Sunday 27 March 2016

Still moving...

When you last heard from me I’d just moved in. And when I say I’d just moved in I meant me, some clothes for a few days and the food cupboard. Priorities darling.

I was also about to try the shower for the first time before pulling on my walking shoes and walking the now-one-mile-less-than-it-was-trip-to-the-office. Nominally the whole shower experience was good… Temperature? Good though old fashioned two-twirly mixing rather than thermostat controlled just set the pressure. But I can live with that. Speed of hot water? Good as the boiler is all of eight foot away. This does mean a problem with my morning routine of doing a hard skin scrub whilst I wait for the hot water to come through but I’ve adjusted to that and scrub first before starting with the water. Shower screen? Adequate. Barely. I mean seriously I now have my red bathmat from the old apartment, plus the mat that had been provided and I reckon I need, ooooooh, five or six more. Maybe a little less water pressure. Still, it did the job and I could dress feeling remarkably perky given I’d been up since stupid o’clock writing a blog post.

As you do.

You might also recall I had issues with how high the bed is. Now my legs aren’t exactly short, put it this way when doing the washing I used to work out who’s tights were who’s by measuring them against my leg. If they went to my knee they were Clare’s, if not, they were mine. But this bed, in the absence of a step ladder was a problem. It’s one thing clambering up with Monty chortling in the background, but the real problem comes the next day when I had to dress again. I did briefly consider whether I needed to dress in the living room where there are at least chairs to sit on but realised that what I really needed was my dressing chair!

Ah my chair, I’m sure it’s been written about before but I can’t find where. There is a picture somewhere of my sitting on it half way down Bow Common Lane as I unexpectedly met Clare as I carried the chair home. It’s a bit shabby, a Rococo Louis XV chair with the original plaster moulding and - I suspect - the original fabric. But I adore it. Needless to say if I did nothing else on Monday evening I would be bringing that chair to the new place to make dressing easier. And I could use it as a stepping stone for getting on the bed…

Tuesday. It started bright and sunny, I mean proper bright and sunny, the sort that had me scampering like a demented hamster to look at the sun dancing on the surface of the water in the marina. Today would be a no move day as I had my friend Stef coming over for the tiniest house warming *ever* and for me to see if I actually could manage to cook in this very different kitchen. Especially considering I had no idea where anything was nor what setting stop use on the alien hob and oven. So I marched off once more for another gentle now-5.75-mile-march to the office enjoying the fact that it was actually sunny again. One weird thing though and actually something that occurred to me in the latter days of walking from the old place, I would never again walk *through* Limehouse Basin en route to the office, this is a huge pity as it was always lovely to turn out of Limehouse Cut and see the marina opening before you. On the plus side it’s now a matter of a couple of minutes before I’m walking down the Thames so not all bad.

Anyway. Cooking wasn’t as smooth as usual, lots of little things, the layout, odd things being in places they shouldn’t be and of course not having familiar friends to hand in the shape of pans and whatnot, but this I could all deal with. As I was cooking I learned the sad and shocking news from Ash that a mutual friend - one who we had discussed over dinner in Versailles - had died. I was sad. The conversation that we’d had which left me looking forward to catching up with another old friend was built on shifting sands and - sadly - it would never come to fruition.

Still it was nice to have had my first visitor.

On the Wednesday morning I work bright and early. I’m irritating like that. My intention had been to walk to work again but I was still slightly scratchy from the previous evening’s news and this - coupled with a discovery of grease that had nothing to do with me - led directly to me cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom, wherever you are you would have heard me squealing something about “dirty people cooties” as I attacked the kitchen with whatever chemical warfare I found under the sink. I also rearranged, moved the concrete block - or granite cutting board as some call it - to one side so it wouldn’t keep BEING IN THE BLOODY WAY. After much shifting, rearranging and generally cleaning it all felt, well, better. This was good but also meant I was now epically late.

Or so I thought.

It turns out that even though the Central Line was broken owing to somebody having tripped over the power lead or something, I could still get to work in about 40 minutes without even trying hard. Well that was good. On my return that evening it was a case of quick change, jump in the Contrary Clio and back to pick up more things. I felt that clothes might be a good idea, I hadn’t really given myself a full wardrobe so the plan was simple, empty my kicker drawer, grab tops and pack all skirts. Everything else could wait.

This all takes a surprising amount of time to do, whilst you can grab whole armfuls of a drawers contents in one swoop and dump in a black bag, things on hangers have to be removed from hangers. And if you are one of those people tempted to now tell me they just put their wardrobes on to the hangers provided by the movers and they did it all then you can… 


I have my reasons for wanting to do the move my way, I couldn’t give a monkey’s what’sit about how cool your approach is, my way. My way. Okay? Got that? Jolly good.

So home by 6:15, finished at ye olde CT by maybe 8:45, in bed by midnight. But at least my skirts were ordered by length. Errrrr. I should be worried. It was now Wednesday and I’d not done anything like as much as I should have done. Work really was getting in the way.

So the very next morning…

I got up, chose luxuriously from the massively expanded range of clothing, pulled on a pair of heels and marched to the DLR, after the inevitable tea, toast and t’fruit. Sorry. It turned out that from the moment I left the apart until when I was actually sitting *on* the DLR a massive two minutes and forty-three point five one had elapsed. 2:43.51. In heels. 

It was a busy though productive day. I’ll not bore you with details but my work discovery the day before was reaping benefits and I was happily clearing things out of my job list like some manic job list clearing monster. It was good. The downside was the lack of sleep and late evenings caused by moving were catching up. When I closed the last issue in the early afternoon a headache swept in like a mistral of malcontent and made things decidedly uncomfortable. I couldn’t just leave though, I was waiting for a third party contractor to call me back to tell me what he could see at one of our remote monitoring sites and wait I did. The moment I heard from him and agreed a course of action I was, as they say, out of there.

It was 4:30pm.

I was home before 5pm.

Before 5pm.

Shall I say that again? No, I won’t, it will become tedious. From the moment I left my desk to the moment I walked in to the new apartment less than 30 minutes had elapsed. For someone living and working in Central London this is a revelation. However, I was expecting some help with the move that night and I took the opportunity to nap whilst I waited to hear when my friend would turn up. I woke some time later to see that… I had no messages. Hmm. I was beginning to suspect that this wasn’t going to happen which on the face of it given my headache was a good thing it did leave me slightly (!) irritated. If I say I will do something I do it. And this was a clear having said someone would do something.

Fortunately when I woke on Friday morning the worst of the headache had abated and I could pig out on a full breakfast and begin the big push to move… It was also the first proper breakfast I’d done in the new place and whilst I’m still trying to comprehend the hob controls I did ensure that the bacon and sausage were cooked and that the egg yolk was runny. Which has to be good, yes?
The day though. Went on and on and on. It was something like this, fill box, fill more boxes, fill anything that can be filled, when out of things to fill take to car, fill car. drive car, empty car… and then it becomes, err, interesting. For the definition of interesting look in your dictionary under pain-in-the-arse.

Actually, that’s wrong. It starts becoming interesting from the moment you leave… Keep in mind I have a heavy load on a four wheeled trolley. The door to the apartment opens inwards, struggle the trolley through, turn right, kick the next door open and push the trolley quickly to stop the door closer closing things, to the next door, this opens towards me to, lean, grab handle, pull and use knee to move the laden trolley through. Next door, inwards, I think, so pull knee and go, finally outwards, kick and push quickly trying not to catch your hand on the door. The the lift. Oh joy. You see there is a gap, it’s small and we don’t notice but small wheeled trolleys do. This means load the trolley with kinetic energy so the momentum overcomes any resistance of the gap. Press button, rearrange yourself in the lift and be ready to… Force the whole thing out again. Then stop, release the entrance to the garage which is on a closer designed to task Hercules and using one hand to keep it open use the opposite leg to force the trolley through before avoiding even lump and hollow in the car park as these act as perfect brakes for the small wheeled one.

The there is loading. A Clio. It turns out they will take three 405mm boxes across the bit where the back seat was, two crates and another two boxes on top. Alternatively you can get a 2.1m tall bookcase, stripped down, a rug, the shelving bits and another box. Or you could put in several under bed storage boxes and a large and very solid bedside cabinet.

All in a Clio.

Renault, if you are reading this, fire your marketing department and hire Contrary Towers as we will show the world what your amazing little car can actually do: span continents, keep people safe, do entire moves and still have enthusiasm to nip to Asda for a bottle of Daddies Sauce. And we wouldn’t do that whole Papa-Nicole thing. Probably.

I digress.

So at the other end it becomes a bit like the puzzle of how to get a chicken and a fox across the stream. I don’t think I have it quite right yet. I would unload the car and place everything by the exit gate. I’d then release the gate and wait forever for it to open before quickly scurrying back and forth to get all inside to the outside. Then I’d scurry the 20ft from the garage to the front door once again shuttling everything until the pile outside the garage was outside the door. Once done I’d choose something to hold the door, release the catch, jam the door and then quickly carry everything in up several steps and then a pair of steps before abandoning things by the mailboxes turning around and doing it again. Over and over and over again. Once in place I’d call the lift, jam the door, load the lift and finally press the button for my floor before quickly unloading the lift again. Finally, now bright red with the effort and feeling decidedly warm I’d either load everything on a trolley or carry it to my door and in to the apartment before finally collapsing like only an overweight middle-aged woman who’s moving house on her own can actually do.

It was *very* tiring.

But you know what was at least as bad? Getting the empty boxes back to the car. When full they behave themselves and can be stacked. But empty? Impish little bastards determined to drive me to tears as they go everywhere but where you want them.

Nobody ever talks about that.

And nobody talks about the bruises either. I am covered with them and if I ever meet whoever invented automatic door closers I will put his head in the door and repeatedly let it close. I say he because only a man could come up with such a frustrating device…

By about 6pm I’d done four trips and had quite enough. It was time for wine, dirty chicken, chocolate and ice cream. As I sat surrounded by boxes and piles of books I did wonder whether I would ever manage to finish this and whether I really was quite insane. Not that this made any difference, I still had stuff to move.

Saturday was going to be a short day, it was Stef’s birthday and I decided I needed to pick a finishing time a few hours before we were all due to go out as I needed to try and make myself slightly more presentable as by now I was in a right state. But first a few trips back and forth to help build an appetite. Productivity was low as I hit a rich seam of memories from 2011-12 but I did at least manage to round up the last of the downstairs books and dismantle/move the last major bookcase.

Before I knew it I was in to get-home-and-get-clean time. So I did. Of course things didn’t go to plan. Firstly my hair decided not to cooperate and then… remember that this place was more furnished than expected? Well there is an iron. A no leak iron. Which also avoids limescale.

Which is why my red dress is now back in the wash as the bastard iron bastard leaked and bastard left bastard limescale over the most obvious bastard places. Bastard. I was not pleased. Fortunately I had a black dress to hand and it would have to do.

I wanted to wear red!

That stunning logic aside I was amazingly ready thirty minutes before the taxi I’d booked would arrive - I wasn’t taking risks and I also wasn’t going to fanny around with the underground - so… I had a glass of wine. This was a good move as I felt better, looked vaguely presentable and was just ready to spend and evening having a giggle without stressing about THE BLOODY MOVE.

And breathe.

So in to the taxi I went, trotted off to collect the birthday girl before swinging West to Smithfield for a pre-dinner drink as the prep team were decorating the table at the restaurant. Originally were were going someone else until the brains of the bunch, we’ll call her Mazza, checked and find said pub was shut at a weekend. For those of you not used to the weirdness of the City of London this is a normal thin. Instead we went to the Old Red Cow and made free with the facilities whilst the kindly bar staff took pity on us and exchanged bits of plastic for bottles of wine.
Quite a clever system.

Finally we left for the Grill on the Market which was a shame as we’d promised Stef we’d go to McDonalds. I hope she wasn’t too disappointed. The food was good. The company brilliant and the staff didn’t object to when I kicked my shoes off to climb on the chair so I could tie the balloons on to the lamp properly.
As one does.

Eventually though the evening had to grind to a screeching halt so we decamped to a pub for the last bit of the evening. Here the younger members of the party continued on the wine whilst those of
us who’ve learned to say when we stop and sod the lot of you switched to soft drinks. You can actually have too much of a good thing. Who knew?

The good news was that for the first time in four years I gave my address and the driver knew exactly where we needed to go. In fact he stopped literally six steps from the building door. I liked this very much.

I sat for a while thinking, which I know I shouldn’t do, and finally stripped before collapsing in to bed ignoring the ever growing bruise collection.

Which brings me to today.

Rather inevitably my batteries have run out but I did manage to move a couple of loads before I gave up. I’ve also managed to get the place looking reasonably homely though there is still much to do, even my bedroom is now feeling lived in and tending towards being my boudoir. Tomorrow though is another day and I have the promise of help and the knowledge that the majority have things have been moved, now I need to be motivated and having someone else there will help keep me going.

But oh what I would do for a day off…

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