648 Moving experiences, part 11: January/February 2015

10th January 2015. I’ll do my best to keep this brief and to the point, not least because this is one of three website entries that are due to be written, as well as a report on the state of the Esperanto Library. I’ll note in passing that this bulletin completes the first year of the house move reports; I hope there won’t be too many more.

That said, the most remarkable event of this period is completely off-topic; the hospital visit of a few days ago. This was a brain scan and some other bits, a thoroughly out-of-this-world experience. The scanning was accompanied by various buzzing sounds and rhythmical thumping. The curious part was that none of this was random. At various points a bass-note buzz to the right of me was joined by another, an octave higher, to the left of me, and then, further down, another at the twelfth (1½ octaves), all of which is a musical device known as the harmonic series. At the end of each sequence the thumping was more or less at a heartbeat pace. Now I’m sure that technically it would not be beyond the wit of man to do all of this in silence, so I can only think that there is a definite purpose of measuring the reactions of the brain and nervous system to these sounds.

I have another, probably less entertaining, hospital visit during this reporting period and after that I can relax until summoned again. Perhaps surprisingly, some house-move-related work has been done. In the kitchen the under-sink cupboard now has all of its shelves and is ready to be painted. Various items, notably the blue trunk, have moved on to the Packing Area (Snuggery). This leaves the bottom of the stairs perhaps two thirds clear, and a few bits from the hallway have been cut up for firewood. No fewer than 30 audio cassettes have been copied to computer and binned. Several kilos of unwanted library items – mostly duplicate copies of periodicals – have gone for recycling. As all of these things go out it quite surprises me to see how much remains. It just goes to show that the contents of a house regularly expand to fill the space available.

Next Thursday’s (15th Jan) hospital visit should be straightforward and not spill over onto other days; the rest of the reporting period will be four housework days, three library days, three days off, and two each of Office and Showroom.

25th January 2015. It is, I suppose, time to take stock of the first year of the house move. At the start of all this I didn’t imagine it could take so long, but then I set a new target of Spring 2015, and now even this seems optimistic. The plan was to offer the house for sale at the beginning of February, but I cannot do this until I have the verdict from the doctors. The revised plan is now to spend February getting the house smart and tidy to the exclusion of almost everything else, and then to make a first visit to the Estate Agent (to make contact and to request a valuation) on Tuesday 3rd March.

I am nearing the end of what I can do to get Esperanto Library materials out of the house. All of the books for cataloguing are gone. The items waiting to be priced for second-hand sale are down to four boxes. Before long I shall start packing the items already on offer, which will probably have to go with me to Letchworth. There are still 27 boxes of “orphan” periodicals (single issues, incomplete sets) which need to be sorted into wanted and unwanted.

In the lounge, more or less everything that has to go out has gone; I may yet discard a very old computer and a big, heavy television, and replace them with the modern variety when I get to Letchworth. The piano awaits a decision.

I have nearly finished clearing the desk in the Snuggery. I’ll have to decide how sentimental I can be about this; it’s big and heavy and probably not needed, but on the other hand it was hand-made for me by my father and has been following me around for 50 years now. Alternatively I might keep it and ditch the unattractive home-assembly desk in Bedroom 2.

There’s a similar dilemma in Bedrooms 1, 3 and 4. There’s a nice old-style chest of drawers in Bedroom 1 but it’s too small for my needs. Also, that one and the larger one in Bedroom 4 are heavy and clumsy and the drawers are difficult to open. By contrast, the chest in Bedroom 3 is big enough for all my needs and more, but it’s a horrible assemblage of veneered chipboard.

On reflection, most of what I have – furniture, computers, other equipment – is old and heavy and a massive turn-out and replacement might be a good idea; but while the house is in Showroom mode I can’t have it looking uninhabited.

Items packed and ready to go, in the Snuggery and a few still at the bottom of the stairs, include the trunk, 6 suitcases and 28 boxes. Recent activities, apart from the hospital visit (a series of proddings, pokings and electric shocks) include improving my computer desk chair (more padding) and breaking up another unwanted chair; a very full bin of rubbish went out a few days ago. I’ve slightly changed the work schedule, with more housework days and fewer library days. As a result the next two weeks will see (apparently) no hospital visit, four housework days, three library days and three days off, two each of Office and Showroom, and a Music Day. This looks the same as last time, but differences will become evident.

I can’t end without mentioning that in this reporting period 50 – yes, fifty – audio cassettes have gone in the bin. Is this a record? No; it’s tapes!

9th February 2015. In these two weeks the kettle has broken down, the nice little Winnie the Pooh clock stopped working, my internet connection was down for a week, and I nearly ran out of groceries; also the weather was unusually cold. I have dealt with all but the clock and the weather; I haven’t yet seen a suitable replacement for the clock (I’ve only seen Disney ones so far) and the weather will still be cold for a few more days.
In spite of all this the House Move work has continued; especially in the matter of Esperanto Library items. Three boxes of books and periodicals are ready to go on their way, and I have the makings of at least two more. The rest will become apparent during the guided tour of the house.
The first thing you will see is that there are now, at last, no obstructions, objects, books, firewood or anything else in the hallway. The remainder of the future firewood is now at the foot of the stairs along with a couple of boxes of packed items (soon to go to the Snuggery) as well as two for Barlaston.
The packing room (Snuggery) looks untidy but there is a system to it. All the empty boxes are now in there along with the full ones; but the big news is that there is now nothing at all in the drawers of the desk, which took two whole days to achieve, and on the desk just two boxes of library duplicates waiting to be priced. I shall soon be able to move it and check the condition of the wall. I’ve also made a good start on reducing the boxes of unwanted duplicate periodicals on the floor.
Other than the arrival of the kettle and departure of the clock nothing much has happened in the kitchen and lounge, though I have now packed all but one volume of my piano music scores. The one that remains contains some pieces of my own which I plan to put on line, probably on this website, with the help of the excellent Noteworthy Composer software.
Bedroom 1 has seen the departure of a few dozen books. All of the audio cassettes – originally about 200 – are now gone from Bedroom 2 and I’ve made a start on dismantling the unwanted bed. Bedroom 3 and the bathroom are as was; but Bedroom 4 is now something like three quarters empty. What remains is about ten boxes of incomplete Esperanto periodicals (also reducing), an unwanted chest of drawers, and various junk, such as some shelving and other bits of wood that I never got round to using.
The two sets of junk (Bedroom 4 and bottom of stairs), along with the unwanted furniture, would make a good supply of firewood, but by the time I cut them up Spring will probably be with us; and I don’t want to spend another winter here (I’d never hear the last of it).
This evening I braved the cold to put 40 audio cassettes into an already fairly full bin. The next couple of weeks may well bring another hospital visit; if not, there will be 4 housework days, 3 Showroom days, 3 days off, two each of Office and Library, and a Music Day. Close comparison with last time will reveal that the new schedule has turned one of the Library days into a Showroom day. That’s the way to get things done! (or not, as the case may be)

24th February 2015. Medical drama comes to Bedfield. On the Monday before last (16th) I and my neighbour and a friend of his were working in the garden, tidying a hedge, when I tripped over and broke a very small bone in my right ankle. The result of this was several days in Ipswich Hospital.
This was a very interesting experience as I had never been admitted to hospital before. Life on the ward was like a dream world, very tranquil, even soporific, yet never boring. Having gone there in a rush I didn’t have a book or even so much as a crossword with me, yet I was perfectly contented and in no hurry to leave; thoughts came to mind of Major Tom drifting away in his spaceship.
Nonetheless once I was thoroughly plastered (in the medical sense) it was time to go home. Frequent visits by the County Council’s Home Care Service ensued and, these being for recently discharged patients, ended yesterday. Tomorrow, in a commendably smooth transition, the baton passes on to AgeUK.
Today’s hiatus is very welcome; for the first time in seven days I have 24 hours on my own to do what I choose when I choose, without being on hand to greet and meet the genuinely helpful people sent to me by the County Council. Tomorrow will also be the first day in a week when I haven’t had to wake up at seven o’clock. Getting off to an early start may be a fine thing, but feeling you’ve already done a day’s work when it’s only lunchtime is not so good, particularly for someone who rarely gets to sleep before 1.00 a.m. Being sick or injured alone at home is very hard work.
Another dramatic turn of events, possibly linked to the above, concerns the house move. My two daughters have taken the initiative here. On Saturday they will arrive for some forward planning, and so will valuers from two Estate Agents, one from Stowmarket, the other the local firm in Framlingham. After this I will know roughly how much the present house is worth and how much I can reasonably spend on the next one. I’ll need my leg out of plaster before I can start on my own househunting, of course. Travelling to and from the hospital today I noticed a good number of “For Sale” signs, which, given the current national housing shortage, is surely a good thing.
Meanwhile, before, during and after the medical drama, routine work has gone on. As I can do no heavy lifting I now have 5½ parcels ready for the Esperanto Centre, which is frustrating. It would be good to get some housework going, especially as people may soon be wanting to look at the house, but this is mostly two-handed work and at present I need at least one hand to hold on to the walking frame. So people will have to take the house as they find it.
In the packing room (Snuggery) I had previously moved the desk forward and found that the east wall needs rather more patching up than I had hoped. This may still be worth doing, if time permits, as patches that I’ve done elsewhere have remained encouragingly sound and dry. In the library department I have continued clearing out unwanted periodicals and in the kitchen there is now a huge pile of paper awaiting recycling.
One small gain from being able to set my own timetable is that despite the late hour (22.53) I have just put 40 audio cassettes into an otherwise empty rubbish bin. The negative side is that I now have no excuse for not washing up before I go to bed. The schedule for the next 15 days doesn’t make much sense while things are so changeable, so instead of that let’s return to the tranquility of the hospital. If your German isn’t too good, you may need the translation that appears here:
<http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=14001>.
If you’re sure of yourself or you already know the music, or if French subtitles will do, head straight for YouTube, but try to just listen to the music without seeing the performers:
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11mfvRIKgUA>.

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