Following my last post 'Handover' when we took ownership of NickyNoo and spent a fabulous week preparing for future adventures we were about to embark on, Suzie and I returned to our home in Lancashire in order to close a chapter of our lives and fulfill a promise I had made to Sue many years earlier following a health scare.
Driving home from work late one evening I ended up in A & E at the local hospital, I did not even know how I got there. Apparently, I just drove to the doors, fell out of the car and came round a couple of hours later connected to a load of machines. To cut a long story short, after a series of tests, my GP explained that my body was close to shutting down due to stress and if I did not ease up I would not make 50. Bloody Hell I thought! I was only 42 at the time. The outcome was that I packed up my job as a Senior Manager in a public company vowing to retire if I made it to 55. Clearly I did make it and I am still here to tell the tale.
Anyway, back to the point of this post! After we ordered the boat, I was having lunch one day with my largest customer around Christmas time, when I said that we had bought the boat and I was thinking of selling our business. The conversation that continued over lunch was all about the Yacht and nothing more was mentioned about the business. A few days later I had a call from my customer requesting a meeting with his Directors early in the new year to discuss new product development. Off I went to the meeting with my prepared presentation when Allan (my friend and the Chairman) told me to forget that, it can wait for another time - we have a proposition! They wanted to buy the company and for me to stay as a consultant. We did the deal and they became the new owners in April 2004. Most of the transfers of records, clients and accounting details were passed over during early April and all stock moved to the new warehouse, then after the handover of NickyNoo, Suzie & I were scheduled to spend time with the new directors and staff for a couple of weeks, to ensure a smooth transfer.
After agreeing with Allan that they would buy the business, I had a chance conversation in our local pub with some people looking to buy a property in the area. They indicated they would be interested in our place, which led them viewing and then making an offer to buy the house we had spent the last 18 years lovingly restoring. We thought that our house was our forever home but the opportunity was hard to resist. For many years, Sue and I had thought about buying a holiday home in France one day, but after buying the yacht there was no more money in the pot and we did not want to consider another mortgage. A few heart wrenching days later we decided to accept the offer we received for our house, live on NickyNoo and look for a holiday retreat in France.
The contracts for selling the house were exchanged and a date for moving out agreed for the beginning of June. We did manage to have a couple of weekends aboard the boat but the whole of May was really taken up with the business transfer and packing up a lifetime of possessions into boxes ready to go into storage for an undetermined period. It is also times like this that you realise how much junk one accumulates over the years. We actually managed to fill 3 large skips with unused and unwanted items that had been stored in the loft and the barn for years. Like most people you think that one day these items may be useful - let me assure you, they are not so get rid and forget them.
The removal people arrived on a Wednesday morning and it took 2 days for them to empty the house and pack everything into large wooden storage containers. We were to find out 6 months later that there were 10 of these containers and they would require a full articulated lorry to transport them to our new house.
On Thursday evening the removal people had gone and all we had were 2 suitcases, a couple of overnight bags and another load of goods packed in the boot of the car ready to take to the boat. We were tired, dirty, had nowhere to sleep and the new owners would not complete until Friday afternoon so we ended up booking into a hotel for the night. As it happened, delays with the transfer of funds meant that they could not complete until Saturday morning and as the new people had also adopted our resident house cat we had to stay another night. It was sad to wander round an empty house with all of the memories but at the same time, it was right to move on and now we were more than ready.
Saturday morning came and we had a last visit to the house before meeting the new owners with the Solicitors to hand over the keys. Into the car with a big sigh and big smiles, NickyNoo was waiting and we were on our way - 1st stop Little Chef for breakfast then onward to our live-aboard life in a marina.
I look forward to seeing you in my next post 'Living Aboard' and following the journey to becoming Skipper Dave.
"Every Story has an end,
but in life every end is just a new beginning."