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In This Guide


It's a dirty job

Move countdown

On the day

   1. M-day

   2. Bare essentials pack

   3. Moving day fiasco's, farces and disasters

   4. A dream start to homeownership

   5. After the event

Plan your move

Removal services

Storage services

On the day

Moving day fiasco's, farces and disasters

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This story is not very funny, but it does show how things can go horribly wrong. It was the first time Don* had left home. He had been out of the house before now of course, but this was the first time he was going to live somewhere else. Join the army, they had said, see the world. Don chose a quick trip across the Pennines and a jaunt at the University of Leeds instead. He felt it was the sensible option.

* Don's name has been changed to protect his identity.

"It had been a strange couple of weeks before I went away. Quite a lot of my friends were going off to one university or another and quite a few were staying at home. One night we were out celebrating one person's last day of living at home the next day we were waving someone else off. Some people were quite nervous about moving away. I was quite looking forward to it. Having had a big gang of us all together for one last long summer, it really did seem like an era was coming to an end, though.

I didn't have too much stuff back then. My little telly, some pots, pans and other kitchen stuff, bedding, clothes and a clapped out tape player. That was about it. Four years later when I left, it was a different story, but at that time I could easily fit everything I owned (and a bit that I had borrowed) into the back of my mum's Vauxhall Astra*.

* This was the real make of the car and we have received no money from Vauxhall for mentioning the fact.

So off we went, sometime in the middle of the morning. It usually takes about 90 minutes to Leeds from I lived. Not today though, this was going to turn into a bit of nightmare.

Whilst we were on the motorway, it started to rain quite heavily. We had come to the bit of the motorway that goes right over the Pennines - today there was only one lane open on our side of the road. I don't like to make excuses, but the rain was some thing I had never experienced before while driving, having only passed my test six months earlier. It was coming down in buckets and making it really difficult to see.

Suddenly, in the distance, all the brake lights started rushing towards me in a big chain reaction. Not far in front, I briefly saw one car go into the back of another. I had already slammed on but it was too late. My car was only doing a touch over fifty, but I knew I was going to hit the car in front. I shouted out as much in anger as in fear as we slammed into a red Vauxhall*. He then clipped the car in front him, who took evasive action by whipping across the oncoming lanes and onto a bit of road where some maintenance was going on. I felt pretty lucky afterwards that we had escaped unscathed, but he was really lucky.

* Believe it or not this actually was a Vauxhall too.

Slightly in shock, my mum and me sat there for a while with steam billowing out of our crumpled bonnet. After waiting for an age in the car, we finally got towed to a motorway service centre, where I had my first brush with the law and got interviewed about the crash.

After all that palaver was done with, we eventually got towed to Leeds via Bradford. I finally turned up at my flat about seven hours later than I had expected to. My poor mum had to go all the way back with the car on the back of a pick-up - via Sheffield or somewhere.

It was good that we got there so late. Nobody else turned up at the flat for a couple of hours after I got there anyway. If I had arrived when I was supposed to I would have been at a loose end for the best part of a day. So you could say that all's well that ends well I suppose"

This is a true story about a moving nightmare. We would like other stories about your experiences of move day, especially if they are more humorous than this one, which is not difficult. So please e-mail them to us.

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