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Tidy view on stress of moving house

AS someone in the throes of trying to move house, I found the story of Petra Mills made for rather alarming reading.

Mills was this week fined for racial abuse after a domestic dispute with her husband led to the police arriving on her doorstep.

Ms Mills spotted a neighbour giving a statement to police and lashed out, calling her a "fat Aussie" (for the record, the woman was a New Zealander). The original row had been the result, her lawyer explained, of extreme stress caused by an impending house move. Seriously, how bad is this moving lark going to get?

Ever since we put our house on the market we have been existing in a state of heightened anxiety and perpetual cleaning. Life is now punctuated by calls from the estate agent announcing the imminent arrival of a prospective buyer which inevitably triggers a military-style clean up. We morph into whirling dervishes as we move around the house in a blur – polishing everything in our path and randomly stuffing stray items into the nearest drawer.

Meal choices have become restricted, based on the likelihood of said meal creating a lingering aroma. Curries, fish and anything involving more than 25 minutes in the oven are strictly off the menu. Salad, perhaps an odd choice in November, is a current favourite.

The poor dog's life has been turned upside down. He is now forced to wear socks indoors and every few days is bundled in the car, along with his bed, the overflowing laundry basket and that unwieldy vacuum cleaner which has never quite fitted in the hall cupboard, and driven aimlessly around the neighbourhood for the duration of each viewing. And this is before any of the legal shenanigans kick in. Suddenly, staying put in our pristine home seems like a very attractive option.

When is a holiday romance, not a holiday romance? When only one person is aware of it. Cue the strange tale of the smitten Turkish man Ramazan Noyan Culum who set off on a 2500-mile, eight-month voyage to England in his tiny boat to find his true love. The object of his affection was an English woman who had been working as a waitress in Cyprus seven years ago and served him once.

It's the stuff of Mills & Boon, only this modern love story was missing an essential component – the fair maiden's knowledge. The lady in question had no recollection of meeting Mr Culum and is now happily married. Mr Culum, on the other hand, is now languishing in an immigration office on the south coast after being picked up by the Border Agency in the English Channel. We all know the first flush of romance is largely based on delusion, but the key difference in a promising relationship is that the delusion is mutual.

If like me, you have ever tried to hold your breath for the duration of a fellow commuter's sneezing fit or despaired at the splatter circle of an unguarded cough, it's time to breathe easy. An extensive new study reveals that travelling by public transport does not increase the chance of catching flu – but having children does, by 14%. Researchers are now trying to establish if having a pet offers increased protection and whether man flu is real or imagined. Should make for interesting reading.

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