Moving House, Anxiety and why I’ll never use Haus Estate Agents Again

So, this weekend I moved house, which is a stressful thing at the best of times, however due to the ongoing Pandemic we ended up in Lockdown just when things got started. All of a sudden we got word we could move and that everyone in the chain wanted this weekend. With a deep breath we prepared ourselves for a move in what is the busiest and most business critical time for my day job.

Having worked two full weeks with no days off and a full house to pack, we brought everything we possibly could down to the bottom of the house and cleaned ready for the buyer the next day.

On moving day, we were up at 5am, getting as much out of the house ready for the moving van as possible. The van came and we started loading up, we also had a smaller van and my car so we got as much as humanly possible into each vehicle ready to hear we could start moving.

Unfortunately, and I’ve no idea how this happens, the last person in the chain completed first. Haus Estate Agents were on the phone before even the solicitor could get through asking when we’d be out of the house and letting me know the sale had completed. They also asked if I was stressed, which I can now only assume was so that they could knowingly make my life a living hell.

I explained that I didn’t even know we’d completed but that I hadn’t heard about my onward purchase yet and certainly had no idea when I could get the keys. I promised to keep them updated as and when I heard but also explained I was still loading the van.

Before I heard anything else, Haus were back on the phone. I explained again, I don’t know when I’m going to be out, I’m loading the van, I haven’t even been told I can get keys and there’s a second load before the house is empty.

The next thing, the buyer was sitting outside of my house with keys in his hand and full knowledge of my alarm code, while I had to go and collect keys and get the van emptied before I could get back.

What did not help this situation was the fact I suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder and struggle at the best of times with panic. So I rang Haus for some support – Big. Mistake. I tried my best whilst driving, trying not to fully melt down and have an actual panic attack to explain what was happening and that I was worried. I asked if he could just talk to the buyer and explain I’m moving as fast as I can but can he just please not go into the house until I’m out.

So, we got the keys, got to the house and started unloading our two vans. Guess what? HAUS were on the phone AGAIN – When are you going to be out? You should be out by now. Well I lost it, now in full on melt down mode I told them everything I had already told them, I reiterated it and explained I was emptying the van and needed to go back to get the rest “So they can move in then?” NO THEY CAN’T MOVE IN. I went through it all again only to be told when I said as soon as I’ve got my stuff out the house will be empty and I’ll hand over my key and all I got in response to that was “It doesn’t work like that”

Of course it works like that, how else can it work? Everyone I have spoken to, estate agents, my Solicitor, everyone who has ever moved is in agreement that whilst the house sale had completed we did need a little understanding that we needed to get our items out of the house.

So, the first van was empty and we left my husband and step mom in the house with the intention of zooming back and loading up while they continued with the second van but before I could set foot in the moving van, the phone rang again. This time it was my solicitor. I explained the entire situation and that I was now on the edge of declaring harrassment from Haus Estate Agents and she told me don’t worry, do what you can, I’ll speak to the buyer’s solicitor. An absolute angel in my time of need.

I got most of my things out and my buyer started to move his stuff in through one door as we left through the other, at this point my nerves were truly shot, I was on the edge of just sitting on the floor in tears and my buyers Mum came to tell me not to worry, they knew I was doing my best and that it was absolutely fine, and may I just say – what a truly lovely family – I’m so glad it’s my buyer, Liam, who will be living in my first home and making it his first home.

I haven’t heard from Haus since that last phone call and I’m very pleased that I haven’t. They were a dream come true until the day they weren’t and it’s a real shame that the attitude and constant badgering had to happen because it’s soured what was otherwise a truly lovely working relationship. It didn’t help that due to the 6 person rule I couldn’t reel in extra people to help me and it’s a real shame that on the day of completion – let me rephrase – the day their commission came through they turned from attentive and lovely to a complete………… well. We’ll leave that there. They caused me so much undue stress and upset at a time that should have been exciting for all of us that I honestly wouldn’t ever recommend them to anybody else again.

My Vendor was amazing, I moved in to find a bottle of wine, a card and a beautifully organised binder with all my necessary information inside on the side, and Redbrik, the Vendor’s Estate Agent were wonderfully supportive as well.

Many, many thanks to the staff at Redbrik Estate Agents and to my Solicitor Jill at Taylor and Emmett for being so supportive at what was an extremely difficult time for me. At least someone had my back.

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Heavy Words, Lightly Thrown – The Reason behind the Rhyme by Chris Roberts

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Heavy Words, Lightly Thrown is a fantastically interesting book by Chris Roberts, in this book we learn of the reasons why some of the nursery rhymes we grew up with and are indeed still very popular today may have been written.

There are many things I learned whilst reading this book, such as the sacrifices build into bridges and sometimes buildings! I had heard of some American Houses being built with a cat in the wall to ward off evil spirits and witches, but I had never heard of children being walled into a construction before, and certainly not in England!

Some of the book comes across as absolute fact, whilst others appear to be more of a speculation, but given when these rhymes first came about, it’s not like Roberts can go and ask. I enjoyed every explanation in the book regardless of whether it’s fully the truth or not, and I learned a lot about history which despite feeling myself as a bit of a history buff when I was at school, I never knew. I love to learn and I think it’s important to continue to do as you grow older. There’s always something you don’t know so no matter how much learning you do, you’ll never run out of interesting things to find out about.

Another of the explanations I particularly enjoyed was the one for Little Jack Horner, which I always took to be about a boy enjoying a pie. However, according to Roberts, this particular rhyme could be about property acquisition. Apparently, in the old days documents were transported in a pie crust to keep them safe and hush hush. Thomas Horner was tasked with delivering such a pie to the King, filled with deeds to twelve manor houses, in an effort to keep him from taking the Abbey. Mr Horner allegedly lifted the edge of the crust and pulled out – in the rhyme a plum – in reality a “plum piece of real estate”.

Roberts’ explanations of these rhymes is obviously much better than mine but suffice to say I found this book extremely interesting. I was lucky enough to find this book in a charity shop and I’d absolutely recommend giving it a read through! It’s a fantastic explanation of so many things you never knew you wanted to know and a brilliant learning experience.

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Blog Tour – The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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The main character in this book, Avery, is someone who I found, and I would imagine most readers would find, incredibly relatable. The way that the book is written and the way that things are revealed coupled with the character development around Avery really brings you into the story. I found it impossible not to invest myself in the events of this book.

Avery Grambs came from nothing, she’s an ordinary, invisible girl surviving high school and a difficult home life. The next minute she’s living in a mansion with a family who have every reason to hate her and attending the school of her dreams but as you can imagine, it’s not going to be plain sailing.

I like a twisty crime/drama/mystery novel as much as the next person, but too often I feel like I’ve figured it out too early and then it’s a boring slog to the end for what I already knew. This book was different. I was brilliantly entertained throughout the story, hooked and sneaking a page here and there. A chapter at lunch, several before bed.

I’m really pleased to be part of this Blog Tour because this isn’t the kind of book I’d usually choose for myself, and I don’t know of the author. However I will now be seeking out more titles by Jennifer Lynn Barnes because I absolutely loved this one.

I am hoping there is another book coming because I would love to continue following these characters. They’re all extremely well fleshed out not just with personalities but complex personalities. This might be one of the best books I’ve read all year!

Definitely pick up this book, it’s a ride you won’t want to miss.

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Identity Crisis – Graphic Novel

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I very much enjoyed this story as it involved a lot of characters from the DC universe. Some I’ve known for a long time, like firm Childhood favourite – Superman, and some I’ve only recently discovered, like Kory Anders or Koriand’r as it is on her planet. She’s a brief appearance in a few slides and isn’t hugely involved in the story, but it struck me as soon as I saw her because I’ve just recently watched DC Titans and that’s where I discovered her character.

This story makes good use of the Justice League characters and some of the Reserves and I’m really pleased to have had the chance to check it out because it really opens up some of the stories of the characters nicely. You see them placed in more of an uncertain situation than I’ve really ever seen them in, because in this particular story it isn’t they who are placed in jeopardy but their loved ones.

This story had me genuinely concerned in places and I thought it explored things really well. It’s another beautiful set of artwork too which again you’ll have seen if you’re on my instagram (you really should take the hint and follow me) but I’ll include some here too obviously;

I’ll be looking to explore more DC stories too, especially as some of the events in this one will have really put Batman in a bad mood!

Check it out!

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We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E Taylor, Narrated by Ray Porter

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We are Legion (We are Bob) is one of the best science fiction books I’ve experienced. Starting out by introducing us to our main character Bob, who is with his friends at a convention we get to know a little about Bob before launching into the story. Bob at this point is unaware of some, erm, changes.. which he’s about to go through.

The story very much centres around Bob as we get into it as he is trained and settles into a new job, if you will. You won’t want to stop once this story takes hold, it is a brilliantly written and excellently performed piece of science fiction which really gripped me. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and, as I use audiobooks for when I’m driving, I was excited to get back in the car and see what was coming next.

Ray Porter’s voice is clean and clear and you don’t find yourself distracted by his pacing or any little odd noises like in some audiobooks, he’s a great choice and since the book is written in the first person perspective of Bob, he makes the perfect voice for him.

With brilliantly original writing the story will make you laugh, surprise you and draw you in as you become invested in what is happening to the characters. You’ll feel like a fly on the wall because the imagery comes over strongly, and best of all, if you’re a Star Trek Fan, this book is littered with references because so is Bob!

With this being a series we already know there’s more to come after the ending but it does end on a high note with hope and happiness and leaving you in the spirit for more Bob!

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Book of The Month – August

Huge apologies for the lateness of this, my day job gets incredibly busy in August and September and I unfortunately got a bit behind.

I’ve read some brilliant books last month and it’s going to be difficult to choose just one but I’ll give it a go! Here’s a reminder;

Clockwork Sherlock by Ian W Sainsbury

I was invited to review this Audiobook for a blog tour celebrating the release, I really enjoyed it. It’s not usually something I’d choose so I like to do blog tours for books like this because it opens me up to new experiences and I would definitely like to read/listen to more by this author.

Mothtown by Liam Pais Hill

This was a must buy for me, I am aware of Hill’s work from other books such as The Old One and the Sea by Lex H Jones, which Hill illustrated, my favourite EVER online comic strip “Slug Cafe” and the various comics he’s written and illustrated such as Yorkshire Ghost. I have also met Hill and am sure I will have a chance to do so again in the future. This is his first book of short stories and is presented as a Zine, a copy of which is on it’s way to Sci Fi and Scary!

Wildfire by Duncan Ralston

Not what I would say is Ralston’s best work, that honour is reserved for Ghostland, BUT it is an earlier works and a much different story. It also isn’t his worst work and I did enjoy listening to this audio book while I was working or driving. Ralston’s output of stories leaves something for everyone.

Planet Hulk – Marvel

Planet Hulk is a fabulous Graphic Novel about Hulk in one of his many iterations. The movies do not do the character justice. We only really see the one mode of “hulk…smash” in the movies and there is so much more depth to Bruce Banner that I want to learn about. I’ll be reading more but this iteration of Green Scar is my favourite at the moment.

Bad Sandwich by Oli Jacobs

An interesting read to say the least, you have to pay attention to keep up and I actually very much enjoyed it. It’s a surrealist story and I honestly don’t know how Jacobs kept up enough to write this coherently but I’m glad he did. It reads almost like a creative writing exercise but it’s worth the read!

Sunshine and Lollipops (Filmic Cuts Book 1)

This is the first of 6 books of short stories by Oli Jacobs and I loved it! There are a few stories based on Mental Health issues in this one but I found that they were approached with respect and research. One mentions bulimia and actually it was pretty on the money with some things. Obviously they’re horror shorts so they’re not meant to be massively accurate but it was clearly written with care. That said, handle with care if you’re likely to be upset by such subject matter.

Kirk Sandblaster: Space Adventurer

Another first of 6 books by Oli Jacobs, this is a really fun look at space adventuring with clear nods towards older material. Some of it subconscious according to the author! I’ll be reading more of these!

This is the newest release in Oli Jacob’s catalogue and one worth taking a look at. Set up as found research this is almost an X File. Very entertaining, a little surreal and quite original. I enjoyed the idea of having old gods and a town that doesn’t seem to exist. Couldn’t put this one down!

Tesco A-Go-Go by Matthew Cash

This book simply is not getting the attention it needs and I’m not sure how to boost it enough. It’s a nostalgic look at a simpler time with belly laughs along the way. I loved it and am willing to give away 2 goodie bags to readers who can show me they’ve bought it so tweet or instagram a picture of your paperback or digital cover and I’ll enter you into the draw.

So, there were QUITE a few in August’s line up! I’ve been a busy bee it would seem, I have to narrow this down, so here is my short list;

Planet Hulk – A beautiful book with amazing artwork and a fantastic story. This has only made my thirst for Hulk books stronger and I want to learn as much as I can as a result.

Wilthaven by Oli Jacobs – This was a really interesting way to put together a book and I’m happy I bought it. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jacobs’ work and would love to see more!

Tesco A-Go-Go by Matthew Cash – I’m putting my money where my mouth is when I do giveaways, I don’t get any payment and I don’t have my authors donate to these – unless they want to of course, I’m not silly! This is not a horror story, it’s an out and out comedy with themes of love and friendship and it would be a crying shame if it didn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s not going to be for everyone but I found it hilarious!

But which one gets the crown? It’s so difficult, I loved them all! They all have their own merits and they’re such different books.

I think this one has to go to Matthew Cash, just because it’s so different from his usual stuff and it’s so funny! It’s one I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it and it sparked plenty of nostalgia too.

So the August Book of the Month goes to Tesco A-Go-Go by Matthew Cash!

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Release Day Review – Tesco A-Go-Go by Matthew Cash

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I was lucky enough to read this book prior to release and given the chance to provide feedback on it. Personally, I loved it immediately and didn’t feel the need to change anything. Originally written on a refill pad, this is actually Matthew Cash’s first novel.

Hidden away from prying eyes, it now serves to tell a tale of love, friendship and humour. The language and antics of the main characters; Dave & Ian are definitely adult themed, you’re not going to be reading this to your kids as a bedtime story. It is, however, a huge nostalgia bomb. Written in the days when mobile phones weren’t fused to your hand and it was in fact possible to forget to take it places with you, the story has a very natural feel to it and flows perfectly.

This story, whilst it has some seriousness to it, did have me chuckling away to myself as the characters are just so relatable. Cash has written this in such a way that you really do feel like a fly on the wall watching the events unfold, imagery like that is important in any story but particularly one like this. In a film, you’d rely on seeing these antics in order to achieve the humour so to have it so effortlessly flow in a book shows a talented author.

Now, it’s true this book may not be for everyone, but I think it will be for the majority. No matter which character you relate to, you’re going to relate to one of them at the very least. If you don’t know what a VHS is, it might not be for you, but give it a go anyway – you never know, you might just see your Dad in a different light.

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Pre-Release Interview with Matthew Cash

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Your latest book, Tesco-a-go-go is due for release on Monday, how are you feeling about it?

Very apprehensive. One of the reasons why it’s taken me so long to release this book is because I never really deemed it worthy of being published. But the awesome Linda Nagle waved her magic wand over it and ironed out the editorial creases. But I still worry people will hate it.

And this one was shelved for quite some time wasn’t it?

For at least fifteen years. It was written at a time when I was just beginning to take my writing a little bit more serious even though everyone around me at the time insisted that I needed to grow out of my aspirations of becoming a writer and think about doing something ‘realistic’ instead of just shop work and living in a fantasy world. Up until then, people had always scoffed at my desire to write but it was something that I had no control over.

TESCO was the first book I wrote with zero planning, I literally made it up as I went along throwing in what I thought was funny at the time left, right and centre.

Be warned, there is a hefty amount of a sequel written.

What made you decide to release it now?

The desire to release something that’s out of my usual genre. Hopefully to show I’m not all horror.

Are the characters based on anybody in particular?

Yes. There’s a lot of Me in the main character, Dave. Well, the me I was back then, and a lot of his nervous experiences with his dream woman were almost exactly how I reacted over a particular barmaid in The Troff. Yes, the pub is real, I live in spitting distance, and once upon a time there was a barmaid down there so beautiful that I couldn’t go to the bar when she was serving.

Anything you’d like to say to prepare your readers for the experience they’re about to face?

I’m sorry. I wrote this when I was young, immature, and obsessed with naked ladies. Not much has changed other than my age.

Giveaway Reminder!

Don’t forget that you’re in with a chance of a Tesco A-go-go Goodie Bag if you preorder this title, just click on the image at the top of the page to preorder and show me you’ve done it. There are 2 Goodie Bags up for grabs for two lucky readers and they follow the theme of the book!

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Zero Suicide Alliance

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I’ve recently completed three short training sessions with the Zero Suicide Alliance which have been put together to help people deal with Suicide, and learn how it may be possible to prevent it.

I particularly liked these courses, because they don’t just tell you what to do but they also mention the things you should be doing for yourself. Things like having a support system in place, and making sure you’re well enough yourself while you’re helping someone else. This is really important because it’s easy to lose track of your own wellness when you’re focussing heavily on someone else’s.

I found the training while following MoveMENt which is a Men’s Suicide Prevention Project in Warrington. They had posted about the available training and asked that people complete it, and I’m really glad I did. It’s very well put together, I’ve already had the conversation with my Manager at my day job about whether I can suggest it for staff in the company, and advertise the resources to our customers (I work in Student Accommodation).

Two of the resources I’ve learned about which I hadn’t heard of before are;

Hub of Hope, an app you can put on your phone and put your postcode in to find help nearby. These are not all NHS services, putting my post code into it I’ve found something called “Andy’s Man Club” which run talking groups for Men and Sheffield Light which is a charity dedicated to supporting the emotional wellbeing of Mums and their families both during and after pregnancy.

Mens Sheds, on their website you can find or start a shed. The Men Sheds are community spaces for Men to connect, converse and create. With activities similar to what they might do in their own garden shed, they can now meet up with other men and do it together!

Throughout the training courses there are small activities to complete, such as choosing what you think the correct response would be to what is being said in the scenarios, as well as a coach function to tell if you if that’s right, why it might not be right and what could be done in a scenario where either option might not be possible.

Now, I personally do already have a history with both my own mental health, and in supporting others with theirs. As a young teen I was on a support board called Bodies Under Siege where peer support was available as well as support for families. This supported people from all walks of life struggling with many different issues. It was very helpful to me in what was a very dark and lonely time, later I was appointed as a moderator on the board and I eventually moved on as my own mental health issues either became resolved, or required different support.

I also used The Samaritans, it’s not just the telephone line so if you’re not in immediate danger they will simply talk to you via email if you prefer. This helped me work through a lot of things and I absolutely would recommend The Samaritans as a resource.

Going into my professional life, I am trained as a Mental Health First Aider. So a lot of what was in the courses, I did know. It is set out simply and clearly so if you don’t have any background in Mental Health it’s still easy enough to follow along with. And even for those of us who are well versed, it’s always nice to have the confirmation that what you would have said IS acceptable and could help.

I recommend these courses, they don’t take long and you could help save a life. If you or a family member or friend are struggling, be aware that there are a multitude of resources available to you and you don’t have to be the one who is considering or actively harming yourself in order to get help & support.

Mens Sheds –

Hub of Hope –

MoveMENt –

Samaritans –

Bodies Under Siege –

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Tesco A-Go-Go by Matthew Cash – Book News!

Click to pre-order!

Tesco A-Go-Go is officially available to preorder! Release day is Monday 31st August 2020 and it’s only £1.99 so why not take a chance?

Here’s the blurb;

All Dave and Ian want to do is get pissed, listen to metal, and fantasise about girls way out of their league in the best rock pub in Walsall — The Trough. But when Dave accidentally incites the wrath of a Hell’s Angel-wannabe, they find themselves with bigger fish to fry. They have The Beast on their tails.Dave and Ian find it hard enough to rescue themselves let alone any damsels in distress. But that’s okay. This is The Trough, baby, where the women are Valkyries, Viking shield-maidens, and punch harder, drink heavier and talk dirtier than any of the men. In an action-packed romp that’s more Stan and Ollie than Bill and Ted (oh, and which is bombarded with bad language, alcohol abuse, masturbation, blackmail, porn, and a mobile library), this is TESCO a-go-go!

About the Author;

Matthew Cash is a loving Husband and father of two based in Walsall, England. He spends his time caring for his children, working out at the gym, and being a right old nuisance on the internet! As well as scribbling ideas on refill pads of course!

Mr Cash is also half of the dynamic duo at the head of the Burdizzo Books family, leading the way for many fledgling authors to get their books out and into the public eye. He is a dedicated supporter of literature and has dedicated works to charities on more than one occasion.

Pre-Order the book and prove it for an opportunity to win your Tesco-A-Go-Go Goodie Bag! There are 2 up for grabs!

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