After what has seemed the most protracted house purchase in the history of real-estate we have finally moved down to Hythe in Kent. We were hoping that we could have been down here in time to enjoy at least part of the summer on the south coast but (obviously - what were we thinking of!) that was not to be. In the end we were grateful that the move went well and it didn't rain while Pickfords were unloading thirty years of boxes!
The first week was whirl of unpacking, exploring the town, trawling the internet for cookers and radiators and then trying to arrange for electricians and gas fitters to do their thing the following week.
Everything was going to plan, James had made the epic journey south for the weekend to help shift boxes from one side of the garage to the other and Lesley was due to arrive just after he planned to wend his way back to welshland (not that she was avoiding him but he was due back at work on the Tuesday and she was going to spend her reading week with us finishing her project with the bonus of constant hot water and three meals a day - oh for the life of a student!)
But, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men... just as James was loading his car Dave had a funny turn which turned out to be a small heart attack. The ambulance arrived within about 2 minutes of phoning 999 - apparently they had been parked up on the seafront!
They put Dave on an ECG which didn't show any irregularity but later at the hospital his blood tests showed that something had happened. Now in the normal course of events they would have given him an angiography and an angioplasty, if one was necessary, the next day and then home the following day but unfortunately 2 out of the 3 cardio guys at Ashford Hospital had swine flu and they were having to transfer patients to Kings in London. As the faxes were being sent and telephone calls made between the hospitals sod's law intervened yet again when his ward was hit by a vomiting and diarrhoea bug. The hospital's infectious disease plan went straight into action and closed the ward to all new admissions and more importantly for Dave, all transfers out.
The cardio team went into overdrive and scheduled extra operations to help clear the patients from the ward. Dave was down to have his procedure on the Friday but unfortunately he came down with the bug the night before and had to wait until the following Tuesday before they could operate.
James arranged with work to stay down for the rest of the week and Claire braved the delights of British Rail to join him. Poor Lesley had probably the worst greeting at a railway station ever - 'Hi Lel, don't worry but Dad's had another heart attack' but don't know what I'd have done without them. Nothing was too much trouble, the week was a whir of hospital visits, electricians channelling out the walls for new cables, the plumber crawling up in the loft fitting new pipes for the gas cooker, taking out the old kitchen radiator then fitting the new whizzing hi-tec one and disconnecting the very pink sink in the bedroom (don't ask!!). Oh yes, I nearly forgot, Dave had also sold the old greenhouse that was taking up far too much space in the garden and had arranged for the chap who'd bought it to come and dismantle it that week.
Things have settled down now, James, Claire and Lel are back in academia, Dave's home taking it easy and planning to start work next Monday - it sounds a bit soon to me but he's promised to be sensible and rather than commute up to London each day he's going to stay up in town during the week, at least for the first couple of weeks.
We don't regret for one moment moving down here but it would have been nice to least have had a couple of months to settle in and meet the neighbours before we managed to bring Hythe to a standstill by blocking the road to traffic with an ambulance (we certainly don't do things by half)
I haven't had much of a chance to get out and about with the camera but I thought that you might like to see some of the photos I took on one of our trips down here earlier this year.
The Royal Military Canal was built to defend England from Napoleon's advances. Did the job, the French must have got wind of the plan and decided not to invade after all!
The main High Street is as pretty as a picture with lots of old interesting buildings and when I find out what they are I will let you know - all I've found so far are some very nice coffee shops and a very helpful hardware store.
This is the nearest beach to our house, it's only about a 50 metre walk from our front door. The round building are Montello Towers which were built at the same time as the Royal Military Canal for the same reason, to repel the French - they now mark the boundary of the MOD firing range.