Once we had decided we were emigrating to Fuerteventura, one of the next questions was, “what do we take with us?”. Not only was the home we were leaving stuffed full of items, it had a huge farm barn, a porta-cabin, garage and kennels, all of which had stuff in. We’re big on hoarding and, while we had some lovely things, we had a lot of absolute rubbish! We had to have the mentaility that if we could not immediately think of a reason to keep it, it would have to go; no more thinking, “it might come in handy”, it went! We were down-sizing to a smaller property and had to be ruthless.
We started sorting and packing in January 2016. Well, I say we but that is the ‘royal we’ as, being disabled, I was pretty much useless and Ian did the all the heavy work, while I sat and directed him! A lot of stuff was simply thrown out or given to the Greyhound rescue charity in the village, while some items were good enough to sell. But we still had a lot of items that we (or I!) couldn’t bear to part with. All my lovely books for a start! I love books and whilst I did get rid of a lot, there were still plenty of boxes that I couldn’t let go of. There were a couple of bits of furniture that I really love, the dining table, chairs and wall unit, and a dressing table that I wanted to take if we could.
So our first thoughts were to have a part load for all our memorabilia, a few bits of furniture and of course our computers and photography equipment. Looking around for a shipper, the vast majority of people recommended a company called Woodside Carge, who are based in Fuerteventura. We had quotes from them for both a part load, estimating the absolute minimum square footage of our items, and also a full 20sq.ft. container. The difference in cost meant that it would be far cheaper to have a full container and to take most of our furniture, rather than buy new in Fuerteventura.
Nearer to the final day, we had a few other companies quote. One had a local branch and they sent a rep round to see how much we were taking before quoting. They told us that we had too much for a container, so we had to decide what to leave behind. They were far too expensive and we immediately dismissed their quote. In the end we decided to go with Woodside Cargo, mainly due to the number of people who were recommending them.
One thing though, Woodside’s original quote was for dropping the container at our place for just 3 hours and we were supposed to load it. We were also supposed to unload it at the new property, albeit we had longer to do it there. This was out of the question for us, there was no way we could load all our items into the container, let alone in 3 hours! So Woodside organised another company to load the container, and they would unload it in Fuerteventura.
Finally the 21st February came, when our furniture had to go! The couple purchasing our property said we could leave anything we didn’t want or couldn’t fit into the container, which was great for us. The removal company that Woodside had organised to load our items into the container was Simon Longs, and I must say they were absolutely fantastic. We actually felt that it was a great shame we didn’t know about them before, as we would definitely had a quote from them, although I have a feeling they would probably be more expensive than Woodside Cargo, but, in hindsight, think it may well have been worth it.
We didn’t know what to expect, and to be honest I thought that they would bring the container, plonk it on our drive, load it and take it away. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Now, we had heard something about ‘export packing’ but we didn’t really know what it entailed, and took it from Woodside Cargo (and the company that came round to quote) that it wasn’t really necessary for everything, and that the removal company would bring blankets to cover and protect our furniture. WRONG! The removal chap said that everything should be export wrapped in order to protect it whilst on the seas. He said that they had enough packing material in order to do it, but their office may charge us extra for doing it. Did I mention that the removal men were fantastic? Well they were!
We were expecting the removers to arrive at 10am, but they turned up at 9am, and it was a good job that they did as well! However, they turned up in a small removal van, and I went into a panic, thinking that our stuff would NEVER all fit into that! However, they explained that they have to first load our items into their van, and then they take the van to the container. At the time I didn’t understand this, but all was revealed when the container arrived!
Their expertise meant that they managed to securely wrap all our furniture in a heavy duty padded brown wrapper within an hour!
The container duly arrived just a little late, and after a difficult phone call trying to give him directions. It was difficult because he couldn’t speak English very well and I couldn’t understand his accent, which sounded something like Polish! Anyway, he arrived but was unable to get onto our drive so parked on the road. Our home was rural and on a single track road, with nearest neighbour half a mile away. But there is never much traffic, and I think only a couple of vehicles had to turn round, while a tractor managed to get past by simply going onto the fields.
It then became clear why they had to first load our items into their van, as the container remained on the trailer! So they simply backed their van up to the trailer and transferred everything straight into the container. Once they had loaded everything, they asked if we wanted anything else taking as there was still plenty of room! So we decided to take a couple of extra items.
They were very quick and had finished in less than 2 hours, well within the allotted 3 hour time limit for the container.
The container would be stored (presumably at the ship yard) until leaving on Friday and, as we didn’t have a property in Fuerteventura, once arriving it would go into storage with Woodside Cargo.
We had been told by Woodside Cargo that we HAD to get the paperwork to them by Wednesday 1st March; no ifs or buts, it had to be with them by this day. Well it turned out that we simply were unable to do this, so a friend spoke to Woodside and asked what would happen if we didn’t get the paperwork there on time, and was told that we would incur charges from the customs of about €20 a day, which is about the same cost as they were going to charge us for storage! So we could stop panicking!
We managed to get all the required paperwork to Woodside Cargo on 3rd March, and on the 6th March they informed us that Customs were just clearing our container, and it was finally delivered to them on 8th March!
After completing on our house purchase on 14th March, Woodside Cargo delivered a small van load that afternoon, and the rest was delivered the next morning.
We still have a few boxes left to unpack, but we have managed to squeeze most of our items in our new home, and are finally starting to settle down!