Friday, 27 July 2012

From there to here

This will be a sort of diary.

Almost finished packing books. We have too many books. As I have packed I have put them into categories – on bookshelves upstairs, on bookshelves downstairs, to be stored on shelves in the garage and to be kept but we don't need to have access at the moment AND deciding which books are still in good condition but we know we shall never read again. These last have ended up in the hall at the bottom of the stairs because we have arranged for a van from the Children's Hospice to call and collect what we can no longer keep. Hopefully it will help: there is something so heart-rending about those two words – children's hospice.

Meanwhile Marcia has been looking through our clothes and at the various bits and pieces in the place. We seem to have accumulated so many clothes and so much 'stuff'. Being a big house, when someone gives us something we have had no problem in finding it a home. That will not be the case. Lots will have to go and again we want most of it to end up in the hospice.

Turning my attention to our studies. In some ways they are even worse. After a while I realise that all I am doing is moving things from one pace to another simply because my mind refuses to take any more decisions. Time for another break.

Today there is a service in the village church it being the Patronal Festival (St Germanus – there are six of them to choose from: the one to which this church is supposed to be dedicated is the bishop of Auxerre (378-448) founder of the Carolingian abbey of Saint-Germain en Auxerre. Marcia attended so as to bid farewell to all the folks. This wasn't until late in the afternoon and by then I was so tired that I decided to take a break and actually fell fast asleep in my chair only to wake when she arrived.

At least that gave me a second wind but my energies went into write one of the two political blogs which are posted onto the web on Mondays.

The van from the hospice is due some time during the afternoon so the morning was spent in trying to decide what 'stuff' would be worth them trying to sell and also what furniture they could have. There is a very good reclining chair that my father bought shortly before he died. It is in very good condition but there just won't be room for it at the other end. Unfortunately the label saying is complies with fire regulations has come adrift with the result that the hospice is not allowed to take it. You would have thought there was a mechanism for reinspecting such pieces of furniture but there isn't so this will end up on the tip. It is such a waste.

Finished with the stuff for the hospice so back to the study. Tension is fairly high now as the removal men are due to be here early on Tuesday and I seem to have so much to do. Eventually, but not quite before I had finished, I ran out of boxes so the rest will have to be left until tomorrow and it will be up to the removal men. At least they are always very good at sorting through a shambles. Just as well. Mind you, we know what we have to do tomorrow: provide endless cups of tea and coffee and keep everyone's sugar levels up by feeding them with lots of biscuits and chocolate cake.

Woke in our new home after and incredible day yesterday. We have known Mark Carter for something in the order of twenty-four years when he started a 'man and van' business working evenings and week-ends. Then he took the plunge and gave up the day job in order to create a removal firm that specialised in removals that involved narrow, twisting lanes, difficult entrances and all the other problems that we experience in rural areas. Today he runs five or six vehicles of various sizes the largest being still small by removal standards for obvious reasons. He know trades as South Hams Removal (not surprisingly is the web site) and has built up a truly formidable reputation in this part of the world.

Mark did quite a few small jobs for us when we lived in the South Hams before moving to the north of Dartmoor eleven years ago – and yes, he moved us then – so obviously there was no question as to who it would be this time round.

Four vans and eight men arrived at about a quarter to nine and started packing. At eight-thirty in the evening we said good-bye to the last pair. The day had been extremely hot and they had all worked so hard and so willingly that they took most of the stress out of the whole thing. I left about lunchtime and arrive here just before the first van arrived. Marcia stayed behind so that she and the wonderful Jean (who has been mucking us out every week) cleaned the house through. Because this is a serious downsize, we only need about a third of the furniture so the rest is staying put until we have sold the property. By the time Marcia arrived here, I had been able to get the kitchen, the sitting room and our bedroom reasonably straight but even so it was nearly midnight before we fell into bed.

Quite a lot of stuff had been dumped in the garage – including most of my study furniture – and there was one more load to be fetched being the stuff in the garden.

So a couple of Mark's chaps arrived here quite early this morning, moved in the study furniture and then dashed off to get that final load while Marcia finished off in the kitchen and the bedroom and I sorted my study. To my horror the telephone connection and broadband which we had so carefully ordered wasn't working. Everything should have been working and so it looked as though there was a problem with the wiring in the house. There was nothing we could do (and we both have mobile telephones so we weren't completely out of touch) except arrange for someone to call around tomorrow.

In the middle of the morning, the first visitor arrived – bearing flowers. She and her sister-in-law used to live just around the corner from us so we have known Christine for over twenty years. It was lovely to see her again (sadly her s-i-s died some years ago) and to know that once again we shall be living in the same village. It was now that we realised that we had left all the vases when we moved.

Since neither of us wanted to cook, we went down the road and had lunch in the pub – a great treat since we have been living where the nearest place to eat was over five miles away.

One tiny problem is that there is only space for one car outside so one of them has to go into the garage – and the garage was where all the boxes of books had been stacked. At the moment my car is down in the car park – which is fine but I would not want to leave it there for too long. So today we have been busy unpacking books – and sorting out the telephone/broadband problem.

It seems that at some time there were two lines into this property although one one had been in use for the last five years or so. The telephone company had disconnected the line pending further instructions and then reconnected it – but to the one that had been out of use. The results was none of the sockets in the house were working. It took nearly two hours to work out what had happened and then ten minutes to put it right.

While the electrician was here, another friend arrived – also bearing flowers. Jill cleaned for us all those years ago but she and Marcia have kept in close touch and Marcia has become a surrogate aunt to Jill's two daughters. The kettle had just boiled when the postman delivered yet another huge bunch of flowers – sent by Marcia's editor at Transworld. We were trying to decide what to do with them all when the local florist's van drove up the lane with even more. It really was a serious mistake to forget the vases.

By now it was lunchtime and (this really must not become a habit) it was over to the pub again.

Mid-afternoon and the chap from the IT company down the road called to get the broadband running. At four forty-five everything was working properly – and just over seventy emails arrived. We had been hard at it all day and decided to ignore them until the morning and so, after a nice long soak in the bath, to bed.

A rather late and leisurely breakfast followed by a session sorting emails and now writing this and hoping to post it before Nancy arrives for lunch (not at the pub this time). I wonder who else will pop in? It really is quite a shock having lived where you saw nobody for days at a time.

Basic decision: we are not doing any more unpacking or sorting things our until Monday. All that is left is the spare bedroom (which is where we dumped all sorts of bits and pieces) and the boxes of books in the garage (all neatly stacked to one side out of the way). Both can wait.

Sorry there are no photos this week but I am sure you will understand why.