Tiggs - soon to be patented - migrating to Oz diet.

12:59, Saturday 3 May 2008 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Are you worried about your wasteline?
Are you always trying the latest fad diet but not loosing any weight?

Then you need to try Tiggs' - soon to be patented - migrating to Oz diet.
This is the new easy to follow diet that will have the pounds dropping off you.

No calorie counting!
No points to add up!
No strenuous exercising!

All you need is an Oz PR visa and a one way flight to Oz.!

It also helps to have a family who settle into Oz life very quickly leaving you the only one wondering what you have done (this ensures that you cant cheat on the diet and  head 'home')
A farily hefty dose of stress also speeds up the dieting process and if you can include getting over emotional about daft little things and crying for a week when your OH starts their new job because you are now 'on your own' then you will be laughing (metaphorically speaking of course)

For the advanced dieter (including those who need to shift those extra few pounds) you can supplement your diet with the additional Tiggs' house buyers diet PLUS.  This is guaranteed to dramatically increase your stress levels, especially during the week when 'the bank tell you they are not going  to release the funds in time for the settlement date'.

With proven results you too can drop two (yes that does say TWO) dress sizes in just four months ...

... well it worked for me anyway

The now considerably thinner - Tiggs x

Graz´s Update - On the Road

05:09, Thursday 13 December 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Yesterday was spent driving from Mornington down to Sorento to catch the ferry and the start of our Oz adventure as a family without any guides.  We would now be fending for ourselves in this wilderness.
I think the first thing that struck me and Adele were the colours.  The sky is so blue and seems higher, the trees are bright green, the earth itself is always the deep red and yellow tones.  It makes everything seem cheerful and puts a lift on your day.  From Sorrento we caught the ferry over to Queenscliff allowing the boys to see the ferry.  We stopped in Queenscliff to try our hand in the supermarket and then were overawed by the fish 'n' chips shop...there was a choice and not just white mush in batter.  The downside was the picnic.  This quickly got out of hand with the flies hounding us and a selection of gulls waiting nearby forcing us to enjoy our picnic in the car...the hire car that needs to be handed back in reasonable condition was going to experience my children and fish and chips...anyway.
From Queenscliff we went to find the Great Ocean Road and the start of our trip.  As a drive it is outstanding and on a motorbike would have been bliss...i think this may be a trip out next year.  The car was ok except for a physcotic automatic gear box that dropped one if not two gears each time you touched the accelerator :-?  Still we cruised through small towns and parkland always in view of the ocean with deep clear blue seas and breakers.
Photos colour will be uploaded and added.  First stop was Apollo Bay, a pleasant motel with our own kitchenette with two rooms, meant we could lock the boys in one and relax together with a bit of tv and a book.  The next day bought an early start and postcards and shopping (we all needed hats and sunglasses to protect against the aussie cancer lamp (sun).  The days driving took us winding along to Port Fairy with a small detour through to the Otaway fly treetop walk, a chance to get to the top of the gum tree forests on metal gangways,  an enjoyable hour detour although the hill back up was hard work with two tired children.  Back on the ocean road but this time through gum tree forests and rain forest gave a different persepective.  All the other traffic seemed content to cruise along as well so there was no rush and no sense of always being pressured to go that little bit faster, I was enjoying driving in Oz.
We saw some nice seaside towns with Lorne standing out for both of us,  The night ended in Port Fairy, almost Crocodile Dundee meets coast with wide emtpty dusty streets and the pub on the corner,  I could get used to this,  The motel was clean and fitted our needs although for the second night running they had put us upstairs (with 3 cases and two kids to lug around, we had repacked the car so 4 cases could stay in the boot overnight).
The half way point over we had a longer drive today especially given there was more to see on the roads,  First we had the 12 (or however many are left) apostles, sandstone crags that have been left from the mainland through erosion,  again it was the colours that struck first, striped red and yellow cliffs, green grasses and mosses and a deep blue to turquoise sea with cream breakers.  The boys enjoyed this stop, not because of the view but because of all the helicopter sightseeing tours going over the top.  We then got back on the road with some time to make up meaning we missed the bay of islands and other outcrops as we sped past trying to make Mt Baker for lunch.  Mt Baker has a old volcano with a lake, the lake is deep cobalt blue (or was when we arrived, apparently it changes to grey through the seasons in a matter of hours before reverting later in the year),  lunch was had on the grass overlooking the lake.  These two parts alone would have covered a couple of days sightseeing but it was back in the car with two children to make the next leg and our final stop Narracorte as we were hoping to take the boys on the minature railway.
Naracoorte did not work for us,  maybe it was the industrial sprawl but the town did not stand out the same (and we saw enough of it trying to find the motel, thanks GoogleMaps).  The mini train was closed but we found a disused steam train in a shaded hut by one of the parks that the kids played on for 30 minutes so they were happy anyway and we got to sit down.  The last motel was the one we were looking forward to, we had managed to get a spa room and the website pointed and something special...it wasn't, it was tired and run down with a funny smell in the bathroom which meant the spa was not something to sit in and enjoy, once you had got past the ants, the boys were on fold out beds and not there own as we expected and everything looked in need of some renovation, but the food was top notch, the beer was cold and the owner/barman was a good laugh and very friendly to us and the kids.  After the good meal the bed was comfy enough and before we knew it we were back on the road for the final slog into Adelaide.
The last day was just driving, firstly through the end of Victoria and then into the barren dry south of South Australia.  The change was incredibly fast.  Then through the managed pine forests avoiding the huge road trains full of timber (I will give the aussies that, they like their big trucks) then into the wine regions of the deep south were we happened upon Penola,  a picturesque town surrounded by grape vines with an olde worlde main street with all the shops,  we could quiet fancy living there but given the 3 hours plus still to go to Adelaide decided it was a bit far, maybe some other day.  Then we were in Adelaide, well it's suburbs, and finding our way to our new home (at least for a little bit)

Graz´s Update - We salute you

05:05, Tuesday 11 December 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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We have been here 4 days now and i think we have all perfected the aussie salute, the flies are insane!
2 days in Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula was very pleasant and a nice intro to the aussie weather and landscapes.  JetLag is taking it's toll on all four of us leaving us all cranky and tired although by today we are all brighter.
We have wondered down into Bittern to the weekly market and generally sat around enjoying the warm sunny weather, the cool verandas and our hosts cooking and hospitality.  Fairly soon we would be let loose on Oz but for now it was nice to recharge the batteries and not think about anything.

Graz´s Update - Arriving Down Under

05:04, Sunday 9 December 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Leaving the UK at 13:10 and arriving at the equivilent of 16:00 the next morning was always going to be a slog.  Adding in numerous time zones and a distinct lack of sleep and our first impressions of Oz were probaly not what we expected.

Things did not start well, on check in we found that we had been split up for the second flight, Adele and Rhys were in their original seats near the front of economy, me and Callum were 12 rows further back we were passed around between the Emirates desks with each on telling us someone else needed to sort it out, not a good start but something we could not sort until Dubai.

The take off was smooth, the boys excited especially with the built in screens showing forward and below cameras for them to watch everything go by.  As soon as we were over Sheffield the food came out,  It was edible but I would not recommend it for any Michelin stars :-p,  Once food was cleared Callum sat and watched the cartoons (he loved the Jungle Book and laughed his way through it at least 4 times throughout the whole trip),  We had bags full of colouring, stickers and books for the boys to keep entertained and they did entertain themselves wonderfully.  I was surprised by the leg room, I had some although my adjustable head rest did not adjust and my lumber support was set for Quasimodo, but the first 7 hours to Dubai went without incident.

Dubai was humid,  it smelt like a old laundrette and the terminal is still being built so it was onto a bus to the airport.  Our plan was to get to the desk and sort the seats, then find some food, then clean up and change the boys (all in the 2.5 hours given).  The man on the desk was sympathetic but the check in was not open yet and he would need his supervisor to do any rearrangment.  Task 1 failed then, there were no sandwich shops that we could find on the top level and the boys were too tired to do a sit down restaurant (they thought it was 21:00) so task 2 failed,  we got them changed and headed back to check in where somebody moved around people and got all four of us together (actually in the seats we had booked ???) at last something had worked.  The second plane was a Boeing (we had started on the Airbus) and the size difference showed, more space, more legroom.  We had the middle section with the children between us, as soon as the seatbelt light came on Callum was asleep and Rhys had gone as soon as the light went out.  Me and Adele were not so lucky,  Rhys was laid on me, this meant that everytime he moved he woke me, if I tried to move he shuffled and woke me,  and then as I was on the aisle side anytime anyone came past with a trolley or to the toilet they cracked my arm.  To top it off the idiot sat beside us kept binging his little light and chime for service (why it had to bing on an overnight flight I do not know but I would have happily helped him from his seat after an hour of bing, bing, bing).  I gave up and watched the films being shown and played games,  Adele catnapped at the other end but she could not move for Callums head,  the outcome, around 2 hours sleep split between the two of us over the trip to Singapore.  On the plus side I was awake for breakfast (and hungry).  Rhys slept the whole leg and Callum had four hours straight watched the Jungle Book again and then fell asleep as we landed (typical). 

Landing in Singapore a rain storm had hit,  Very hot, very Humid, no sleep and and turbulent landing meant we came off the plane with skin the colour of tripe.  We were not healthy,  Rhys felt sick, I looked like I was going to pass out under 3 lots of handluggage and Callum was asleep on Adele, and we had an hour to pass!  Luckily we all survived and got back onto the plane for the final leg.  Sitting at Singapore we seemed to drive up and down each runway in turn (evidentally the pilot needed some directions) before informing us the weather front would delay us for 10 minutes.  Finally we were up again and heading for Oz.

The final leg started better, both boys went back to sleep and we both managed to nap to freshen up a little, then it was a case of watching the miles to go count down and looking for our first glance of the land Down Under!  It was dark before we crossed the Indian Ocean so the cameras were useless then out of the cabin window we started to notice that  the sea had become the most fabulous colours,  it was a sunset on the top end, a vertiable rainbow from black, thorough purple and then through the reds and oranges,  and the backdrop of the land silhouetted below.  It was a wonderful first impression.  We still had 4 hours to go to Melbourne so it was back on trying to keep the kids occupied who were starting to show the strain, Callum was bored, Rhys was grumpy and we were in no state to be sympathetic parents full of understanding.  Landing at Melbourne we were already to stop but with the prospect of customs and the baggage carousel our spirits were flagging.  Customs was wonderfully quick then it was a case of finding out how many cases had survived and got to Melbourne with us,  The answer all eight.  The pushchair was the last thing off the plane putting us at the back of the baggage scans but these went without a hitch (even though we had forgotten to declare the wooden toys).  We had arrived and our Visa's were stamped!

We left the airport and walked over to the Holiday Inn, (we could see it and we had signs but on getting there we should have cut across the car park rather than doing a massive loop over 3 main junctions that we were directed around.  The rooms was basic, two double beds and a bathroom but it was bliss.  We washed the boys and put them to bed with a DVD to calm down and then peeled ourselves out of stinking sweaty clothes,  10 minutes later with hot drinks and clean underwear we all felt slightly better,  A quick text to parents to tell them we had arrived and it was time for sleep.  It was 04:00. 

The next morning we were awake at 07:30,  it was only 3:30 of sleep but we all felt better and ready to start, opening the curtains gave a view of the airport so the boys sat in the window watching planes taking off and landing, yellow taxis (much to Callums delight) swept by underneath and every so often a shout of "A Ute a Ute" was to be heard as we tried to organise some of the cases a bit better.  Looking over the vista of gum trees and rolling greenary past the airport it suddenly dawned that we had made it, after 2 years of planning and waiting.  We had been so focused and tired the night before our arrival had been an anticlimax to the point of a complete non-event.  We sat and watched for a bit taking in the sight before rumbling tummy's took the better of us and breakfast called.

Following breakfast and the arrival of Eric (Adele can give the relations - Her mam's cousin (I am led to believe) we collected out hire car after a bit of bartering (I do not think they expected us to check the car over so carefully our make so many notes to be signed off but we were loaded and following Eric orange SUV to the Mornington Peninsula an hours drive away.  The drive was fabulous, warm sun (23 degrees) wide roads, gum trees and skyscrapers in the same view and classic gold on the radio, we even coped with cars overtaking on both sides and crossing junctions on solid white lines but we arrived in Bittern.

The rest of the day was spent unpacking and resorting, trying to stay awake, fending off the dogs and having our first antipodean bar-b-q before sleep overcame and we retired early only.

We have arrived in Oz and we can now start to work out where that is.


Running fast to get nowhere

06:41, Friday 23 November 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Graz here,  thought i would do a quick catch up post because I am bored at work.  Bouncing off the walls here with anticipation and excitement that we are only 10 days to lift off.

We are tearing around trying to close off accounts and sort paperwork but without a date on the house yet we can not actually do anything so we are super prepared without being able to do anything and having probaly lost everything we can do :-p

What is to tell

House is moving on and we are expecting a date next week.

My last day at work is the 30th Nov and everything is completed prior to them shifting all my accounts to Oz (I am staying with the same company).

Car is sold and being collected on the 29th Nov from a the first response to the website advert.

Shippers are booked for the 3rd and 4th of December - went with Robinsons asI worked with one of the former managers/directors (It is who you know !!)

Flights are booked for the 6th for four of us Newcastle to Dubai to Singapore to Melbourne with Emirates,  Stepson is flying out on his own hopefully arriving around the 17th Jan (although there could be a phone call yet....help there are a lot of camels, where am I).

From Melbourne airport hotel we drive to stop with some distant relation of Tiggs on the Mornington Peninsula for a couple of nights to recover.  Then it is load the hire car from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Ocean Road.

I for one am really looking forward to this.  It has been 5 years since a holiday and 2 since we had any time off, so we are taking 3 days to cover the distance stopping in Apollo Bay, Port Fairy and Naracoorte.

We then have the SA Accomadation on Arrival for 12 weeks to get settled.  Although we have no address yet.

We then need to find somewhere to live,  the stepson is over on 17th Jan and the Dog flies over on the 21st Jan for her 30 day holiday in quarantine.

Then i start work in Adelaide on the 7th Jan sunned, relaxed and ready for the new life.

Broadband goes off on the 3rd/4th so updates may be down until we get to the land Down Under .

I am sure there will be plenty to tell!!

32 days and counting

10:15, Monday 5 November 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Have you seen how long it is since i last blogged?!
My only excuse is that i have been so stressed over this blasted house sale that i havent even been able to think of anything else.
I am not going to even go into the whole saga - i really dont want to relive the last fortnight (it was bed enough the first time) suffice it to say that we accepted an offer on the house a week past Saturday!
Apparently our buyers want to be in before christmas  and today we had a visit from the surveyor plus at some point this afternoon our For Sale board became a Sold board ... Yay!

So what have i missed telling you about? ... let me think ...
Graham has sorted his start date for work for the beginning of January, we booked our flights for the 6th December (this could make a whole blog entry in itself as we are STILL waiting for the refund to the credit card after Emirates charged us twice for the tickets) and last wednesday was Graham's birthday!!  So he is now another whole year older .

So what is coming up? ... although the question should really be what is not coming up!
Somehow, in the next 32 days we have to organise moving everything we own to the other side of the world and try and sort out what we are going to do when we get there ... at the moment i really dont know where to start with either of these problems .

Tiggs x

Mince pies from now to December

02:45, Wednesday 24 October 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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The cupboard clearout has now started in earnest with the kitchen and utiltiy room being tackled first.
Anything worn or broken is going in the bin and all those 'extra' food stuffs are being sorted into 'things to use up' and 'things to put into a big box and give to someone who will use them as it is daft to throw perfectly good food out'!

So there i am today sorting through the accumulated clutter ... and there, in the back of the fruit juice cupboard (of all places?!), i found FOUR jars of sweet mince meat that i made last Christmas and didnt get around to using up!  It was one of Delia Smith's recipes and it made a HUGE batch of mincemeat - far more than i needed for christmas eve mince pies - and the rest had sat forgotten in the back of the cupboard until now.  So guess what the kids and i did this afternoon - yup that is right we made mince pies!!

Trouble is that the batch we made today only used up about half of a jar - meaning we have at least another 5 batches to go to finish it all off.  So you have been warned - if you decide to pop round to ours for tea anytime in the near future expect to be fed mince pies from now until we fly!

Tiggs x

The rollercoaster just got steeper ...

08:58, Saturday 20 October 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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OMG - what a week!
we started the week with a house buyer ...
on thursday morning Graham got a job offer in Adelaide (hurray!!!!) ...
on thursday afternoon our EA had phoned to say that our buyers had pulled out of our house sale ...

... so we are ending the week with a job offer and a crisis.  We need to be in Adelaide asap but we cant go until we sell the house!

To steal an appropriate quote: This is a crisis. A large crisis ... it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof, saying 'This Is a Large Crisis'.

What would you do?!
There have been so many ups and downs this week that i feel like an emotional wreck.  I have gone from feeling like everything was coming together to being in tears in the space of one phone call.  I have gone from being philisophical about things outside of my control to working myself into a state about what i could have done differently.  I have made myself feel ill by letting things get to me that i should have let wash over me.
So it now time it sort myself out again.  Graham has a job offer(!!!) which it would be stupid to turn down.  This means that we need to be in OZ by the middle of December at the latest.  We have a house that HAS to sell before we can go.  So there it is - in back and white (or whatever colour you have your screen set too!).  So the plan is - get rid of the house at all costs and get on a plane for Oz.  Quite simple when you look at it like that.  Just got to actually work out how to accomplish it now!

Tiggs x

The big clearout - Episode I - The Loft

10:12, Thursday 11 October 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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I have to admit that the loft is the not somewhere that i venture very often ...
When i need something storing i box or bag it, leave it in a strategic position (usually directly under the loft hatch) and drop some not very subtle hints to Graham.  When i next go past the item has magically disappeared .

So when Graham said he was going to start bringing boxes down from the loft to sort i didnt think too much more about it.  As you can imagine it came as a bit of a shock to me at the shear number of boxes and bags that had accumulated in the last 10 years.

Of course the majority of it is junk - i cant even imagine why i have kept some of the stuff up there ... the highlights so far have been a pink tassled lamp shade and a box of lace curtain .
Come to think of it I am fairly sure that i have NEVER used a pink tassled lamp shade at any point in my life - so why i have one stored in my loft has left me somewhat puzzled, and as for the lace curtain ... well even assuming by some strange chain of events lace curtain actually came back into fashion, who in their right mind would use old lace curtain that had been stored in a loft for years and years?!  The stuff has a horrible tendancy to turn yellow even when it is hanging at a window and no amount of nylene (or whatever it is called) will ever actually make it white again.  The only solution to yellowed lace curtain is to buy some new - hence my puzzlement at the reasoning that made me keep a box full of it in the loft.

So after two trips to the tip and two trips to local charity shops (car bulging at the seams each time) how do you think our loft is looking?  Well actually is it still looking just as full as it did before ... so now that i have managed to offended everyone who has lace curtain in their house i think i had better get back to the clearing out.

Tiggs x

A fortnight later ...

04:24, Saturday 6 October 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Nearly a fortnight after the offer on our house we have had not further contact from our buyers.  Beginning to get concenrned with the lack of ... well anything ... we called into the EA this morning to ask what was going on.  To cut a long story short it turns out that our buyers have not yet even signed their mortgage paperwork - so in effect we are still where we were two weeks ago .

No paperwork means no mortgage company involvement yet, which means no surveyor booked, which means no go ahead from the mortgage company, which means they could still have their mortgage application refused ...  and all the while we are sitting here and other potential buyers are putting in offers and buying other properties.

As you can probably tell i am a little cheesed off to say the least ... message to my buyers - if you want to buy my house then just get on with it .

Told the EA today that i am NOT moving in december (what a nightmare that would be trying to explain to our kids why santa has put all of their presents into a container which is currently somehere in the indian ocean!!!) so our buyers are going to have to pull out their finger and get sorted or they can just wait until January (god i hope it doesnt come to that ).  EA have promised to chase them on Monday, said they would phone us when the paperwork was signed and hopefully things would move much quicker from now on.

Well they really cant go any slower can they?!

Tiggs x

Dog shippers compared (does this count as "Lab" testing?!)

07:54, Wednesday 26 September 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Lab testing - comparing dog shippers - labrador retriever - get it?!
I'll get my coat ....

Seriously though I can honestly say i am more worried about putting my dog in a crate on her own and sending her off for 30 days without me than i am about moving my family to the other side of the world.   But it must be done so having done a little research i though i would share it with you all.

Background info - 'Daisy' a black labrador/staffie cross of small-to-medium size, age 8, affectionately known at home as 'thicky' due to being a dog of very little brain (but still very cute!).  Quotes are to go to Sydney approx around May 2008 (might need to change both the location and the date when we actually decide where/when we are going!)

I decided to get quotes from 3 companies - doing a search for pet shippers on BE and (discounting those who several people had said were not good) came up with AirPets, Golden Arrow, and Par Air.  I will list what the quotes included and what i personally though of the company and the info they sent out:

AirPets - www.airpets.co.uk
Filled in the online quote form which asked for dog measurements.
Simple and easy to follow instructions and filled in form Friday quote arrived in post Monday.
Paperwork fairly comprehensive and reasonably easy to understand.  Letter friendly and assuring 'caring hands' which i quite liked :)
Close to airport so no additional transfer time which i thought was a plus.
Quote included import permit and worming/defleaing etc.
Quote £2351 + £510 to collect from home.
This was all looking good to me until i got to the price!!!!

Golden Arrow - 0158 868 0240
No website had to phone (Friday) and they posted out forms which arrived on Monday.
Paperwork comprehensive and easy to understand (i liked the questions and answers format) and they included a sae for sending back info.
Sent back form (which asked for dog measurements) on Wednesday quote back on Friday.
Letter friendly and reassuring and (proving i am a rather sad person ) i loved the booklet they included in the literature which was all letters from happy animal owners who had previously used their services.
They are in Shropshire so i was a little worried about the additional traveling of approx 3 hours transfer time to airport.
Quote includes import permit and worming/defleaing etc.
Quote £1826 (oops i forgot to ask about cost of uk pickup)
I was unsure about doing everything 'snail mail' - seems a bit daft when the internet and email are easier and quicker.  Extra transfer time to the airport worried me a little too - more time in the crate.  I did like the suggestion that you drop the dog at least the day before the flight (the price included up to 3 nights boarding) as they like to have time to get the dog used to the crate before they load them up.

Par Air - www.ParAir.co.uk
Filled in the online quote form which asked for dog measurements, microchip number, owners flight dates ... and lots of other stuff that i didnt know so i didnt fill in!
Filled in form Friday quote arrived in post Wednesday.
Paperwork fairly confusing and i didnt really follow what it was saying (and i already knew what we needed to do!).
They are in Colchester so again there is an additional transfer time of about 1 1/2 hours to airport.
Quote did not included import permit (additional A$280) which we would have to apply for ourselves (!?!)
Did not include and worming/defleaing and Export Health Certificate (additional £57).
Quote £1617 + £236 to collect from home.
Do i need to say anything about this?  I bet you can already guess which company i am NOT using!

All things considered we are going to go with Golden Arrow.  i feel more comfortable with the idea of handing my dog over to them than the others and the price/service seems the best too.  There is that transfer time but Daisy is used to traveling on roads so i think she will be fine.  My Mam and Dad have volunteered to take Daisy to the kennels so she wont need crating for that time and it is also a darned sight cheaper to cover their costs than it is to have her picked up!

Phew glad i got through that lot!
Going to do furniture shipping next!!!

Tiggs x

Subject to Contract

12:30, Tuesday 25 September 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Yay! After much deliberation and debate we decided today to accept the offer on our house!
It was not quite as much as we would have liked but it is a reasonable offer and with the current state of the housing market we have decided to take it and run!  Our buyers are chain free, already have a mortgage in principle and are local and want to stay local.  All in all the few grand less that we will end up with seem worth it to be chain free (huge nightmare avoided!) and to be able to move reasonably quickly.

We added a couple of conditions to our acceptance (for one we have stated that under NO circumstances will we drop the price any lower) but they buyers were happy with everything so we are officially SOLD - Subject to Contract.

I am sure that i should be feeling happier about this - the trouble is that selling a house in the UK is such a hit or miss affair that until you get to the end of the selling process you dont actually know that you ARE going to get to the end - if you see what i mean.  With both buyers and sellers able to pull out right up to the final moment it just seems far too early yet to celebrate.

So instead i am going to try not to think about it - at least for the next couple of weeks when i cant do anything to move things along anyway.  i have loads of other stuff to organise for our move so there is plenty to keep me occupied - i think i will start with the shipping quotes, although i am not looking forward to finding out how expensive it is to transport things to the other side of the planet.

Tiggs x

Its only Monday ... but could this be our lucky week?!

01:10, Monday 24 September 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Ok it is only Monday but already this week we have a potential offer on our house (bit less than we were hoping for but still worth considering) AND Graham has an interview on Wednesday for a job in Adelaide!

Is everything going to fall into place this week ... ??!! ... or am i going to get all overexcited only for the whole lot to fall through?!

Most of the time i would not be happy if someone tried to tell me what my future held (i like a surprise!) but today i would be very very glad to get my hands on a crystal ball.

Tiggs x

So near and yet so far

09:46, Tuesday 21 August 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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4:30pm We have a full asking price offer on our house!
Second viewers from last night have come back with a no nonsense straight off full asking price offer - fantastic!

4.40pm Dont book the flights yet.
EA has been back on the phone - they have confirmed that our 'buyers' have accepted an offer on their property ... but ... their buyers have not yet sold their flat.  So we are really no further forward.

Actually i think we may have taken another step back.  I was all set to change estate agents this week in the hope of actually getting this sale moving - that is going to be more of a problem now.  Plus i have a feeling that our useless EA is going to do even less work now (if that is actually possible) and we are going to be unlikely to see another viewer in the near future.  We havent got the time, or the inclination, to sit and wait for someone somewhere down a chain to try and sell a property - that may or may not EVER sell!

Just feeling jammed in a corner at the moment -  i have no idea where we go from here.

Tiggs x

You wait for a viewing for ages - then two come along together

09:00, Monday 20 August 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Well for numerous reasons (that i may or may not get around to blogging at a later date) we have recently confirmed that our estate agent is currently holding the title of Worst Estate Agent in the World.

However having told him last week that i would rather take my house off the market than pay him he has finally got off his backside and sorted us not just one house viewing for today but two!  Plus i am amazed at the level of common sense shown in arranging the two viewings straight after each other so i only have to clean the once!

Somehow though i get the feeling this is only going to be a temporary improvement in the EAs level of service - i just hope that one of these viewers turns into a buyer then i wont need to worry about it anymore!

Tiggs x

Well there it is ...

06:39, Thursday 16 August 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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... just sitting there in my passport ... my visa that is!

Our passports arrived this morning, back from their little jaunt to the Australian High Commission in London.  Somehow the whole moving to the other side of the world thing seems a little more real when you see the words 'Holder(s) permitted to remain in Australia indefinitely'. 

I do have to admit that i have looked at it about a dozen times during today.  Yes i have just looked again - and yes IT IS actually there!   lol

Tiggs x

The very naughty blogger

09:18, Tuesday 14 August 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Two of the most important traits that make a blog what it is are regular updates and up to the minute information ...

...so with this in mind i am starting this entry with an apology - not only has it been 10 days since i last wrote a blog entry but a whole week has gone past since we ...

got our visas!

and i havent been on my blog to let you all know!
On Tuesday 7 August 2007 at 7:15am Graham telephoned me from work and said 'we have a visa' and i replied ... 'are you having me on?'
Well he wasnt and we had and we are actually going to live in Australia!

Now just a couple of hundred things left to do before we go ... we will be there in no time .

Tiggs x

Its a sign - the update

09:10, Friday 20 July 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Thought i would do a quick update on my house viewing this morning.

Bit of background first ... one of the houses at the bottom of our street has recently sold and the new owners have spent the last few weeks literally ripping everything out from inside.  New kitchen has gone in, new bathroom, decorated all through, new flooring etc etc etc ...

Anyway it turns out that my 'viewer' this morning is the mother of the new owners from down the street.  She is professing to be looking to downsize her home and buy something near her daughter.

Do we believe this?  Not on your life!  It doesnt take a genius to realise that she is only here to have a snoop around and see what we have done.
So much for that viewer then.  Onto the next.  I just wish i hadnt bothered spending all day yesterday cleaning.

This did remind of an email one of my friends sent me when i told him that i was writing the advert for selling my house - he had suggesed:
For sale 'house'.
Complete with doors and windows. Suitable for people. Time wasters please bring a bottle or small gift.
I can see where he was coming from now.

Tiggs x

It's a sign!

08:38, Thursday 19 July 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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A 'for sale' sign. 
On my house this morning!

Actually when i saw it going up i felt quite queasy!  Bit of a 'what the heck are we doing?' feeling.  But it only lasted a few minutes - especially when i looked out and it had started to rain again!

The estate agent has really been trying hard today - i have had three phone calls, a revised copy of the house details (still a couple of daft typos but it is about a squillion times better than their first attempt) and an appointment for a viewing tomorrow!
See i told all of you doubters that i should give him a second chance!

Tiggs x

Have i done the right thing?

08:36, Wednesday 18 July 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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When i got up this morning i was fully intending telling the estate agent that we no longer required his services.  It would probably have been something of a world record - sacking him after just 6 days!
However after talking on the phone i have to admit that i was bribed into giving him another chance.  His apologies for the problems, assurances of the highest quality service from this point forwards, and promises of continuous newspaper advertising for the first few weeks as a 'feature property' had me convinced.  I suppose i am a bit of a pushover really .

What would you have done?
He had originally promised that we would have the house details to look at on Friday (they never appeared).  We got a phone call Saturday to say he needed to take more photos could he pop round? (he never showed up).  We phoned on Monday - he wasnt in the office but would definitely phone us back Tuesday. (he didnt but we did get the house details through the door).  Then the house details turned out to be the biggest load of [email protected]* i have ever seen from any estate agent EVER!!

Graz thinks that i should have told him to bog off and phoned one of the other agents.   But I like to think the best of people and I would like to think that he is going to put in extra effort and get everything just right in order to keep our business (and his %).

Hmmm ... maybe i am being rather naive?

I did tell him that there was no way i was signing a 12 week sole agency agreement with him (he dropped it to 8 weeks) which i am quite proud of myself for doing - usually i just agree to stuff in order to avoid any sort of confrontation but i had decided to be calm and stand my ground about what i wanted, which i did.

So have i done the right thing?  I guess only time will tell - about 8 weeks should do it.

Tiggs x

An English sense of humour ... and an Ozzie

02:22, Saturday 14 July 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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It is now officially 6 weeks since our police checks went to Oz.
By all accounts we should have our visas by now.

Getting all impatient Graham emailed our agent and managed to hassle her into agreeing to email oz immigration for us.  She said she would but warned us that there was a good chance that we would not even get a reply.  She said that there had been very few grants coming through for the last month and she had not seen any since 1st July.
Graham emailed her back and being in a slightly daft mood he asked her 'does that mean that Oz is full?!' 

We were both more than a little surprised when the email back with what we can only assume was a serious answer!  She started it with an 'Oh no it doesnt mean that' and then gave us a whole list of reasons that things are slow!
We both sort of looked at each other.  'Do you think she got the joke?' i asked.  'I think maybe not' replied Graham.
Graham did email her back and tell her he had been joking - but she didnt reply - i hope we didnt upset her!

So we are taking this as the first major discrepancy between our English sense of humour and that of an Ozzie!  No doubt there will be many more.  I wonder who will get the biggest laugh?!

Tiggs x

OMG - house selling panic!!!

08:31, Sunday 1 July 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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A few weeks ago i got all organised and found a house selling website that gave free listings.  I wrote the advert and took the photos but i never quite got round to actually posting the listing.

So i was sitting this afternoon having a cuppa and i thought i might as well upload everything and then i could at least say we were officially on the market.
The whole thing (including a couple of small edits) took about 15 minutes - just enough time to add a choccy biscuit to go with my cuppa - then i closed down the computer and went off to paint the cabinets in my bathroom.

Less than three hours later i was rather surprised when the mobile rang - i couldnt think why anyone would be phoning my work mobile on a sunday.  I was absolutely astounded when it turned out to be someone who had seen the house advert online and was wanting to come around to view on Tuesday afternoon!!!

So this is where the panic comes in.  The house is fairly tidy - i had spent most of last week tiding and sorting for the estate agent on Friday - but it is nowhere near the super clean, tidy and staged home that i was intending showing to potential buyers!  For a start my bathroom cabinets are now half way through being painted (i never would have started if i had thought for one moment that i would have viewings this week!)
I just keep looking around me and thinking - i havent done that yet, or that, or that even, or .....

Ok ... trying to stay calm ... everything is all right - i just need to clean the WHOLE house tomorrow ... .

Tiggs x

EA ... eta ... today

10:09, Friday 29 June 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Today was estate agent number one.
Having spent ALL day yesterday (until about half ten at night) tidying up the house i finally stopped just 10 mins before the estate agent was due to arrive this morning.  As she was 5 mins early i didnt even have time to sit down!
Never mind.  She looked around, took all the room measurements, we had a discussion about fees and charges (one and a quarter percent, free advertising, no sale no fee, no fee if you take the house off the market - all looked good to me).
I had debated for quite some time about what i was going to say when asked why we were moving but in the end i decided to go with the truth.  I was worried that if potential buyers knew we were going to oz then they would make a stupid offer or try to drop the price at the last moment.  On consideration though i decided just to make it clear that we are not intending to move to oz until next year and that we will be renting until then so we are in no particular hurry to sell.  Just for good measure i also mentioned that if we had any problems selling we would probably just rent the house instead - not what we really want to do but it is a last option and hopefully it will make the ea realise that we would not be accepting a daft offer.

i have started with our local independant estate agent (i actually bought through them 10 years ago) but they have a bit of a reputation locally for undervaluing property.  That meant I was pleasantly surprised when she valued it at about price we were thinking of marketing at.  I had expected her valuation to be at least 5k less.  Of course now i cant help speculating that we might get more than we thought!  The danger always is though that you start to get greedy and end up with a higher asking price and no viewers.  Need to remember to keep it realistic.
Anyway we have two more estate agents coming in next week so we will see what they say.

Tiggs x

First deadline ... did we make it?

01:35, Friday 22 June 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Those of you who read my blog regularly may remember that way back at the start of May we set ourselves a deadline date to get the house on the market.  Well that date is today.
So did we do it?  Are we on the market?
Well actually no.  The house is not on the market, is not quite finished and is definitely not tidy/clean enough for selling.  However i am not too upset or worried.  I knew when we set the date that we were on a near impossible task but it was more way of pushing ourselves to get done than anything else ... and it has certainly done that.
One hell of a lot of work later and the house is looking really good.  There are still odds and ends to sort out - but when are there not?
The advert for selling the house on the internet is done (just need to add a selling price!) and we will get the estate agents in next week.
Those little odd jobs that still need doing will gradually get done over the next few weeks - but my priority for the next week is cleaning.  We need to be spick and span for all of those lovely viewers!

Tiggs x

... and on to Adelaide.

11:10, Friday 1 June 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Email this morning from Wendy to say that our police checks have been emailed to Adelaide.

That is it then.
I updated our timeline and all we have to do now is wait.
My best guess from looking at other people timelines is anything up to about 6 weeks.

Dont know what to do now .... i guess i just get on with the diy.

Tiggs x
(feeling slightly lost ??!?)

We have police checks!

11:07, Thursday 31 May 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Yay - we have three police checks all saying 'nothing on file'

There they were in the post first thing this morning and by lunch time they were back in the post on their way to our agent.  Didnt even get a chance to look at them properly!!!!

Tiggs x

Lost and Found

09:00, Monday 21 May 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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I have been doing my best to stay calm and not get panicky about our visa application but after hearing nothing more about Andrews missing xray i finally cracked this morning and got Graham to phone the panel doctor to find out what was happening.

Turns out they had found the missing xray and our medicals were collected by courier on Thurs 17th and are probably in Sydney by now.
So much for the doctor keeping us informed. 

Never mind, I am determined not to get stresses and at least that is another thing done.  I just hope that the medicals are fine and we dont get asked for any more info.  At this rate my blood pressure is going to be off the scale!

Just sitting here now waiting for the police checks to come back ..... 26 days and counting!

Tiggs x

X-ray cant make it across town - nevermind across the world!

03:45, Friday 11 May 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Just had the panel doc on the phone saying that he has everything EXCEPT Andrews x-ray which hasnt turned up from the clinic!

We had all three x-rays done at the same time but my best guess is that the different surname has them confused!  (obviously doesnt take much!)

Doc said he would chase them so fingers crossed they can find it and send it onto him ....
I thought he was going to say the courier had collected our meds and they were on their way to oz

It the x-ray cant make it 10 miles across town what chance have the medicals in making it the 10,000 miles to Australia?!

*sigh* There is always something else to worry about ...

Tiggs x

First deadline set ... will we make it?!

09:16, Friday 4 May 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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In september it will be 10 years since i bought our house and for all of that time it has been a 'work in progress'.  Originally it had no kitchen at all (literally just a room with a sink) and the whole place needed gutting and redecorating.
Years have come and years have gone and it has gradually improved but never actually made it to finished - and now when we are just about beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel we are planning on selling up and moving on.

With work still to do we have decided that what we need is a deadline to aim at so today we sat down and set the date - our house WILL be on the market by the 22nd June.
We have agreed that even if all is not finished i will still be phoning the estate agents.  We really need to start moving forwards towards oz and the house is definitely now holding us back.  So here we go - one last big push!!

Tiggs x

An easy way to spend £900!

08:43, Thursday 3 May 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Medicals day ...

2 adult medicals
3 kids medicals
3 xrays
3 blood tests
1 courier to oz
Total = £900

In less than 3 hours - done dusted and skint!!

Then just to top off the spending i went to our doctors this afternoon to get a copy of a couple of letters that the panel doctor had asked for (hospital discharge letter for Andrew being a prem baby etc) and my doctors are charging me £15 for the privilege! 

I just hope that we dont need anything else - at this rate we wont be able to afford the flights to actually go!
Tiggs x

The last of the paperwork (hopefully!)

08:35, Thursday 26 April 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Well our police check request forms were handed into Cramlington police station yesterday and the medicals are now booked for 3rd May.

Neither of these is going to be a problem (hopefully!) - Graham and i have both had recent police checks for work/voluntary work that were all clear and unless Andrew is guilty by association he will be fine!  I cant see a problem with the meds either - non of us have ever had anything major wrong medically (touch wood) so should be a formality (hopefully!).

This whole visa/moving to oz thing is finally starting to feel real to me.  Just the last couple of things to sort and we should finally be able to plan properly - no more 'when we (hopefully!) get to oz we can ... ' and onto 'when we are in oz next april we can ... ' !!

Tiggs x

Panic - we have a CO!!!!

11:21, Tuesday 17 April 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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OMG!!! we have an email from Marina saying that we have a case officer and they are requesting medicals and police checks!!!
They have not requested any other info which Marina assumes means that they are happy with the rest of the application!

Graham is rather happy (bouncing around the house like one of the kids!)
To me it suddenly it feels very real and it did occur to me that if we had frontloaded then there is a chance they would actually have gone straight to grant and we could have had our visa now .
I didnt realise that it would feel quite so scary already!  Goodness knows how i am going to be when we actually get to the moving to oz part of this!

i think that it is the speed of this that has taken me by surprise - i had spent ages looking at other peoples timelines and from what i had seen we didnt expect to have a CO until around June.  I know that oz immigration have said that they were going to try and get through some of the backlog but they really seem to have got moving lately.  At this rate we should (hopefully!) have our visa by June!

However this good news does somewhat throw a spanner in the works of my carefully planned timetable.  (yes yet another list - and this one has dates and things on it too!)
But i have decided to embrace the unknown and i am just going to get on with it with the view (hope?!) that things will work out in the end. 
And the most surprising thing?!  I havent even updated my timetable!!  Is this the beginning of the end of list making for Tiggs?!!  Somehow i dont think so

Tiggs x

Well that visa application is finally on its way.

01:24, Friday 26 January 2007 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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January 26th 2007 - the 219th Australia Day ...
... and by sheer coincidence also the day that our visa application finally set off on its trip to Oz. .

Way back in July 2005 Graham had this daft idea that we should pack up all our wordly possessions, our kids, the dog and move it all to Australia - a place that we have never been and are not likely to visit until we arrive as new immigrants!
It has already taken us 18 months just to get to this stage.  So will we ever actually get there?  At the moment it doesnt really feel like it - we know that we are on a long wait to just recieve our a confirmation and the idea of a visa grant is a distant point on a far horizon.

I am sure as we work our way through 2007 the prospect will become more real (and proabably a lot scarier ) but for the time being i am just going to relax about it, after all it is a national holiday, at least it is in Australia ... no worries .

Tiggs x

11 weeks and 6 days later...............

09:56, Wednesday 1 November 2006 | Posted in Migration to Oz
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Well it has only taken 11 weeks and 6 days but today we finally got Graz's skills assessment result from the ACS with a big ...


... so it is onto the visa application for us!! 
After all that waiting around for a reply we should be well practiced for waiting for our visas!!

If I had been a little more on the ball then we could be sending off our main application right now - but when am i ever that organised?!!  With a bit of luck (and rather more effort that i have been putting in lately ) we will be sorted before the end of November and you never know we might have actually gave a visa before the end of next year!! (good job we are not in a hurry!)

Tiggs x

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