After a week of much stress and 7 calls by me to HSBC I was told on the last call about 2:30pm that it still wasn't sorted but that yet another person was looking at it as a priority and they would let me and my solicitor know. I almost despaired: the vendor had a place lined up provided she could exchange *today*, so she could go sign the contract and pick up the keys. 5 minutes later my solicitor calls, and after him getting rather cross at them over the phone earlier in the day they have now faxed him the go ahead. In fact they had probably already faxed him at the point in time where I was on the phone trying to find out what was going on.
We exchange. Completion date is the 23rd, same as it always was. I ring my removal firm and they can still do the packing on the 23rd and the move on the 24th as originally planned. I'm am a) delighted b) completely gobsmacked. It just seems so surreal to have all this stress for a whole week and still end up exactly where we were supposed to be in the first place.
We will shortly be going to the pub, but first I'm going to crack open the tiny bottle of bubbly in the fridge and phone my mum.
And they still haven't called me back.