Last Sunday we appeared in the Sunday Times in a column called “Small Ads, Big Story”! The story of how this happened is a little random but I thought I’d best note it down here.


Elena and I have been planning this trip for about 9 months. Things had gone a little stale at work for both of us and we decided that, married for 2 years, still young and without children, we should take a leap of faith and head out and fulfil our dream to travel the world. After all, if you keep doing the same thing, chances are nothing will change right?

So, we devised a plan. When the lease on our rented house ended in September we were going to jump on a plane. That was the plan. Not much really is it? Well, you’d be surprised how much work that was…

So we started to sell off our belongings piece by piece. We couldn’t take it all with us.

At first, things moved very slowly. One book here, one table there. It was hard to bring ourselves to part with most of this stuff. We used every Free Listing weekend on eBay to list stuff (as well as our Sharpies!) and advertised on Gumtree, and after a while it got easier as we realised that most of this stuff we hadn’t used for years or hadn’t even seen since we bought it.

One such item, that we advertised on Gumtree, was a set of spring-loaded hinges. When we moved into our house in Shepherds Bush, it came with all the white goods built in, but the washing machine was battered. Elena and I bought a new washing machine from John Lewis in the sale, but had no idea that a built-in washing machine is a little different from a standalone one.

So when we got it home and put it in, we found that the panel covering the door didn’t fit the new machine. Being a man in possession of a brand new power drill, I assured Elena that this didn’t pose a problem. Surely this was a just the kind of challenge that I needed to prove my manliness to my new wife.

I went down to B&Q and bought some spring-loaded hinges. When I got back, ready to drill some holes in the front of my brand new washing machine, I realised (after opening the packet) that the front of a standalone washing machine wasn’t really built for being drilled into.

Not to be deterred, I marched back to B&Q and bought some 180 degree hinges, which I intended to drill into the side of the oven. I realised on getting home (and opening the packet of course) that I couldn’t actually do this either.

The manly image I was trying to project was rapidly starting to look rather under threat.

Of course the only thing to do was to go back to B&Q and buy some more!

And so it came to pass that all the hinges ended up for sale on Gumtree and, just by chance, the journalist who writes the column “Small Ads, Big Story”, Clare Conway, spotted the ad and got in touch!

The interview on the phone was great and Clare wrote a lovely article covering the whole plan to travel and as a result we’ve had lots of lovely new visitors here on postcards from us. It’s great to see so many people are keen to receive postcards and we’ve already been inundated with requests which we are more than happy to fulfill.


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An e-learning professional and physics teacher by trade, Andy discovered late in life that he rather likes art. He set up my REAL wall and mailart365 to make and send as much art in the post as possible but spends far too much on postal costs

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