Countdown to lift off

In two days time we will be on the way to the airport. I have not started packing yet. I am suffering from ‘farewell exhaustion’. Another 2 events tomorrow. Will there be tears at the parting? I hope not but I am questioning the move a lot more than Mrs. Ha. She believes it is going home for me. It feels nothing like it. I know very few people in Britain. I cannot honestly say I have a base there. Starting from scratch at well nigh 60 does not seem a smart move to me.

One of the properties we were eyeing has sold in the last 24 hours. I think we are going to struggle to find what we want in reasonable time whilst making sure our temporary accommodation will accept Lulu. As from February 1st I become an ‘Absent Member’ at the club. That brings it home. We are about to be nomads. No fixed abode.

The final straw today was a run in with HSBC. It deserves a full blown rant but I’m too tired. The bureaucracy and stupidity of their ‘policies’ left me losing the will to live. How any bank these days gains or retains customers baffles me. I am fed up with PIN numbers, telephone banking numbers, security pad numbers, endless form filling, security questions and so on. Why do I have to prove who I am to people who know me personally. I am sitting in front of them for the umpteenth time in the last few months and still they want to see my ID card, confirm my date of birth, tell them what was the make of my first car, my mother’s maiden name and my favourite liquorice allsort. Then they may allow me to change some money from HK$ into Β£. The marathon obstacle course ended and they warned me several times yesterday to keep my phone on, waiting for the compliance team to reconfirm my details before they released the money to my UK account. I was warned they would only call three times. Nobody phoned. This morning we asked if the funds had gone. Oh yes they said, no problem. I looked for a wall against which to bang my head. And then this afternoon it all started again. I am too traumatised to write about it.

And so the blog ends (for now) with a loud whimper and not a bang on the horizon. I suspect the next spine-chilling episode will be from sunny (?) England unless I find time to take a picture or two this weekend. I took about 20 today. All cr@p.

As Gracie put it in the days before ‘gay’ took on today’s meaning:

Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Cheerio, here I go, on my way
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Not a tear, but a cheer, make it gay
Give me a smile I can keep all the while
In my heart while I’m away
‘Till we meet once again, you and I
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye

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30 thoughts on “Countdown to lift off

  1. All the best Andrew! I can’t imagine the anxiety and uncertainty of a move such as this. But if your blog is any indication of who you are as a person, then I feel pretty confident that you will adapt and conquer with relative ease.

    • Thanks Kaushal. I keep thinking of the 347 packing cases and the joy of one day unpacking. Ah well, I had an excellent biryani (traditional British dish) at the Bombay Dreams restaurant last night, whilst today I lunched with an Indian pal at my club who relished the bangers and mash followed by bread and butter pudding. The thought made me smile. He is a member of the Bombay Gymkhana Club I believe 😁

  2. Hi,
    Hope the trip goes well and that the South (west) of England lives up to your expectations. look forward to catching up in a nice dog friendly pub in Lyndhurst

  3. Bon Voyage and all best wishes for your new life back in Blighty (if you’ve seen the weather over the past few days you may want to stop off somewhere!).

  4. Best wishes to both of you and keep your heads up…I for one will be very interested in your comments and post from the “other” side, once settled. Not an easy exercise moving at best of times. Safe travels.

  5. Good luck. I hope this move is not too traumatizing for either of you or Lulu. Looking forward to reading your blog from your new location!

  6. You are just gpong through a form of Buyer’s Remorse Andrew.
    Yoi know there are good reasons for the move and the three of you will enjoy the adventures of discovering the new land.

    Just think of the varieties of birds you will see again.

    Enjoy the journey and keep us all posted. We will enjoy it too.

  7. Andrew I can’t help but laugh,I can remember once saying that my mother has passed,what difference did it make to have her maiden name, boy that wasn’t something I needed to say. Those HSBC people were the first ones to give me plastic by the time I was done with them and more on, well let’s just say I was relieved.Andrew my heart goes out to you, but I mite add there are a lot of us on the other side of the screen who do care, who are your wireless friends, a pit stop off the highway when you need to use the restroom. Take it with a lightness of heart and we will be here to listen 24/7

  8. Chin up lad. It’s going to be grand. You can always move back if it’s a disaster, but I’ve a feeling that once you’ve settled, found a home and spent a few months there, you’ll Start to feel differently.. Well, that’s what I’m wishing for you! And I think it’s great that Shirley is by your side and willing it to work- it will be a great adventure for her too and so different from HK. How wonderful to have such a supportive, adventurous wife.

    • Lottie, the idea of unpacking 347 items and then repacking them to send back to HK doesn’t bear thinking about. I don’t want to go there. 😱😱😱

  9. Well, I have a lot of catching up to do. Funny that I should begin reading your blog at what seems to be a most pivotal time in your life. Well you sound exhausted. Good luck with everything. I’m sure we will hear the outcome in time. By the way, what is your favorite liquorice allsort

  10. Oh my, Andrew this post has me crying. I hate goodbyes and it is as if part of you and Mrs. Ha are being left behind in HK and in reality it is so. Mostly it is the friends and the life style. You have lived there now about 12 years or is it 20- years- perhaps more? I have lost track of what you have written in the past.

    You and Mrs. Ha are still young. Nearing 60 year of age is not old and moving to back to the origin of your birth is not the same as needing to move to a nursing home. You still have your wonderfully gifted mind, your health is back on track and, the assets that you gainfully acquired to live as you choose.

    As Lottie as written , things will be better-much better once the three of you are settled. I think you will make new friends easily. There some fine amateur and semi-pro photographers over there and and I think you’ll fall in with the shutter crowd with no trouble at all.

    I’ve been thinking all week about you and that February 2nd is day you leave. I pray for a safe trip to the UK and that finding a place to stay that will allow Lulu, will go without a snag.

    I eagerly await news of the family’s arrival. Please take care and I’m sending my best karma.

    My very best wishes,
    Yvonne x

  11. I’m sure you will bounce to your new home with no issues. PGA = positive mental attitude!
    At least you have some familiarity with England. I have only lived in the US, to have to learn new things like which side of the road to drive on would be stressful to me, however possibly exciting.
    I wish you all the best journey and hope you find a wonderful home that the Queen will approve of.

  12. One good thing about moving to the UK at this time of year is that the days just keep getting longer. By the time you get to May and June, you’ll be loving the long summer evenings that you don’t get in HK.

  13. We know, we know. H left Finland and I Holland. Two souls adrift forever with legs in both countries, neither here nor there. Books have been written about the subject.
    I am sure you’ll be alright with Mrs H and Lulu’s support.
    Packing and unpacking is the worst and traumatic. No doubt about that. But, keep well my friend and keep up your pecker.

  14. I feel for you, Andrew. I would not want to be doing this even just to move one town over…or one street. But for all reports, it does sound like HK is becoming a place to visit, but you won’t want to live there.
    You are quite the affable fellow and I have no doubt that it will not be long before you have an assortment of birding buddies and a fellow photographer or two to ramble with. And you never know, with the closer location I might even hazard a visit…uh-oh. That gives you plenty of time to unlist your addy and phone number. πŸ™‚
    Have a great and safe flight. I hope finding a temporary home take a short time and your, Shirley and Lulu can be reunited shortly. Maybe a nice little thatched cottage in the country will become available…or a condo with a garden.

  15. I feel I should apologise for HSBC – banks have become paranoid in the last few years. It can’t possibly be as bad as you are fearing in the UK, can it? The weather is not looking great over the next couple of weeks, but there are winter aconites and snowdrops all over my garden, a pair of long-tailed tits were flirting around the feeder yesterday and I spent many minutes distracted by the dunnock pecking away at the snow-melted areas outside my window. The light stays a little longer each day. There are plenty of us here ready to pester you should you become bored with you new residence. You both have friends all over the world… and there are always planes.

  16. Bon voyage to you both. Can’t say there’s much sun on the horizon here in Blighty – weather forecast is for Arctic blasts. But as you mentioned in a previous post, there’s always Waitrose πŸ˜„

  17. I do, most truly, understand what you’re going through Andrew — and you have all my sympathy! When we decided to return to Australia from Germany we put our house in the Mosel Valley on the market (I would need an entirely new blog to be able to tell you about the German housing market and I’m really not strong enough for that) and we were clever enough to insert a clause in the contract saying we had the right to sell the house privately. And we did! Yay! So there we were, six months out from the move with our house already sold (sans agent’s humongous commission). How clever were we? But … three months before we were due to pack up, the wife of the couple who had agreed to buy our house arrived on the doorstep to tell us her husband had just died (and her stepson was throwing her out of their flat!) 😦

    I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the story: we did, eventually, sell the house again, but this time having to pay an agent’s commission (despite having actually sold it ourselves once more) at a terrible price to someone whose daughter had married into the Russian mafia. And no, I am NOT making this up – I swear! Getting the contract finalised was, erm, interesting (especially as Paul had returned to Australia two months before I left and I had to do it all myself). The house settled the day before the packers arrived and at 8:00 that morning I was still fighting with the daughter on the phone. It did eventually, settle. Once you’re settled back in England I’ll tell you the whole story just to make you laugh …

    And my piece of advice for the day (I’ve sworn to stop giving people advice but I can’t seem to help myself): don’t buy a house over the Internet. The housing market in the UK isn’t all as red hot as it seems – there are hotter and cooler spots. Wait till you get there, despite the hassle of finding rental accommodation where you can keep Lulu, and then go to see the houses you’re really interested in. I know it’s possible to buy over the web, but there are SO MANY things which just don’t show up in photos (e.g. rising damp, dry rot, the neighbour from hell, etc.)

    And after all that: good luck! I’ll be thinking of you both!

  18. Oh, you’re final words made this tough old bird cry! I hope everything works out well for you, and that those many packing cases are well labelled!

    So, what is your favourite licorice allsort?

  19. this post was tinged with so much sadness, I can only hope it is nostalgia already creeping in.
    I would imagine that leaving long time friends would be extraordinarily difficult.

    I hope this transition is far better than you could possibly have imagined and all those annoyances become a distant memory!

  20. Happy landings, I hope!
    I have lately been wishing there were a parallel universe somewhere where PIN numbers, etc were not required. My family laughs at my frequent threat to go live off-grid in the wilds of….well, somewhere.

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