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new home


Got the keys to my new home and went to measure up and take pics. Got the pics, at least! trying to use the length of a metal tape single-handed wasn’t easy, it kept bending and twisting (and my disappointment that one room was much smaller than I expected, until i realised I was comparing the width of this one with the length of my other one!!)

The floor plan is aligned east-west, with the bedrooms to the west and lounge and kitchen to the east, which sounds a bit odd! Here and in my last flat, the bedroom windows faced east; as I have the curtains open it meant I would wake to sunchine, and in the summer could kick off the sheet and sunbathe in bed. And as the bedroom window faces the street I’l lhave to remember to close the curtains before I get dressed or undressed – or sell tickets!

from front door:

from kitchen door:

The previous tenant’s next-of-kin was very generous in what was left behind for hte next tenant: all curtains, blinds, floor coverings, lampshades, even the cooker.


I’m calling it a “study” rather than a “spare room” much less a “spare bedroom” – by the time I’ve got my PC AND my art-craft stuff set up in there, there won’t be anything “spare” about it!


Got a side gate and off-raod parking for two cars, I should think

More blog posts by franl155

Previous post: some good news

Next post: new gardens - sorry, bit long - lotsa pics



Wow Fran,that is such good news..and it looks great ! I'm sure you will be really happy in your new home,especially when you get all your personal bits and pieces around you again..Pics of your gardens next please? you must be so excited ..I wish you much happiness :o) x

12 Oct, 2013


Thanks SD and Bloomer. Garden pics to follow, thought they'd be better in their own blog.

I've no idea what the plants are - going to need someone to identify them for me - the agent said that some of the residents have a gardener, so I might find out who and ask them to help me out with ID, also with keeping hedge and plants tidy till I work out a new layout shcme.

It probably is walkable to the town centre, once I know which way to walk! to get from the housing office to here, the minicab had to go round three roundabluts and back - perhaps the river gets in the way a bit. There must be an easier way - don't fncy trying to corss the road on a mini-motorway! I did check out local buses when I knew I'd be going there by train, there's a bus from the staion to the other end of the road, so that should be useful, once I find the bus stop at this end!

I'm registred "severely visually impaired", which is the same category as "blind" - which is why I like wider sweeps of colour or shape, individual plants don't mean much to me. but the back garden joins on to a stretch of open gorund that borders the river; there'll be plenty of "wide sweeps" to see there, I'd imagine!

And oh, new bird species to try to identify, open sky to look at for sunsets and star gazing, a whole new town to explore and its history to learn .... and new neighbours and clean air and - and - and ...

12 Oct, 2013


Hi Fran ... I am SO PLEASED for you ...
lots of happiness to you in your new home !
:o))) xxx

Have you met your neighbours ?

13 Oct, 2013


Fran it looks great, I can see why you are so excited xxx

Going to look at your garden now......

13 Oct, 2013


I feel your excitement,Fran..and how good to have been left some of the contents and furnishings..a great help.:o)
I'm sure once you get chatting to your neighbours,their local knowledge about buses and services will be invaluable..maybe there is a local shop you can go to,till you find your way to town ,,or would you qualify if they had an Access bus to collect you,and bring you back,? I'm not sure if they do it for visual impaired like yourself..but worth looking into,till you familiarise with your new surroundings..How lovely to have those open views from your garden..I can see we are in for some nice blogs :o) x

13 Oct, 2013


No wonder you made up your mind so fast Fran. It looks ideal for you. Looks like no major refurbishments needed which is a huge bonus for you. Kitchen looks good too. your walk in shower looks very like ours. Shrewsbury is such a lovely old place. Lots to explore and keep you busy outside your home as well. Do they have Dial a ride round there, as they do here? I am sure 100% up on where you are now from community point of view.

13 Oct, 2013


Brilliant Fran, looks wonderful, lovely bathroom & kitchen and plenty of storage space for you. That was a very quick move!! Hope you will be very happy there, have you a garden?

13 Oct, 2013


Looks in great condition Fran and ideal lay out for you - enjoy settling in.

13 Oct, 2013


Fran it looks fabulous and a great help having curtains cooker etc already there, it was very kind of the previous tenant to leave them for you, a definite step up as regards the garden and I'm sure you will be a lot happier there, lots to look forward to, I can feel your excitement.....

13 Oct, 2013


Thanks, TT, Bloomer, Dorjac, Grandmage and Drc.

I dropped a note in to next door – three reasons for that: to apologise in advance for the noise we’d make putting up my wall shelves, to ask if they’d be up to sharing “local knowledge” about shops, post office, bus tops, who’s the best GP to sign up with, etc, and the reason I didn’t mention, to break the ice. When I was ready to leave, I went out and Mrs next-door came out to say hi and we had a chat; she invited me in for a cuppa but I had a cab waiting. They come from Greenwich, just over the river from here – small world!

I asked the housing agent about a Tenants’ and Residents’ Association – partly to keep up with what was going on, mostly to get to know my neighbours. They don’t have one, but I’ve already broken the ice in one direction, sure others will follow. *s* one reason I didn’t want a front hedge is so that, when I was working in the front garden, people might stop to chat!

I’ve already seen a row of shows a couple of hundred metres (the cab driver said) down the road; a Sainsbury, newsagent, and chippie (be nice to have one so handy, the nearest one here is five bus stops away!). I’ll need to buy milk every time until the fridge gets moved, so it’s nice that there’s a close supply.

I’ve got to get in touch with the local authority; I’ll need a new bus pass and Blue Badge, at least, and I want to see about getting a ramp in for a mobility scooter (now I’ll have room to keep it indoors!). And I want to see if my GP-referred gym card (gives discount on gym and swim) can be transferred up to them, or if they have something similar. And I’ve got two wheelie bins and three recycling boxes; I need to know which is for what and what day they collect – and, most of all, that I need all info in large print.

I’ve always been a council tenant, only one organisation to go to; now I’ll be a Housing Association tenant, so I need to know which I should turn to for what. The HA has already been very good about doing stuff in large print, hope the council will be so obliging! (Tower Hamlets council “can’t do large print”)

I’ll check out Dial-a-Ride, but there’s a bus stop two houses away in one direction (not sure where the stop is for going the other way); when I checked buses from the station, it said to get off outside a pub at the other end of the road. But the town might be small enough for me to get around a lot on foot (or on wheels, if I can finally get a scooter!) – at least it’ll feel smaller than London, which will be a psychological advantage.

I’m registered severely visually impaired, the same class as totally blind people, and I’m mobility impaired (which is my main problem these days); I had Dial-a-Ride when I was “only” visually impaired, so if they have one here I should still qualify.

The rooms need repainting, and the wallpaper in the hall by the front door needs gluing back to the wall! But that’s all that’s needed – every room has carpet, even the hall, and all curtains and blinds are there (I gave the housing agent a note, asking her to pass it on to the previous tenant’s next of kin, to thank him). Once the shelves are up, that’s all the “refurb” that’ll be needed – I want that done first so that when I unpack I’ll have something to unpack *into* (it was three years here before I could open my last packed box, because it took that long to get shelves up to put the stuff in – emptied the last box last month, now need to pack it all again!)

It’ll be about a million percent increase in my social life! Prob with living in flats is that you only see people in the corridors – I lived in my last place 17-18 years and didn’t exchange more than half a dozen words with the neighbours in all that time. Been here three years and spoken even less to these neighbours.

lol it’ll take some getting used to, having friendly neighbours who are willing to chat! Will have to learn as I go along, tread a line between too much and not enough - don't want to be aloof, and i don't want to be a nuisance.

The agent told me that several people have a gardener, so I’ll find out who and see if they’ll add me to the list – at least to ID the plants and keep them tidy till I feel able to do some practical stuff myself – and to keep the hedge and front bush in shape. But that’ll take a while; I want to be thoroughly comfortable with what’s there and how to look after it before I start fiddling.

13 Oct, 2013


Fran, I wish you all the best in your new home. I can read from your comments just how liberating this will be for you. It's a brave move but one I'm sure you will embrace :)

13 Oct, 2013


thanks Scottish. This fulfulls several ambitions/dreams in one - out of London, proper garden-s, a bungalow, clean air, sky that can actually be seen, horizons further than the tower block over the road, a slower pace of life, countryside within even my walking disatnce, a river nearby, Wales only an hour awy ...

I'm still a bit in the "I can't quite beleive it" stage - lol most of the time it's biting my nails with "how am I ever going to manage it?!!" but I will, she said with her fingers crossed

13 Oct, 2013


Wow! You have really done well haven't you? That's fab! Lovely and clean and all in excellent decorative order by the look of it Fran! Fantastic! A week on Thursday for this space!

13 Oct, 2013


the rooms need a lick of paint, and a bit of wallpaper in the hall needs gluing back down, but that's all the "refurb" needed - apart from vacuuming the carpets, which will be done on next visit.

oh, I'm so pleased that you're moving so soon! fingers crossed for you. keep us up to date, please!!

13 Oct, 2013


Thanks Fran. Getting a gardener to begin with sounds like a good idea. :)

14 Oct, 2013


only way to preserve the plants, at first, anyway - don't want to pull up something "dead" that is only out of season. this is my first real garden, so I'm a total newbie, and going to make so many mistakes, even with expert advice!

14 Oct, 2013


You'll have a ball Fran! and you've all winter to get the house as you want it, and wait and see what spring bulbs are in the ground. :))

14 Oct, 2013


That's good your plans are moving along nicely, Fran.

Make 'to do' lists for the home you are leaving and for the house and garden you are going to live in ...

Exciting :o)))

14 Oct, 2013


hadn't thought of that, Karen, thanks! just as I'm finished sortring out indoors, spring will be here and the gardens will start to waken (lol still can't get over plural gardens!!)

lol TT, got several "to-do" and "who-to-tell" lists arleady! need to leave a note for the next tenants here (provided that council don't remove it first - but will post them a copy just in case!) and one for council, pointing out small jobs that need to be done.

not really planning much with the garden yet; lol got lots of airy-fairy ideas for lanscaping, but that's for later, maybe much later. just need to see "how does my garden grow" before actually doing anything - and, of course, finding room for the plants i'm taking with me as well. there's enough concrete about to stand them on, or i could put the plant tables up and put them back, more or less as they are now.

Later I can try to work out how to incoropate it all into one - see how many of mine su rvive the more northerly weather and more open environment; they're pretty shletered from wind here. But that's for later.

14 Oct, 2013


Yes, indeed! They've had some tough winter weather the past couple of years in Shrewsbury...but this year is sure to be milder!?!...we hope! :))

14 Oct, 2013


I don't mind a really cold spell - kill off this year's pests before they're joined by nex years' - so long as it's short enough not to put vulnerable people at risk!

14 Oct, 2013


:)) good thinking Fran! ...why doesn't it ever kill the slugs? That's my question! Lol!

14 Oct, 2013


This looks very inviting Fran. I'm sure you will be very happy there and already your new neighbour has invited you round to share a cuppa. It sounds as if there will always be someone you can call on nearby in an emergency or ask to help you find the help you need. Be very happy. I'm off to see the garden now.

14 Oct, 2013


lol Karen, do they hibernate? or migrate? mind you, they'd have to start about six months ahead of winter!

oh, I do hope so, Scotsgran! so much wider horizons, in so many different ways, room to expand in so many ways. And one nice neighbour already, sure there'll be plenty of others as I settle in.

15 Oct, 2013


The slugs hibernate by glueing themselves to any surface that is sheltered. I go round any place I think they might be and prise them off in the winter months.

15 Oct, 2013


urgh, but it has to be done, unless you want to start a slug sanctuary!

15 Oct, 2013


urgh indeed! :)

15 Oct, 2013


GOOD LUCK for a happy future Fran,you sound so positive and excited that I`m sure you will soon settle in and enjoy all that your new home and its surroundings can offer.

18 Oct, 2013


Thanks, Stroller - lol I am mostly positive (until I start trying to work out the logistics of moving that far and then the panic button gets a lot of use). But I can't imagine getting anywhere better than this, so this will be my last move - and a whole new orld to explore!

18 Oct, 2013


Congratulations on getting the bungalow you've dreamed of for so long! Hope you will feel comfortable when you move in. I can see you have quite a nice little place there! It was good that the kitchen appliances were left for you as well as the carpets & other things. Quite a bit of work they saved you leaving them in!

I can imagine your excitement at getting your first real garden! You will have a lot to learn, it's not nearly the same as gardening on a balcony with very limited space & using compost!

I've lived in flats for all my adult life, bar 4 years we lived here at the end of the 70s beginning of the 80s at which time we did live in a house & it had a garden back & front. I can't really imagine living in a house again! We are quite happy with our flat, which is bigger than some people's houses! It gets lots of sunshine & has windows on 3 sides.

Looking forward to seeing more blogs on your progress but take it easy, we don't want to be reading a "Hospital" blog! LOL!

18 Oct, 2013


Thanks Balcony - I can't use the cooker that's been left; the "eye level" grill is quite a bit lower than mine, and there's a drop down oven door which means i'd have to climb inside the oven to see what's going on! I might think twice if it were wider than mine (I bought the smaller size, not thinking about the width, and some of myi oven trays won't fit).

But not to have to lay carpet, or hang curtains ... that's a heck of a bonus. I'd like to do something similar for the next tenants here, but the ocuncil said that if I leave anything they'll chuck it and charge me for the removal. sigh. I put up notices about the carpet, and someone in the block will come and get it when the living room is cleared. And my friend knows someone who'll be able to use the spare cooker, so that won't go to waste, either.

I'm excited, but also worried about the logistics: I did so want to get the place ready before actually moving in, but there may not be time - it's a sod having to live out of boxes because there's nothing to unpack them into - apart from having to look inside half a dozen boxes every time you want something!

I've got to hand the keys back before nnon on Monday 11th November, which means packing, loading the van, letting it stand outside while the carpet is collected and the place cleaned, then detouring to the office to hand back the keys - then driving to Shrewsbury and unloading. Unless we move me, and I come back by train just to hand over a set of keys, then get the train back! which seems a tad pointless.

I've lived in flats ever since moving out of the parental house, about 35 years ago? had my share of neigbbours who didn't know that the volume on TVs and readios could be turned down as well as up, and others who trained elep[hants to tap-dance on the ceiling at 2am!!

windows on three sides sounds lovely - you'd think there was still a Window Tax, the way some places are designed! i have to have a light on all day in the hall, cos there's no window at all, and the living room is built with the windows at the narrow end, so the other end needs a light on all the time as well.

The new garden is going to be exciting, too, once winter's over and I'm settled in indoors. I'll have to keep a log (faily if I remember, more probably weekly) of how much sun, what parts are always or often in shade, wind direction ... the book says to do that for a whole year before you start to change anything - not sure I'll be able to keep it up that long.

18 Oct, 2013


Once you have got your boxes,Fran,it really won't take you so long to pack them..Knowing you,everything will have already been sorted,what to take,and what to get rid of,if anything! Lol..A marker pen to write on ' not needed ' on a box,till you have time to unpack it at your leisure later....and you have your study room which will be useful,to keep them in..don't worry,you will be's a bit of a pain though,about the key situation..and I guess you have to take it in person? Personally,I think your first idea is the best,to wait till it's all done then drop the key off don't want the hassle of going there and back by train,really..
Just take one day at a time,Fran..forget about the garden for now,it will all be slowing down anyway,so it might just be the grass that needs cutting the once,before winter..the rest can's waited up till now xx

19 Oct, 2013


lol I wished, Bloomer! I got rid of a lot of stuff over the past month or so; the rest I'll chuck as I can get to it - prob ith packing is that I have to make room to work, and the stuff I calear to give me room to work ends up all over the place, whereever there's room for it. And then I need to make room to stack the filled boxes ... same for everyone, I suppose!

I'm marking the boxes as I go; it's most books and such, so I can clear the "library" and use that as stacking space. Used up all of the 7 boxes I managed to get from the local corner shops, got to wait till Monday for the delivery of boxes - hope they're prompt!

I'm rather marking the few boxes that will be immediately needed: bedding, kettle, changes of clothes. Trying to mark which room each box should go in, so I don't end up with kitchen stuff at the bottom of a stack of books in the bedroom (as happened last time!!)

Someone said, in a similar situation, they posted the key back by recorded or regist ered post, to know it had to be signed for: someone else said they got a spare set cut, gave beck the offiical keys, then used the spares; after the move, they binned them. I've got spare keys (cut for keyholders) but not a key fob for the block security door, so if I did that I'd have to buzz for someone to let me in each time.

my driver-mate came round couple of days ago to talk over the schedule: was a bit taken aback that he thinks it cal all be done in one day: load the van, park it outside while the carpet is taken up and the flat cleaned; take the keys back, THEN drive to Shrewsbury, park the van, paint the walls (going to local B&Q or similar to get the paint), put up shelves (he says by the time the last room's painted, the first will be dry enough to put shelves on), then move all the stuff in, plumb in cooker and washing machine - THEN he'd have to drive back to London. all in one day by one man??

I can understand him not wanting to drive back and forth too often, but ... I suggested getting someone in to help - I'll be no practical help apart from holding doors open - but he reckons that won't be needed. A GoY friend very kindly found me the phone number for Shrewsbury Age UK, maybe I could contact them to see if they have someone who could help at that end.

I did lookup a cuople of quotes for removal firms - had to wade through "man with van" - I'd need men with ven! But thogh there'd be more bodies to do the work, and they'd have a bigger van, the main prob still applies: will they wait outside while we clean and drop the keys off? it'll add to time, which is what they charge by, as well as distance.

The garden will defintely take a back seat for a while! it'll take me all my time to get indoors sorted to the point where I can feel that everything's got a place.

19 Oct, 2013


Fran, don't pack the kettle, some cups and a tea towel in a box. Put them in a carrier bag and take them with you in the passenger seat. No matter how organised you think you are everything always feels much better if you can make a cuppa. If any box lands at the bottom of the heap, sod's law says it will be the one with the kettle in it. Your friend does seem to be thinking of doing an awful lot in one day. I would phone your council again and say that due to your circumstances you want a few days to move everything. Is the person who wants your carpet able to assist or if not perhaps whoever is taking it to them could help with loading at your end. I know it means taking a train back with the keys but maybe that would be a lot less stressful for you and if the person having the carpet waited for you going back it would be less of a rush and it would let you split the move and the final cleaning over two days. How much cleaning is going to be needed really. If your friend is going back to London could he drop the keys off the following day. It will soon be forgotten after you settle in to your new life in the country. lol.

20 Oct, 2013


Welcome to your new home Fran ,it looks wonderful I'm sure you will be happy and the neighbours already appear to be friendly I'm not quite sure where you have moved to but am guessing it's somewhere in Shrewsbury if so thats a beautiful part of the country , good luck may you always be happy and content in your new home x

21 Oct, 2013


Thanks, Scotsgran

I had an old kettle which I intended to take and leave there, with tea-coffee-mugs etc, so there’d be one at each end ready for use – that was when I thought we’d be doing more than one trip (I wanted the place painted and wall shelves put up before the actual move, so that for once things would be organised right from the start and I’d have something to unpack into, rather than living out of boxes for months while decorating and wall-installing were done, which has always been the case before).

But that kettle sprung a leak when I tested it here (just as well I did test it!) so back to one kettle. Don’t matter so much, as apparently it’s all going to be done in one day; my driver-handyman friend reckons he can load the van, leave it outside while we clear up here, take the keys back to the office, then drive up, leave the van outside while we clean there, paint the walls, put the shelves up, and then move the stuff in – and he’s still got to drive back after all that.

I’ll definitely keep the “immediate essentials” close to hand – I got moved here by a company arranged by the council (once they realised I was disabled) and I had to open seven boxes to find the one the kettle was in – found the mugs, tea etc while looking for that.

Gonna need a few extra days even if he can do it all in one – bought some boxes via Amazon on Friday 11th, immediately after I’d come back with the keys; the delivery time was 4-5 days (which would have been middle of following week), then got an email saying it’d be up to 21st (yesterday), still not arrived. So I’ve not even started packing yet, apart from the few boxes I was able to scrounge from the local shops. And I’m a lot creakier than I used to be, so it’ll take longer than it did last time.

I doubt the person who’ll be taking the carpet will be able to help much – this is a 50+ block and a lot of the tenants seem to be disabled in one way or another. Chatted to someone in the corridor and they said they’d help, but to ask someone I’ve only just met … they might at least help with holding doors – four sets between inside the flat and the van outside.

Always had family to help in previous moves (apart from the last time, and movers did packing for that – more or less! Shee, took ages to find stuff, items sitting side by side ended up in different boxes – tea-making-and-drinking-items ended up in four different boxes spread all through the stack, and boxes I’d marked with “fragile” tape were underneath a stack of books).

So this is the first move I’ve had to do all on my own – packing I’ve done before, but disassembling large items – bed, bookcases, wall shelves … I’ll have to contact council to say I need more time. Prepared to pay rent at both ends, planned on that from the beginning.

But everything else depends on my friend; I can understand him not wanting to drive up and back too often, but all the same … the cooker and washing machine have got to be unplumbed here and re-plumbed there; and there’s a cooker there already which will have to be taken out. Perhaps two stages, to do that and the painting before the move; at least then the walls will be properly dry to put the shelves up.

I’ve looked at removal firms, but all quotes seem to be around £1,000 – apart from one which gives only an hourly rate, which would probably end up in the same range. At least there’d be more bodies to do the lifting and carrying.

The keys have got to be dropped back before noon on Monday 11th November. If we moved over the weekend before, that’d be easier – but I need to know that they’ve been given back. Someone suggested posting them back by recorded or registered post, then they’d have to be signed for. Someone else suggested getting a spare set cut, handing the official keys back and using the spare set, which are then thrown away. Got some spares, apart from the front door security fob, so I’d need to phone another flat to let me in each time. They might do it once, maybe even twice, but …

22 Oct, 2013


thanks, Amy

it’ll be a million percent better than here – when I get there!

It’s at the south end of town; the river has a deep loop, and it’s in the loop.

Not normally fond of living with water on three sides - would never even have considered a place on the Isle of Dogs! But I checked the DEFRA flood map and the “flood line” is a thin band on each bank – of course, that might just be the limit at that time of year! But surely they’d mark the “absolute” limit so far as past experience goes, in which case my feet will stay dry.

22 Oct, 2013


It would be a bit embarrassing if the council handed out the keys straight away and you found someone in the house, someone keeping spare keys would really upset them. I hope you get it sorted out without too much hassle.

22 Oct, 2013


Thanks Scotsgran. I woudn't tell them I had spare keys. and I'd get them bent out of usefullness before disposing of them, but maybe better not to. I'll phone the council and tell them It's possible i'll need mroe time - would rather have an extension that I do'nt completely use up than run out of time and have to lump it!

22 Oct, 2013


I think it sounds like a good idea to move some of your stuff the weekend before.Fran..maybe your heavy stuff first,like the cooker and anything else you can get in the long as you have some other means to make a meal..if you have a microwave,you could probably make do ..? maybe they could be plumbed in while you are there,and remove the old one...before coming back,to complete the removal on the original date,and to hand the keys in..just a thought,and I guess it depends on your driver friend, if he is willing to do that..

23 Oct, 2013


Thanks, Bloomer

I was thinking of the cooker, washing machine, freezer at least (seriously needs defrosting!), and one of my sofa units - I've got four of those modular unitls, two corners and two mid bits as two sofas.

Cooker and washer will have to be connected, and the cooker already there disconnected; he knows someone that could make good use of it, so that's not being wasted.

I'll need to buy another kettle, take tea-coffee etc, teatowels, soap and towels, so we can at least wash hands before we have a cuppa.

I'll have to have talk to my friend - lol tell him that *I* can't mentally handle it all going on in one day - which is true! even if it *can* be done in one day. I can understand him not wanting to drive more than he has to, but - even if it could be, he'd then have to drive back to London, at night, on his own with no one to talk to him to keep him awake ...

23 Oct, 2013

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