I'm back from the North having deposited daughter there for the start of her second year at uni. After all the problems relayed in my last post, we did manage to move in to the house (the German girls true to their word let us in) and we met up with my sister-in-law and her partner who had come up from Lincolnshire in a van with Kay's belongings which they had collected earlier in the week from us. We plodded up and down stairs taking said stuff up to Kay's room which is three floors up in an attic room. The house is in an area of town which is predominantly inhabited by students or immigrants. Streets and streets of back to back terraced houses. The housing is all right although hardly the luxury end of the market. I think once upon time the house may have been built for millworkers and their families. But by gum they must have had small feet in those days. The staircases are little more than glorified ladders! They are very very steep, very narrow and won't take a foot-tread front on. You sort of have to go up or down sideways like a crab, or risk falling down head over heels. Carrying heavy boxes and suitcases up the two steep flights was an acquired art. Afterwards, we were all in need of a stiff lunchtime drink and a sit-down in a local pub to recover.
Once my sister-in-law and her family had gone home, Kay unpacked her things and we started to make the room a little more like home, taking note of what little extras still needed to be bought. The three German girls (staying on for yet another week) were very friendly, apologised for the state of the kitchen, as they had been working hard to get their dissertation finished and had therefore had scant time to worry about washing up. I reckoned there must have been at least five days of washing-up in the sink alone, not to mention the piles of plates attracting flies on the work surfaces. True to typical German behaviour, instead of leaving towels on deckchairs, they had left jackets on backs of dining chairs and all their china/pans and food in the cupboards, so Kay could not put any of her food or china/pans away, but we managed to eat out a lot or bring sandwiches home, so that was no great problem.
Kay and I had a great last few days together, buying more household items for the room, doing a bit of sightseeing and having some nice meals out. The week was only marred by the not altogether unexpected news that the fifth girl (Danielle in my last post) had pulled out altogether. It meant that a fifth housemate needed to be found urgently or else the four other girls would need to cover the outstanding rent. Abigail, now back from Thailand, felt partially responsible for choosing Danielle in the first place and took it up herself to advertise the room in all the appropriate places. It paid off as about 8 people have responded to the ad, mainly Americans, Australians and a Spaniard, all of whom have just arrived in the UK this week as international freshers. Kay, as the only housemate to have arrived, had to show them the room and common areas of the house, while I made myself scarce. Hopefully one of them will be suitable.
With heavy heart, I hugged Kay goodbye on Friday evening and made the long train journey back to London, arriving home to an empty house (except for a very relieved Snoopy and cat). I am really happy Kay is settled with nice friends in a nice house. It'll be a long time until I see her at Christmas and a bit daunting on my own, if I am honest, but I have lots of decorating to do, new double-glazing arriving in a week and the same at my mother's house, so I am sure the time will go quickly. I might even sneak in another visit north, if I get the chance! A new chapter begins in both our lives.