I have packed almost all the books and got rid of some
I have cast a beady eye over how much unnecessary junk I'm on the verge of moving with me, and will apply some ruthlessness. A box has been marked 'charity shop' and will be filled.
I have walked one dog, medicated and cosseted the other, and tried to find out who amongst the cats is peeing in Flossie's bed. (Scooter or Lottie, I reckon; both worrying in different ways.)
I have gone to bed early and woken regularly at 4 a.m. with a head full of drama and crisis, and fears of "what will I do if things go wrong?" Worries that mount up and overwhelm. I have jittered, and wept, and babbled anxiously at everyone. Little wonder that one of the team wees in another's bed....
But this, appearing yesterday, was a lovely calming influence.
I have stuck faithfully to my healthy diet, apart from a nice lunch out with Anne, where we ate sandwiches and a large piece of fruit pie and cream, and I have lost 16 pounds - that's 32 packs of lard, you know!
But mostly I have spent hours and hours and hours online, searching, sifting, sorting, discarding, suffering motion sickness on Google street view as I whizz up and down those winding country lanes, prioritising likely properties to view, and dealing with estate agents.
Ah yes, the estate agents: they fall into two camps - the hearty (male) dishonest ones who don't tell you about the planned bypass link road and housing development that is about to be unleashed on the land across the road from the house you're arranging to view, and the cheerful friendly (female) ones who warn you about that attractive, quiet, secluded house actually backing onto a secluded but busy road.
I have a full itinerary for Monday - 3 properties to view in the morning, and another 3 late in the afternoon. All empty, having been lived in by retired elderly couples, or could be vacated very quickly by owners who are becoming less independent. All have gardens, some have views, some have er...interesting garden features. I may post pictures. Other houses will be viewed during the rest of my stay with Lizzie, after some drive-by excursions - Google street view for real.
I have changed my house hunting criteria too - these are all small, much smaller than I originally planned, but have gardens, and all will need work of some sort, cosmetic only if I'm lucky, major upheaval if I'm not, but all affordable. I have become thrifty, less ruled by my heart, scaling down but not compromising my list of essentials.
And the house I've been kept hanging on for? No longer at the top of the list - in fact, it has just about slipped off the list entirely, although the vendor hasn't been told this yet.
And, coincidentally, what has just popped up again? The house I lost last year when the dratted Dr D failed to buy my house. The house that I have never really stopped regretting, for its ample rooms, generous land, its beautiful mature copper beech, the little stream at the end, the scope to really create a garden of my own. I gave it up, but never really said goodbye to it properly.
It has had some improvements made by the person who bought it last year, and the garden has been tackled very nicely. I doubt if I could afford it now, and it's not close to the sea. Perhaps I should view it, just to close off that chapter.
And anyway, I rather relish the challenge of downsizing, of turning a tired little house in need of work and TLC into the serene haven of my dreams. A pocket-sized haven.
So I shall be flying down on Sunday, and by the end of the week will know if the dream is attainable. Watch this space!