The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Walking is a Relaxing Pastime; How to Make it More Stressful

Dusting off Windows Live Writer just now, to pen that last post, I came across this post sitting unpublished in my drafts. Seems that I wrote it at the end of August, but didn’t quite manage to hit the ‘Publish’ button.


As regular readers may have noticed, over the last few years, Mick & I have developed a bit of a habit of going out walking for three months during the spring/early summer. It’s a habit we weren’t going to break purely on the basis that our house was up for sale. In the current market, and with the nature of the house we were trying to sell, it wouldn’t have been practical to put our lives on hold just in case a buyer came along.

As it happens, the buyer came along just as we were standing in a bog at a grid reference of around about SN 742606, whilst on our way up the length of Wales in April. That was handy timing (if you ignore the fact that we were right at the beginning of our 1000 miles of walking, half of which was going to see us abroad for 6 weeks…), as a couple of weeks earlier we had agreed a purchase of a house.


The house icon marks the spot where we agreed the sale of our house!

At least we were going to be home for long enough between Wales and Scotland to do the paperwork on the sale and to sign everything for the purchase.

Things got a bit delayed, as these things generally do, and rather than timing the purchase to occur whilst we were at home, we found ourselves exchanging contracts the day after we left for Scotland, and completing the purchase the day before we came home – which was, of course, just four days before we were flying out to Los Angeles for our PCT walk.

With only four days at our disposal we figured that we had enough time to move a good chunk of our belongings to the new house (ready to complete the move as soon as we got back from the States) and to finish getting ready to go to America.

What we didn’t expect was for a great big spanner to be thrown into the works. There we were, standing on the platform at Montrose, nice and relaxed after a good TGOC and happy that we had a new house awaiting us at home, when we learnt that there was a problem with our sale. It was, I admit, something of a surprise to find that we didn’t own the last 10 yards of our garden.

Not an insurmountable problem on the face of it. I pulled out the paperwork from when we bought the house and it was clear enough that it should have been included, but that it was a simple administrative error that had seen it omitted from the registration. The problems were twofold: 1) the person we needed to sign, somewhat belatedly, the land over to us now lives in France, and we didn’t have her address; and 2) we were flying out to walk a section of the PCT in 4 days’ time and already had a very large to-do list to get through!

Eeeek! Who needs sleep anyway?

Four days later we had moved a good chunk of belongings to the new house, worked through most of the pre-PCT to-do lists, located the owner of the end of our garden in France, put a pile of paperwork together and sent it off to her. Exhausted, extraordinarily stressed, and hoping our buyer would be patient, off we went to America.

I’m glad we didn’t do anything rash like cancel our trip, because the whole saga was still dragging on when we got home. But, I’m happy to say that all is well that ends well and in late August the sale of our old house finally completed. We now live in a much more sensible house than we did before.

I’m not sure that I would necessarily consider house buying and selling to be a happy companion to going walking in remote areas for weeks at a time though!