intend to craft and finance the lifestyle. Look for the category, ‘Living the Dream’.

    Follow along. 😁