Well, our first move, from Leicester to Munich, involved just ourselves and our red Ford Focus, which was stuffed to the seams with all of our worldly possessions (before you get impressed, we hadn't been that good at trimming down - the things we couldn't fit in to the car were stored at our parents and T's brothers...).
When we moved to Spain there was no shortage of removers taking part loads from Italy and Germany to the UK, and then the UK to the southern shore of Spain, meaning we could therefore share a part load and do it relatively cheaply.
It wasn't all smooth sailing. The removal company got held up in Hannover on the afternoon they were supposed to pick up our things.
They promised they would be with us at 7am the following morning.
They turned up at 11:30am.
We had been due to catch our flight to Spain at 11am...
Note to selves: Give yourselves a few days in-between having belongings picked up and catching flights.
It got to Munich on time and in one piece - aside from a full bottle of Bicardi which had mysteriously 'broken'...
The only issue was when the removal men walked in to the apartment on the packing day, and screeched to a halt when they saw my baby grand piano. (They had it down as being an upright piano, and a grand needs a whole different handling procedure.) But, as we had learnt our lesson before, we had booked our things to be removed a couple of days before we flew out, so the piano being collected and moved the next day was no problem.
I began asking for quotes at the back end of last year - a bit early I know, but we wanted to just get a sense of how much it would cost and so we could budget, decide how much or how little to take, etc.
Most firms I emailed got back to me with a quote no problem, their only note was that fuel prices etc may change so the price wasn't set in stone. That's fair enough.
However, I got an email back from one company, certain sentences IN CAPITAL LETTERS, others highlighted, telling me it was NOVEMBER and our move was in JUNE, and no one has a crystal ball therefore prices change and to get back in touch with them much nearer the time.
Needless to say I haven't got back in touch with them.
We don't have all that much stuff - we have been consciously getting rid of things over the past months as we suddenly realized as is our tendency to move every eighteen months or so, and trans-continent; it does get pretty expensive. Suddenly keeping a few envelopes here, a book you have no desire to read again there; it starts to add up - in all sense of the word.
We made contact with the company who had moved out things out here from Munich. They had been very good, the only broken items one mug - not bad seeing as I had packed pretty much everything myself!
T emailed the guy we had liaised with, but we got passed on to another guy, D.
It was when T was working all hours, so I took over and started dealing with D; who was very fond of putting smiley faces in his emails.
The weeks went by, often D was not in the office.
When I did get an email from him, it was always another question - a question to which, written down clearly in our original emails, he had the answer to.
So, two copies of detailed emails saying the quantity, when, from and to; and around six weeks after our first contact, I had the following email conversation with smiley-face D:
D: How much are you taking?
R: We are thinking of 6 or 7 CBM, please provide us with quotes for both the amounts.
D: They will be roughly the same price
From other quotes we have received, these two volumes are not at all around the same price!
D: So you want to ship roughly 6CBM belongings from Montreal to Sydney, and store 6CBM in Montreal for a couple of months, giving a total of 12CBM?
R: No, we want our 6CBM of belongings stored in Montreal for a couple of months and then shipped to Sydney.
A fortnight later
D: I have talked to my boss. Can you ring me please?
I rang him. He was on holiday for ten days.
I managed to get back to corresponding with the guy who handled our move out here. We kept missing each others calls, as he would ring at 6am. (To be fair I gave him our Skype number which is a UK number, so he probably didn't realise we were six hours behind Germany.)
Finally I got an email from him:
"So, can you confirm your details. You want to move from Toronto to Brisbane...??"