Sunday, 1 May 2022


The week and day of Mum’s move has been like something from a mixture of a comedy sketch, a horror movie, a crime thriller, DIY SOS, Changing Rooms, Countryfile and Gardeners World.  On top of which I’ve had to act as a detective, a diplomat, a counsellor, a supervisor and a carer.  There’s probably some roles I’ve forgotten about.

On the run upto the move, hours have been spent on the phone trying to get through to services to inform them of the new address. There’s been lots of papers to read and sign.  We’ve chosen new bedroom furniture, living room furniture, wallpaper & window blinds, light fittings, bedroom carpet, sorted keys out and numerous other things I’ve been in Dunelm  half a dozen times for.   Oh yes and I organised a removal company and a decorator.

We’ve done all this in the three weeks since Mum first saw and said she liked the flat.  My constant companion has been a notebook, pencil and tape measure. I made a two week planner so that I could see instantly every day what I was supposed to be doing, what was arriving and who was on site.

The redecorating of the rooms had to be carefully scheduled as the bedroom carpet was arriving the same day as our lovely decorator Jo was starting work, added to which she needed to be out by the time the new bedroom furniture was due to arrive.  I’d love some of that speed and energy Jo has, apart from not being able to get the last coat of paint on all the doors, which were originally dark brown and she painted white, she totally smashed it. It was only the fact we didn’t want to be manoeuvring round tacky doors on move day that stopped them being finished.

The first of the comedy of errors came in the form of the delivery folk using the wrong template to work out that the pathway for them to get the wardrobe in. It looked like it would have to go back and Mum would have to have a smaller one.  As they were leaving Philip said I’ll measure your template to make sure we get a wardrobe that will fit.  After the men had left we realised they’d used the wrong template it was too big.  By then it was to late to get them back. So the original wardrobe is now rescheduled for delivery next Thursday.  Consequently I had to me dart out out to Dunelm again to buy a cheap clothes rail to tide us over.

Talking of tides, while all this lot was going on United Utilities who had the road blocked off outside for major repairs went  gone through a water pipe causing a burst in the corridor of the flats right outside Mum’s front door.  It was that bad you could have had ducks swimming on the surface of the carpets.  Many work men from many sources appeared sucking up water with a machine, measuring here there and everywhere and wanting to put in a massive dehumidifier in the corridor for two weeks. ‘Well that’s not happening’ said Margaret our lovely on-site warden, ‘it’s a trip hazard’. So off these four chaps went after measuring every inch of carpet in sight even in rooms nowhere near the flooding.

Still with me ?   I’m now jumping forward a few days to the day of the move.   Picture the scene, I’ve hardly slept a wink and the phone rings at 6.00am and it’s Careline to inform me that there’s been a major flood n the building, the fire brigade have attended site and mum’s flat is affected. They have someone on the way to sort it out. 

Can I swear ?  Bloody hell what do I do now, do I cancel the move or do we carry on.  Quickly getting dressed I drove up there with the wandering welder in tow.  There wasn’t a soul to be seen, we were met with a corridor of squelching carpets and it was the same in Mum’s hallway, store cupboard, bathroom, entry to the bedroom and living room.

After much pondering it was decided that the move would go ahead.  Off Philip dashed back home to bring a roll of rubber backed carpet that he brought home from a site he’d worked on during the foot and mouth crisis many years ago.  It was left over from when you had to disinfect your shoes before entering the building.  We cut it to shape and laid it down over the soggy carpets so that the removal men could get everything in without making anymore mess.

During the course of the day I managed to find a water board man who came and looked at the mess and reported it to the relevant team.  Two more men appeared to assess it and said they would rip up the carpets. No you won’t I said, I’ve got my 89 year old Mum moving in here today, it’s havoc enough as it is.  Come back Tuesday when the warden is back on site.

Honestly you couldn’t make this lot up could you.  Two more men appeared later from a company who do the drying out.  ‘We will have to rip out all the carpets throughout the building’ they said, as they stomped up and down taking photos.  ‘Oh no you won’t’ said I. ‘You’ve no authority to do that and neither have I to let you.  You’ll have to come back Tuesday when the warden is here’.

Next up another man appears because the lift is not working because of the water burst, the shaft is full of water. Quick as a flash I darted back into mum’s ground floor flat and thought I’m keeping out of that debate.

The removal folk arrived and everything went without a hitch on that side and my sister appeared with the kettle and the brewing tackle.  After a sit down and a cuppa and I’d updated her on the mornings fiasco, we got stuck into the start of placing things where they should be, making up mum’s bed and working our way through 15 packing boxes.

Next thing another knock at the door.  ‘I’m a plumber come to fix a drain. What’s all this water in the corridor.  It’s clean water not sewage.  I can’t fix this it’s nothing to do with me.  How do I get in this store cupboard to check where the burst is.’  he said. You can’t said I ‘There’s no warden on site until Tuesday’.  He then phoned his people who phoned their people, at which point I’d wandered off to investigate the sound of running water in a communal toilet.  He said ‘I can’t do anything here, it’s down to United Utilites’.  ‘Can you fix this toilet while you’re here’ said I making a hasty retreat back into Mum’s flat.

I forgot to mention that earlier during the first visit by UU a woman appeared from up the road in hysterics, grabbing the workman begging him to help and shouting at me ‘have you got a water burst. have you, have you’. Turns out the cellar in her house was filling with water. ‘Madam’ said I, ‘Allow me to finish our conversation and the man will get to you next’.  While all the time thinking shut up, calm down, there’s a building full of old folk to sort here.

Well the day goes on, my sister Jill went back to Mum’s old house to get some more stuff and I carried on emptying boxes when all of a sudden the door opens and a chap walks in with a sleeping toddler over his shoulder.  ‘Oh sorry, I thought the flat was empty’.  ‘Who are you ?’ Said I.   Turns out he was a chap from Housing 21 who own the company that run Riddiough Court where mum has moved into.  

As you can probably guess by now I’ve had enough of all these folk appearing and what to me is total mayhem.  He offered to put mum up in a hotel until it was all sorted or even in the visitors room in the complex if there is one he said. All the time there’s someone on the end of his phone joining in the conversation.  Even though he was very nice and obviously trying to do his best, I’m so confused at this point by all these folk appearing I told him that Mum has no idea what is going on, my friend has taken her out for the day while we get her flat set up so that she can walk in and everything will be in place for her to carry on with her life in her new home. I told him she’s not going anywhere, my sister is staying with her tonight to make sure she’s alright and on Tuesday when the warden is back on duty I will sort it all out from there. 

Still with me ?   Mum appears with Jane and is shocked at what’s happened, overwhelmed with the whole experience of moving and exhausted.   

The warden then appears as she’s been called in because it’s such a major event that’s gone on.  I explained everything that had happened  and said let’s sort it on Tuesday I’m to exhausted to carry on now.  She was very apologetic and said for such a big thing to occur twice in one week was unheard of and normally it was such a quiet place.  I said it’s United utilities fault not yours.  I am going to be following it all up though.

After I’d been home a couple of hours my sister rang to say a man had appeared with a machine to suck up all,the water in the corridors and mums flat. At that my brain shut off.

And so that’s the sorry so far.  There’s plenty of funny bits but they will have to wait, I just needed to get this out of my system.

I’ll be back
Lynn x
Ps if you’re still here you’re as big a glutton for punishment as me haha but thanks x

One funny bit.
Mum’s welcoming committee


  1. Good grief!
    I needed to lie down in a dark corner JUST reading your saga! Here is to a stiff drink - hope the next stage goes very much smoother!

  2. I'm exhausted just reading this. I hope it all comes good in the end , your Mum is happy and you can have a well earned rest! xxx

  3. I was getting more and more incredulous as I continued reading your saga! I'm sure you'll be laughing about it all at some point, but what a nightmare it appears to be right now. I do hope everything gets sorted soon, so that your Mum can start getting used to and enjoying her new home! xxx

  4. Goodness! Your poor mum! A move usually is traumatic, but this one went above and beyond!

    As did you and your family. :-) Now you have some idea how management responds to emergencies. Once they have someone on site, they seem to take control and organize things. A step in the right direction, me hopes!

    Hope you can get some rest and assure yourself that everything is righting itself in your mother's world.