We have always wanted to live by the sea. With the impending boat purchase plus the formation of our new diving exploration company, the Isle of Man was the ideal spot. Close to the North West and surrounded by the lovely clear water of the Irish Sea…
Prior to us investigating a move, I had only been to the Island once before. That was to Douglas on Tim Wright’s very heavy stag weekend a number of years ago. With moving in mind, we visited the Island in May to look at the potential. On that trip, we were very impressed with the Manx Government and their willingness to assist businesses move to the Island but were worried by the some of the social aspects (see some pictures from the visit).
Undeterred, we continued to research the Island, becoming increasingly impressed in what we saw, especially with the efficiency and willingness to help of the people in general. One of the problems however, was the lack of property available for rent. As soon as it came onto the market it was snapped up. We decided that the best way to sort this was to wang over for a few days, visit some properties and make a choice then and there.
We did just that and following a violent crossing on the Liverpool/Douglas ferry Angela, James and myself visited three properties. There was only one that was really suitable located on the South East of the Island in Derbyhaven. A good place to be being partially sheltered from the prevailing SW winds. So with only four weeks to get it together we started to organise.
Angela and I are are expert movers having done it seven times in our 26 years of marriage. The problem was, I had booked on a Sentinel rebreather course and my RYA Coastal Skipper course / exam in the aforesaid preparation month. I was in the pooh big style as Angela ran herself ragged getting it all together. To make matters worse we found out James was off with 45 Commando to Afghanistan the same day as we planned to move! My mother tells me Angela is a ‘Queen of Women’ and much as I dislike agreeing with my mother, she is bloody right; Angela is amazing…
One thing that we considered was our friends, family and business commitments but soon realised that we would have no shortage of visitors and travel to and from the Island is very easy and efficient, if not a little pricey!
With respect to family, Jim (my eldest) is a Royal Marines Commando off to Afghanistan and Joe (my youngest) just passed his driving test and was already living away from home ‘studying’ at Leeds College of Art and Design. Old friends Val and Dave Buckle have a room made up for him just in case!
The thing that really shocked us was the cost of the move. It wasn’t the amount of stuff we were taking, but the extortionate ferry costs levied by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company – I really hate monopolies! Anyway the day was set, notice was given on our previous home and we were ready to rock and roll.
I arrived back triumphant from my Coastal Skipper exam to a house full of boxes. I have to admit, I didn’t realise the enormous task ahead of us in the two days remaining before we moved! When the removal team arrived from the excellent Pollards at 0900 on the Wednesday morning, were were still packing. Angela was very mad with me but at 1600 the van was fully loaded and they set off to Heysham ferry port.
Our family had a great time at the Estate House and when we closed the door for the last time, we both burst into tears swiftly retiring to our local, the Tempest Arms, for a steadying pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord. The ferry didn’t leave until 0230 (yes that’s in the morning) on the Thursday. As we had plenty of time we stopped for dinner at the Shajan Indian Restaurant conveniently located on the A59, before making our way on to Heysham.
The crossing was very smooth and we did meet our intrepid removal men, ‘Skip’ (antipodean) and Paul, on the way to their ‘cabin’. I managed to catch some sleep in the bizarre dog owners accommodation of the ferry (of course we had the mighty Bevis with us); Angela wasn’t so lucky and as we disembarked at 0530 she was totally knackered.
We arrived at our new home at dawn and were spellbound by the great sunrise. The lads were expecting some assistance from a local removal firm and when he arrived things really started to move. The new house has three stories and a lot of stuff was bound for the top floor. They did a sterling job finishing around 1600. We were totally shattered and after finding most of the bed clothes and pillows retired…
So I am writing this surrounded by boxes of ‘stuff’ having started the inevitable unpacking and ‘where the hell did I put that’ and ‘why the hell didn’t I throw that away in the UK’ phase.
What’s next? Well I will be giving an update on our unfolding Isle of Man experience so watch this space. Oh, you can also take a look at the photos of the move…
‘The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.’
James A. Michener (1907-1997)