Moving Day!

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Well, moving to a hotel down the road for one night so yesterday I started the task of packing. I don’t know what happened, we did not buy any new clothes but somehow, I need to go buy a new suitcase. Did some sweaters reproduce while they were sitting in the drawers? Mystery to me but here I am, I need to add to my morning “to do list”, Go buy suitcase. This will be done after I go to O2 to pay my final bill and close out our account. Therefore, just wanted to let anyone know, if you need to reach us, do it by messenger. It’s the best way. Peter is still accessible via work email since he will still have his work phone.

I will turn on my Montreal cell phone with Wi-Fi whenever I am in a Wi-Fi zone but that will be the extent of it. No roaming.

All that is left to do this morning is put back this flat to the original state when found it in. Meaning, clean all the mirrors, vacuum and dust everything and then get the leopard out of the cupboard and back onto the sofa along with all the other fur blankets…this landlord sure is special. Oh well, on to the next place.

 

WTF Wednesday, We Rented a Lemon!

Daddy Cool and I have been living in a short term rental since January 6th and it has been bumpy to say the least.

First week we moved in, a leak was coming from our bathroom (don’t know where exactly) and water pouring into the kids bedroom below us. It got fixed by the end of the first week.

Second week, boiler went on the fritz! No hot water and heat for a full day. Contractor was called and he came to fix it.

Third week, the flat above us is doing some work and hammering away. Chunk of plaster and dust come down the chimney. Didn’t think it was a working fireplace but it would seem the chimney is still opened. Didn’t have to call contractor but I had to do some major vacuuming.

In week four, five and six, finally a little rest. Just some light bulbs in chandelier that keep on going out. I changed them yesterday when I noticed I was starting to be a little in the dark.

Monday morning this week, I’m in Belfast, Peter is shaving and pouff, all four lights in the bathroom go out. WTF!!!! He emailed me as I was getting on plane at Dublin airport. I immediately emailed Dee (our property manager), and she called the contractor. He came yesterday, played with the dimmer switch for 30 minutes only to come up with, “Well it looks like you need 4 new light bulbs. Do you have any?”

“Nope”

“I will have to go to store and come back.” He did and changed the light bulbs in the bathroom. They are not the right size but I don’t care, only 3 more days to go until I move our bags to a nice hotel down the road. I want to spend our last night in London in the comforts of a hotel hoping that nothing will happen.

At this moment, I am a little disappointed in my choice of short term rental. For the amount of money I paid for 7 weeks, (£8200 including my £1100 deposit which I better get back in full!) I feel like I rented a dud. Yes, the location was right in terms of parking with our car, closeness to squash club and we knew the neighborhood but man, plumbing and electricity need updating and Wi-Fi doesn’t make it all the way to the bedroom in the back.

When the contractor left yesterday he asked me, “How much longer are you here for?” to which I replied, “We are leaving on Friday afternoon.” He then said with a chuckle, “Well Mrs. Cooper, it’s been nice meeting you but I hope we never meet again.”

I simply replied, “ME TOO!”

 

 

 

 

Two Weeks To Go!

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Daddy Cool and I are off in less than two weeks from today and most of the people that know this ask us, ”You are going to miss London, right?”

Of course I will miss London! London is a beautiful, vibrant city with lots to do but, yes there is a but, it is not perfect. There are things am I going to miss and things I am not going to miss. Here’s a short list:

Top Things I am going to miss about London:

  1. World class museums. London has some of the best museums I have seen and most are free. They do have exhibits that you have to pay for but for 10 to 15 quid these exhibits are worth it. I personally have seen some of the best exhibits in my life in the museums here.
  2. Public transportation. Between the tube, the bus and the overground (trains for suburbs), London has some of the best public transportation in the world. You can get anywhere in this city with public transport. We rarely use the car in the city. Peter uses it to get to squash and that’s it. Otherwise, we have used the ”Green Machine” (our car), for weekend trips and whenever we had to go outside of London. You don’t need a car in London, you can get anywhere with public transport and walking.
  3. Walking. Yes, I will miss walking everywhere. It is a great way to discover a city and Peter and I will miss our walks in Hyde Park. Living by the park we have grown accustom to just go for walks on weekends and sometimes at night. Just to see a different part of the park. It is a lovely park and we understand why so many enjoy it every day.
  4. Groceries. I know, Groceries? Well, according to a UN report, Bermuda has the most expensive groceries in the world. We have a saying on the island, “it’s the Price of Palm Trees!” London has an amazing variety of groceries. Between farmer’s markets, big chain stores and Ocado who will deliver to your door from 5:30 am till midnight…, yeah I think I will miss the grocery options I had in London.
  5. The West End. London is home to some of the best plays and musicals and we have enjoyed many of them in our 5 and 1/2 years here. Let’s not forget, because we lived so close to Royal Albert Hall, we used to go there a lot as well. Yes, we will miss world class entertainment.
  6. Cinemas. One thing that Bermuda does not have is GREAT cinemas. Peter and I have always enjoyed “going to the movies” and I think we will cut back on that once on the Rock. We’ll just have to do like we did when we lived there. As soon as we get off the island, go see a couple movies.
  7. Weekend Getaways. Daddy Cool and I have taken advantage of the fact that when you live here, it’s easy and not that expensive, to get on a plane and go spend a long weekend and explore a foreign land. Now we just plan on being closer to Thing 1 and Thing 2 and see them more often.
  8. My Canadian Women friends that I have met throughout the years. Every Wednesday morning we meet for walks through Regent’s park and we have coffee. These are the same ladies I have my monthly book exchange with. A lovely group of Canadian Expat who have lived all over the globe and always have funny and interesting stories to share. I will miss them.

 

Top Things I am Not Going to Miss About London- Or Rather, things I am looking forward to.

  1. Grey skies and having to take vitamin D. – Yep I can throw away that supplement, all I will have to do is get out by the pool.
  2. Unfriendly Londoners. Sorry Londoners but you have to be the most unfriendly people I have met in the world. I run in Hyde Park and as a runner, you are suppose to greet the other runners, they are part of your tribe. NOPE! Not in London, they look down or avoid all eye contact. I am convinced that if a fellow runner says hi, he or she is a tourist who brought their sneakers in other to run in the park while on Vacay. We have lived here for 5 1/2 years and the only neighbors we talked to are the French family across the mews from us and the young Italian artist who used to come and borrow garlic. Aside from that, the English folks just look down when they cross you. No eye contact….I am looking forward to the Bermuda way of saying hi to total strangers.
  3. Jet Lag! So much traveling across the pond and I swear, it is getting harder to deal with Jet Lag when I get back and also getting harder to leave Thing 1 and Thing 2 every time we come back. It will be nice to be closer and not have to deal with jet lag when we go back home.
  4. Hard water that destroys your clothes. Washer/Dryer that take 3 hours to do a small load! And here in the short term rental, we have a combi (combination washer dryer), not kidding folks, close to 5 hours for one load.
  5. Light switch outside the bathroom and no plugs in the bathrooms. I really can’t get over that one. While I am on the subject of electricity, BIG FUCKING PLUGS!!!! WTF! surely this is 2018, someone can come up with a smaller version….It will be nice to go back to hydro that I grew up with.
  6. Looking forward to one big fridge with a big freezer!
  7. Looking forward to a real microwave who will make popcorn, truly make the whole bag.
  8. Not much for public transport in Bermuda and yes we will be using our car and scooters more but yeah for scooters! They are fun and heck, the place is so tiny, getting to most places from where we live will take 15 minutes without much traffic.
  9. Looking forward to swimming in the morning at National Pool Stadium.
  10. Looking forward to kayaking the beautiful waters of Bermuda, (already ordered my kayak). Same with paddle boarding…
  11. Looking forward to spending time with my Floaties!
  12. Pretty sure Daddy Cool is looking forward to squash at the BSRA and having a TCD (no not the Transport Control Department but rather The Cooper Drink) after a match. And if you want to know what is in a TCD, you have to come to the BSRA to find out.
  13. And I’m pretty sure, Daddy Cool can’t wait to go golfing more often.

 

There you have it. London has been great but I guess I am just looking forward to a slower pace lifestyle and less people. Having lived in Bermuda before, I know it is not perfect by any means but I can’t wait to be there and start the next chapter.

The Winner Is…

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The Pool House.

I did it! I found a place for us to live for the next three years.

For a day there, it was quite stressful. Last Wednesday morning, before I left to see houses in Bermuda, there were 8 houses for me to view. Wednesday night before going to bed, I received an email from our real estate agent in Bermuda, we were down to 4 properties available. WTF! Four had received serious offers.

Thursday afternoon I flew to Bermuda, stayed with my good friends the Penistons and crossed my fingers it was all going to work out on Friday morning, and I was going to find a place to live. I had to, Thing 1 and one of her girlfriend have tickets to arrive March 5th and stay for a week, and my brother and his wife are coming March 18th to the 30th. The pressure was on.

My favorite one was called Harissii’s (no this is not a typo, this is how it is written on the lease). I had asked the agent to see that one first thing at 9 am so my bestie, Lorrie, dropped me off at the Harrington Sound Primary school where I got picked up by my agent. As soon as I sat in the car the agent said to me, “Harissii’s got an offer last night but not a full one”. My thought, and I probably said it out loud, FUCK!

We drove up Harrington Hundreds rd in Smith’s Parish, took a left on Oleander Hill and kept on driving up to Harissii’s and when we parked in the horseshoe driveway I knew I wanted it. A typical Bermuda cottage, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, nice kitchen, living room and it comes with a guest cottage, a pool and pool house. But what got me are the views of Harrington Sound and the South Shore. I quickly told the agent to make a “full ask” offer. She called the other agent, made the offer and said, “Okay, let’s go see the other ones while we wait to hear.” The other ones did not come even close to Harissii’s.

After all the viewings, she dropped me off into town and said she would call me as soon as she heard. I grabbed coffee and walked over to my bestie’s office where I took a little nap while she worked.

20 minutes later, power nap over, we went to look at cars. She was also buying a new car and she took a test drive with me and my Thing 3 in the back of the car. The Suzuki Baleno is a nice car. It reminded me a lot of my Suzuki Liana but I had my eye on the Hyundai Creta that I had viewed back in October. Lorrie had mentioned to the salesman that we both wanted to buy so he gave us a little deal and we both ordered our cars that are in the warehouse in New Jersey. My Creta should be there and ready to go for us on Feb. 26th.

When I returned from lunch I had received the great news by email that Harissii’s was ours! Woohoo! Yesterday, as I was walking into our temporary flat in London, I received a copy of our lease signed by us and our new landlady, it’s official!

Here are a few pictures of our views.Harissii3

The pool house from the cottage.

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Harrington Sound views from my front porch.

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And I found out we have dock rights to this dock on Harrington Sound. Excellent, Lorrie took me to PW Marine and I ordered my kayak.

Now that we have an address, I was told yesterday that our shipment would leave the UK and slowly make its way to “De Rock”. The countdown to Feb. 26th (when we land) has begun.

 

A Temporary Move

Over the weekend the kids helped us move into our short let.

For the next 43 days, the Coopers will be calling 37 Stanhope Gardens, Flat #2, home.

There were not a lot of options for a short term let in our area and Daddy Cool wanted to be close to tube, squash and have lots of street parking. I think I found a good spot for us. Yes, it is eclectic and no we would not live there year round but for now it will do.

Now, while looking at these pictures, please keep in mind that our landlord is a 60 year old male who lives in Capetown, South Africa and uses this flat in the summer.

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When we picked up the keys on Saturday, they told us that if we find the leopard offensive we can remove him. Not that it was offensive but it’s just not very practical when he slides off onto you while you are reading. So the leopard has been removed.

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Notice the real turtle shell lamps!

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This is the study that I can’t use. I am barred from the study. At the moment it is being used as storage for our suitcases.

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The little conservatory where we are to eat.

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The settee in our bedroom for me to lounge…

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The desk that I WILL NOT USE!

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Don’t know who this dude is?

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Tiny kitchen/laundry room but it has everything. Well, except for a freezer. The freezer is a rack for the ice cube trays. I have a feeling I will be planning and cooking daily meals.

At the moment,  I am back at 59 Princes Gate Mews and the movers are busy packing our house. I hear a lot of tape being put on boxes as well as singing along to Withney Houston. No joke, Paul the mover seems like a fan.

 

Selling Our Stuff

Moving from a 220 amp country to a 110 means one thing, I have to sell anything with a huge plug. Honestly, the big UK plugs are one of the things I will NOT miss.

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I have slowly been selling the stuff that we do not need on a day to day basis but with the upcoming move to our short let this Saturday, yesterday I posted several ads on GUMTREE and started to sell the rest of our stuff and let’s just say I was not expecting the response I got for certain items.

  1. The televisions: I have two left. A 33″ Samsung HD TV and a 48″ Samsung Smart TV with built in Wi-Fi. The first I was asking £50 and the second one, £400. We did after all pay £900 5 years ago. I just wanted to see what they would go for. Well, I did not anticipate getting advice on selling my TVs from several fellow GUMTREE users but I received it in my inbox nevertheless. Sean rudely told me my price was too high since my TV was old, and then he wrote me another email writing, ”I hope I did not come out too rude?” Really Sean? You are a Jackass. Tom said the same and I received a text by someone else…let’s just say there are a lot of people with free time on their hands in the middle of the day. In the end, it was Nana who was nice and made me an offer of £250 for both. SOLD! to Nana who will pick both up Friday night. I hope she shows up.
  2. My T-Fal Fryer. After a lot of back and forth I just met Alivia at the South Kensington tube by the flower stand to hand over the fryer and receive £10 in exchange.

I know the money is chump change but I rather sell my things for almost nothing and see it go to a good home and not a landfill.

3. My Freezer: I did not think I would get such interest but I did. I got an ”Urgent” email from a man called Andrew asking me to call him. Okay….I did, and after some measuring, some description and agreeing on a pick up time…freezer should be leaving us tonight between 6 and 7 pm because Andrew’s brother who has a van has to come with him. I hope they find the pace. Someone asked me if I would deliver it to her? WTF!!! That was my WTF moment for this Wednesday.

4. The drill: The drill was sold in 20 minutes. I had no idea that a drill was such a big ticket item, I probably should have asked more but the guy called me and he came to pick it up at my door and almost ripped it out of my hands.

5. The Vitamix, lamps, iron, coffee maker and fans are being picked up by a friend on Friday.

6.  We are giving our sous-vide and air conditioner to another friend.

I thought I had sold the fridge that is in the garage but it’s too big for Mike. So I still have a fridge, a crockpot and a kettle. If I don’t sell them I will leave the fridge behind and probably will have to toss the crockpot and kettle in the landfill but hey, I will have tried. I am just hoping this is the last time I have to sell all my electronics. Next time we move from Bermuda, we move to another 110 amp country.

 

 

Happy New Year from the Coopers

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The final two days of the Cooper Christmas Extravaganza have come and gone. Our last two days were closer to home but fun nevertheless.

On day 8th we went to watch Star Wars at the Science Museum. Again, this was brought on by a phone call from Thing 1 back in November. You see, Daddy Cool has instill his love of Star Wars (and movies in general) to Thing 1 and Thing 2. Whenever there is a new Star Wars, we get tickets in advance and we usually see it on opening day. But this time, Star Wars was opening the day the kids were getting here and we were already busy. So when Thing 1 phoned back in November to talk Star Wars, I had just noticed that it was showing in IMAX at the Science Museum that sits across the street from us. I bought tickets for December 30th and off we went two days ago.

Another phone call, I swear, every time I see her number on the call display I should not answer right away because every time I pick up the phone, Thing 1 has another great idea and it cost me. Back in October, on the 10th to be precise, Thing 1 called and asked about going to Hogwarts one last time, ”you know, before the move from London to Bermuda. And on top of that, we will see it at Christmas so it will be even more magical.” She also said that she wanted to see the new feature at Warner Brother’s Studio in Leavesden, the Forbidden Forest and she had never seen the train station. It was hard to argue with her logic and of course she had already checked and she knew that there were tickets available for December 31st, at 9 am. Yesterday morning, (Day 9th and FINAL DAY!) we made our way to Hogwarts and we had a fun time going through the place, (almost 4 hours…) On our way back into London we stopped at Westfield Mall to watch the movie, ”Jumanji” (hilarious by the way) after that we finally made it home.

We brought in the New Year by having a meal on the ”raclette” and playing some cards. At 11, Mama went to sleep on the couch (I am fighting a nasty cold and don’t want to contaminate Daddy Cool). He went to sleep in our bed and the THINGS went out to watch the fireworks.

At the moment, every one is still asleep and I am enjoying this quiet time to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2018 brings peace, health and happiness to all!

I think we all need a witch on top of our tree.

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Christmas feast at Hogwarts

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Yule Tide Bal

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The castle in the snow.

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The entrance to the forbidden forest where all the spiders jump out at you. I jumped when I was coming around a corner and one of the spiders jumped at me.

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Daddy Cool being punished by Thing 1. We had a fun day!

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