Storm Eunice disrupted Jamie Yeo's trip, but won't stop her from moving to England
Former radio deejay Jamie Yeo's recent househunting trip to England may have been disrupted by Storm Eunice, which battered northwestern Europe last Friday (Feb 18), but the forces of nature will not deter her from making the big move there come June.
The 44-year-old host and her British risk adviser husband Rupert, 43, flew to London on their own on Feb 12 to visit his parents, who are in their 70s, and to scout for their dream home.
But Yeo's trip was full of "drama".
The couple - who got married in 2017 - were informed that her mother-in-law tested positive for Covid-19, as they were making their way to the family's bed and breakfast in the countryside town of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, an hour's drive from London.
Yeo, whose two children are aged 11 and four, admits she was "a bit stressed out" because she was afraid that she and her husband could not return to Singapore as planned should they test positive as well.
The family's last trip to London was in 2019.
She tells The Straits Times: "But we made the decision to go ahead, because we cannot keep putting off seeing them. Even if we don't catch it from her, it could have been somebody else at the airport."
Then came the failed bids for two properties Yeo and her husband were keen on in Exeter and Crowborough, in south-western and south-eastern England respectively. There is currently a massive property boom in Britain and homes are being snapped up left, right and centre.
Not only was Yeo feeling "disappointed" and "gutted" at the lost opportunities, but she also suffered her worst bout of carsickness for a couple of hours during the rainy drive from Exeter back to Tunbridge Wells.
Things continued to go downhill.
On Feb 18, the day of their pre-booked and pre-paid PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests which cost 139 pounds ($255) each for next-day results, Britain was hit with its worst storm in over 30 years. Storm Eunice, which led to winds of up to 196kmh, caused at least 17 deaths and left more than 1 million people without power at its worst.
London was shut down and issued a red weather warning.
But Yeo and her husband had to brave the elements and make their way to the local clinic to get their PCR tests done for their flight back to Singapore on Feb 20.
She says: "I was so worried that because of Storm Eunice, our swabs wouldn't be sent to the lab in time."
It was also a nightmare trying to drive back to the bed and breakfast, as five different routes were blocked by fallen trees.
She says: "Rupert even had to lift a very small tree and pull it to the side while I drove through. It was really scary, as you'll never know if something could fall on your car. We just wanted to get home safely."
There was also no electricity at the bed and breakfast - which had parts of its roof blown off - for almost two days in the dead of winter when it got as cold as 4 deg C.
A wood burner was the couple's source of heat and light and also where Yeo cooked scrambled eggs in their room, and they kept warm at night by wearing four layers of clothes.
Yeo says: "My mother-in-law was so funny, she asked me, 'Do you still want to move here?'"
The stormy experience has not changed Yeo's mind about moving to England but has instead made her "think about how to survive".
She adds: "It breeds character, because almost everywhere in the world, you have stuff like that and you've got to deal with it."
Yeo and her husband plan to keep their Singapore apartment and she will work on her jewellery line, Lula J, remotely.
She adds: "At the end of the day, Rupert has been in Singapore for 12 years and I feel he should be with his parents, who are not in the best of health. The children and I are also looking forward to the lifestyle change and having more space."