Furnished, unfurnished or shell. Those are the options if you are renting a property in the Netherlands. We took the shell option. Not surprisingly, it’s cheaper than the others but that’s because it really is a shell. There are no light fittings – just wires poking down from the ceilings. The floors are bare concrete – upstairs as well as downstairs. This means that DIY Dave has been spending a lot of time up stepladders connecting the lights with his trusty mains tester (no, Dot, it’s not a screwdriver and you can’t borrow it to prise open a paint tin…). The big bonus with our particular shell is that Mr Landlord had fitted a shiny new kitchen and bathroom before we moved in. Nice! The weird thing is that when you leave you have to return the house to shell status: remove all light fittings, make sure all the walls are painted white and lift all the floor coverings. Anyway, we love the shell. It’s big and has huge Dutch windows and this week we have had lots of sunshine in our south-facing back garden. DIY Dave has become a fan of Ikea instruction manuals and is very proficient with a rechargeable screwdriver. (He has also burnt out his electric drill, but we won’t dwell on that!). I have been altering and hanging curtains, unpacking boxes and generally settling into shell life. The town we have moved to is called Nieuw Vennep and is about 23km from Amsterdam. David has become a commuter this week – for the first time in his working life! The journey into Amsterdam takes about 25 minutes by car (not in rush hour) or 50 minutes by bus and train. Public transport is excellent here so you don’t usually have any long waits. It is lovely to be settled into our own place and within a day or two we will be ready for visitors – just don’t all come at once or the shell might crack!