At least we didn't leave it like this:
Where do we start?!
We got into the house (eventually) today because Stuart received a message from Richard this morning telling us that the notary needs to register the mortgage in advance of the meeting at which we complete the purchase. Since this has not been done yet (we don't know why), the meeting won't be able to happen until some time next week.
At that point my heart missed a beat as I imagined us having to stay in hotel accommodation (complete with noisy Dutch teenagers - but that's another story) for the rest of the week! But Stuart read on: Keith and Geri are happy for us to start moving our stuff into the house ahead of next week so that it won't interrupt our plans. They themselves are no longer in the area (we've no idea exactly where they are - some reports suggest they are on their way to Poole, others suggest they are going to New Zealand for a holiday), so they have appointed power of attorney to another ex-pat in the area who will act on their behalf at the meeting next week.
So that all sounded fine, panic over!
Stuart emailed Richard back to say that it all sounded good to us and to ask when we could get the keys and from whom... The next thing we knew Richard was phoning to say that nobody seems to know where the keys are (he doesn't have any, Michelle, who has the power of attorney, doesn't have any...) and nobody seems to be able to get in touch with Keith & Geri by email, phone or text.
Richard suggested going up to the house to search under plant pots - and said that if all else failed he would come up with a crow bar and get us in.
We duly went to the house, spent a long while looking under plant pots, moving rubbish bags, turning over buckets and stones (disturbing lizards, spiders, ants and a snake in the process!) but to no avail. Eventually Stuart went to the car and unloaded his bag of tools (what a good job we brought them with us in the car for the road trip), and with a combination of some power tools and brute force, he eventually managed to hack off the padlock on the side shed and let us into the house.
We were horrified by the mess and piles of stuff that greeted us! Even pairs of shoes, coats, half eaten packets of cereal and half eaten jars of jam ranged amongst the rest of the belongings left for us to deal with.
We eventually found the keys to both the apartment and the main house in a bowl of keys - together with about 10 other unidentified sets of keys.
Did I mention that they have also left a car?
It looks like it hasn't gone anywhere for a long while - it's covered in mould, with rusty hub caps, spider webs, grass growing around it and even a wasps nest on the wheel arch. It was unlocked of course - but judging by the creaks and cobwebs didn't seem as if the door had been opened in a long while:
Ikea is exactly the same the world over, it seems. All the stock is the same, there's the same annoying one-way-only route around the shop and the same dawdling people getting in your way when all you want to do is go straight to the 'market' and then to the check-out. I don't think I've ever seen people with their dogs in Ikea in the UK though - spotted three sets of people who'd brought their pooches into the shop with them today.
After making our purchases we headed back along the autostrada back to Pescia and to the house to unload our shopping until tomorrow. This visit to the house was rather more fruitful as we managed both to turn the electricity back on and to get the modem up and running so (in theory at least) we should have power and internet when we move in tomorrow!
As of now we don't know of any means by which to get rid of unwanted goods - we haven't come across any rubbish tips (or skip hire companies for that matter!) so we will have to work out how to dispose of things.
We're both itching to get our teeth into the clearing and cleaning and tidying process - it's exciting to think what we will (we hope) eventually be able to make of the place, but it seems like an enormous mountain to climb at the moment. We should find out soon when our furniture is due to arrive - simply having our own things in the house will improve it no end (that and a good clear out and clean, I just hope we can finish clearing everything before our furniture all arrives).
The weather has been glorious today - mid to high 20s C and sunny. Can't quite believe that we'll be getting lots more of that to come and the English person inside me wants to rush outside and make the most of it in case it rains tomorrow - I need to retrain my brain to realise that we'll be seeing more of the sun over here!