As promised, here's the first post - complete with pictures - for our move. Before I start though, I just want to say a very big thank you to Iggy for taking the time to sort all the photos for me; the ones in this post, and the ones in the posts to follow!
Here comes the train, it's time to start our journey...
(Great Western train; the one from Neath - the nearest station to our old place - to London).
This wasn't exactly our train; we were at the train station early, so I had Kelly grab me a couple of photos of the train that came in before ours since they were the exact same kind of train, and I figured we wouldn't have time to grab a photo of our exact train. You can't have a train journey without train photos though, right?
OK, Kero and I are on the train now...
Not a great shot, I'm told, but here's a photo of just Kero on the train:
About 3 hours later we made it to London's Paddington train station, where we were met by a guard I'd arranged to have meet us there, and we had a ride across the station in one of those cart things (a benifit of being blind... I think I'm the only one who enjoyed it though; Kero was shaking with fear while riding on the cart). Then we jumped in a taxi, and drove past Buckingham Palace...
"Buckingham Palace is the London home and primary residence of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focus for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis.
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was subsequently acquired by George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, and known as "The Queen's House". During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front which contains the well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection."
...(Above text, and more information, available here).
And then to Charing Cross Station, where we jumped on the second of two trains we had to travel on (we should have had a guard meet us there too, but the person didn't show up - that happens a lot, which is why I wasn't travelling on my own; just in case - and we didn't have time to wait anyway, because the train was already at the platform, so we had to manage by ourselves).
(No photo of that train; no time to grab one).
The train took us past The London Eye...
"The EDF Energy London Eye (commonly the London Eye, or Millennium Wheel, formerly the Merlin Entertainments London Eye and before that, the British Airways London Eye) is a 135-metre (443 ft) tall giant Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames, in London, England. Since 20 January 2011, it has been officially known as the EDF Energy London Eye following a three-year sponsorship deal.
It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually. When erected in 1999, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, until surpassed first by the 160 m (520 ft) Star of Nanchang in 2006, and then the 165 m (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008. It is still described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel" (as the wheel is supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the Nanchang and Singapore wheels)."
(Above text, and more information, available here).
... And past Big Ben...
"The name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was first given to the Great Bell.
The Clock Tower was completed in 1859 and the Great Clock started on 31 May, with the Great Bell's strikes heard for the first time on 11 July and the quarter bells first chimed on 7 September."
(Above text, and more information, available here).
...Before continuing on our journey.
Here's Kero on the second train:
Kero says, "I'm not sure I like all this travelling; is it over yet?"
(In his defence, he had by this point been travelling for something like 5 hours).
Almost 7 hours after leaving the old place, we arrived at the office for the letting agents for the property, and headed inside - Kero too - to get the final bits of paperwork signed, first month's rent (and deposit) paid, and collect the keys.
I was worried about Kero with this bit; would they like him? Would he behave? (He has a nasty habit of "marking" places he visits). But he was an absolute angel! In fact, he was an angel for the entire journey; no "accidents" or anything, and he barely whined, despite the length of the journey... I was - and still am - very proud of him! Also, they adored him; everyone he's met so far has adored him, and complimented us on how well he looks, how happy he seems, etc! :)
Sorry, just had to gloat a bit there! ;)
We spent maybe half an hour in the office, then they handed us the keys and our copies of the paperwork and asked if Kelly remembered the way. He said he did, but apparently he didn't remember it as clearly as he thought, and I couldn't give directions; I'm not good with them anyway, and I hadn't been to the place. He only got a little lost though, and we were soon walking through the door of our new home.
There were some bits of furniture, and a few household accessories, left by previous tenants, and they said we could have them if we wanted. I'm glad we said yes, because the sofa is great! Bigger than our old one, and more comfortable, plus it has a matching chair. I'm glad we brought a blanket with us to put on it though; white sofas don't mix well with dogs as a rule, and Kero was very eager to use the sofa as a bed... Apparently it made a great place for a nap...
Kero stayed in the position he's in for his nap in the above photo for almost the entire evening and night; he literally got up to have his dinner, then made a quick trip outside, but other than that he didn't get up until the next morning. Bless him!
We weren't much better; we made the, "we're here safely," calls we'd promised to make as soon as we were back. Then we unpacked what we "had to" (blankets, etc) and went to sleep. It was an exhausting journey, which took a lot out of us!
It wasn't until next morning I really set about exploring the place; 1 living room, 2 bedrooms (a double and a single), a bathroom, a kitchen, and a really big hallway with enough room so we can have a table there, which makes up for the lack of space in the kitchen. It's a decent sized place... Only a little smaller than we had, and we have that little area outside where Kero and I can go outside whenever we want, and Kero can actually be off his lead in his own garden, so YAY!
We - Kero included - met the landlord on Wednesday; the landlord loves Kero, which is great... Especially since the landlord lives upstairs. LOL! Another good thing? The landlord is quite deaf; so much so that he hadn't heard Kero barking right up until Kero was barking outside as the landlord walked out of his door yesterday (Saturday). Trust me though, Kero has been barking; just not loudly enough for the landlord to hear, I guess. Also, the landlord has a dog - a Bishon Friz (I think that's how you spell it) named "Barney" - and Barney barks just as much as Kero does, so he's not likely to moan much about Kero when his own dog is barking too!
(I'll tell you in another post how come we came to meet the landlord).
I think this is enough for this post... More tomorrow!