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Wednesday, 1st February 2017 – The Hungarian Embassy.

Selling Emjaytoo to a Hungarian, who wants to take the boat back to Hungary, has turned into a rather convoluted and expensive affair! The Hungarian buyer, in order to import the boat into Hungary, required our signatures on the contracts to be legalised by the Hungarian Embassy. This involved both of us travelling up to Belgravia with the contracts and our passports to prove we were who we said we were.

Our appointment was for 09:30 so we had to catch a peak time train that cost over £150 for the two of us! Our five minute appointment, turned into an hour and a half of hanging around whilst we waited for the Consul to turn up as it was he who had to sign off the legalisation. And for the pleasure of all that the Embassy rushed us another £156! So over £300 to sign the contract! If we’d known that we would have held out for a higher price, but at least it is done.

We could have just posted the contracts back to the broker in Kortgene, but as we still have a few hundred euros in the Dutch bank account, we have decided to go over on Friday, deliver the contracts by hand and then use the euros to pay for a night in the Hotel Terminus at Goes, a meal out at the Grand Café De Smederij and so make a weekend of it.

Sunday, 5th February 2017 – Saying Goodbye To Delta Marina.

As both Kim and Wendy were not working on Friday, we caught the 09:20 shuttle and drove up to the marina for the very last time. We had our hotel and the restaurant booked, so although it was a sad occasion we were both looking forward to our meal out Friday night.

We got to the marina about 14:00 and spent about an hour with Ad having coffee and sorting the paperwork out. He advised that the buyer had had Emjaytoo lifted out on Wednesday for a survey and that had all gone very well and Ad would be forwarding the contracts to Hungary for signature that afternoon.

When we left Ad’s office we went for a short walk around the marina to “say goodbye”. We avoided going on F Jetty, Emjaytoo’s berth, well what was the point? As always (or so it has always seemed) the sun shone and the weather was glorious, albeit a bit chilly.

We bumped into Hans, the chap who had given us the tuition on boat manoeuvring a couple of years ago and had a chat with him. He reiterated what Ad had said over coffee, that we could always come back to Delta and charter a boat – a lot cheaper than owning your own. We went into the chandlery to say goodbye to Jackie, but she was off sick so we left a message with the new chap there. Jackie has always been very friendly to us and very patient with Wendy’s Dutch!

As we walked back to the car, Wendy got quite upset. Not particularly because we were selling Emjaytoo, but more because it was the end of an era. We have spent eleven years at Delta Marina, initially with Maggie-Jane and then with Emjaytoo. That’s a long time and a big chunk of our life together! There is no doubt, we will miss it terribly!

We drove over to Goes and checked into the hotel. This was the third time we had stayed at this hotel; previous visits also being in February for our mid-winter boat checks. We walked around Goes in the watery afternoon sunshine and reminded ourselves why we have so enjoyed Zeeland.

Our meal at De Smederij was every bit as good as last year and we decided that we would probably come back next year just for the fun of it! At this point Kim announced that he had forgotten to bring the debit card for our Dutch bank account! What a plonker! Now we would have to pay with our English card, cop a load of currency exchange charges and then cop even more when we close the Dutch account!

During Friday afternoon, we got a message from our friends Hans & Tineke in Veere to say they would be around Saturday lunchtime if we would like to go over. So that’s what we did and spent a very enjoyable three hours with them chatting and having lunch before heading back to Calais.

We got back to Calais with enough time to call in at our favourite wine merchant to stock up and then visit our favourite restaurant in the town square for mussels & frites. We arrived at the shuttle and despite all the carry on with UK Immigration drove straight onto our 19:20 crossing. The silly carry on at UK Border Control is something we will not miss.

Although it was quite an emotional weekend to some extent, Wendy in particular felt that it was an important stage in helping us to accept the change. “Closure” sounds a bit pretentious but really that is exactly what it was and as Tineke so rightly put it, look forward not back. So it’s onwards and upwards to our new life as caravanners – with our next trip already booked for early March.

Saturday, 11th February 2017 – Waiting For News.

It is now just over a week since we were over at Delta Marina and as yet there is no news, perhaps it is a bit soon. Hopefully we will get some news next week.

On a different note, earlier in the week, Kim had e-mailed Lunar Caravans about having the maximum permissible gross weight for the van increased. For some bizarre reason most manufacturers plate their vans up well under what the van is safe to carry. We have found that our mtplm, as it is called, provides us with an inadequate payload. This results in things having to be carried in the car instead of the van. Most manufacturers will for a small fee up the plated allowance to give you a greater payload but still stay within the van’s safe loading limits. Well Lunar came back and said they would issue an upgraded plate giving us an extra 65kg for just £60. It has to be ordered through a Lunar dealer, so Kim contacted Songhurst Caravans where we bought the van and they said no problem. The “plate” is actually a sticker, which Songhurst will post to us once they get it from Lunar and all we do is peel the old one off and stick the new one on.

This will enable us to leave in the caravan, stuff which is van specific without worrying about being overloaded. From the point of view of what the van weighs compared to the car, we are currently at about 82% of the car’s kerb weight, so about 40kg and we still stay under the “recommended” 85%. The full 65kg only takes us to just over 86%. The load thing was a bit of a problem, especially coming from Emjaytoo where weight was just not an issue.

Next weekend we move Quasar (the van) from the Marsh up to our local storage, which should make life a lot easier. Is Quasar another attempt at a name?

Sunday, 19th February 2017 – Still We Wait.

Earlier in the week Kim had an exchange of e-mails with Ad and things are progressing, just very slowly. Hopefully we shall get some positive news next week. Someone said selling a boat is a bit like selling a house, seems to us a lot more drawn out than a house sale!

Today we moved the van to its new storage site which will be way more convenient. We have access whenever (between 06:00 & 22:00, 364 days a year) and for as long as we want, without having to give notice. If we want to spend the day there cleaning, washing it and having lunch, we can. About the only restriction is you can’t spend the night in the van. Anyway it looks a well run site.

We did notice whilst moving the van, that it has got pretty dirty,

Next weekend we are going up to the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show at the NEC, Birmingham. However, the following weekend is earmarked for Kim to clean the outside of the van. Apart from the road splatters on the front there are lots of grey streaks, just like we got on the boat, only more noticeable! Think the van will need cleaning quite a few time a year. Kim also has to address a surface scuff caused by some overhanging vegetation that has put a mark down the whole off side! It doesn’t appear to have scratched the van, so should rub out.

After that we are off for another visit to Brighton. Busy, Busy!

Sunday, 26th February 2017 – Getting There.

Two bits of good news this week! First we had an e-mail from Ad on Tuesday to say the Hungarian buyer had signed the contract and then on Saturday we got notification from the Registry to say the Part 1 registration had been closed out. Those were the last obstacles and so now the buyer should hand the money over to the broker who will take his fees out, we get the balance and it’s all over – boat sold!

On Friday, Kim e-mailed Songhurst Caravans to enquire after the mtplm upgrade and they said the new plate had come in from the manufacturer that morning, so they would post it out to us. Kim had hoped it would come in the post on Saturday morning, but alas not! Hopefully it will in the week, although in reality there is no rush as we will not be going away in the van for another couple of weeks.

Saturday, we went up to Warwickshire for the weekend. The plan was to go to the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham, then meet Kim’s boys in Leamington Saturday night for a bite to eat before spending the rest of the weekend with Kim’s daughter and family, who live in Leamington.

Once we had got over the rather long and arduous drive, it was a very successful weekend, i.e. we bought loads of stuff for the caravan! All stuff we needed of course. Plus we got a great gas barbecue come outdoor cooker and a new Sat-Nav specially programmable for towing caravans. We had a good night with the boys and it was great to see the grandchildren. Maggie did us a fabulous Sunday lunch and we finally left about 4 o’clock, getting home about 7pm.

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