648 Moving experiences, part 6: May 2014

6th May 2014. You may wonder why I am doing so many things that have nothing to do with a house move. The answer is that there is more to this than just swapping one house for another. After all, nobody needs four months to get ready for putting a house on the market. So let me take you back some fifty years in time. Bear with me, and you will see the relevance.
Montagu Butler, after whom the Esperanto library is named, maintained the library in his home for upwards of 30 years. Then the local Council compulsorily purchased the house for a redevelopment scheme, and, being by that time a widower with no young children, he received in exchange a bungalow which was fine for his needs but had no room for the library. After several years in storage, the library was set up in the Esperanto Association headquarters, and is still there, in a new location, today.
Montagu Butler stayed in office far beyond the limit of his abilities and died with his boots on (not literally, as he was taking a bath at the time). Replacing him was an untidy business and took a long time; but at least the library was in a safe place meanwhile.
Subsequent changes of librarian have been similarly untidy. The post was vacant for at least a year before I was called upon. I want to be sure this doesn’t happen again. Now there’s no prospect of my resigning or retiring in the near future, and no candidate is envisaged for a replacement, or even a deputy. So when it eventually happens, the handover may again be untidy.
What I can ensure is that, if for any reason I am unable or unwilling to continue, at least the library property should be in a safe place. One part of achieving this is to make sure that as much as possible of the materials is in the Esperanto Centre, and only as much of it as is needed to keep me busy is in my house. This is the reason for packing up large amounts in a large number of large boxes. The aim is to send them on their way soon.
That part is still relevant to the house move; but there is also the online activity. There is the library website, and there is the online Audio Archive. At present the website can only be edited by me, and only from one particular computer, which is beginning to be past its best. Meanwhile the audio archive is in an unsuitable location which makes downloads difficult. Both of these need moving to some safer place. I am working on this so that the necessary changes can be made as soon as is technically possible. Of course there is no particular need to do this before the house move, but it is urgent that the only editing access should not be an elderly computer in my house, which could of course get damaged in the move.
In the meantime I can offer you the usual set of numbers. I haven’t quite got 10 cassettes ready for discard, but the Freesat recorder is down to the psychologically important figure 50%. Six parcels (46kg.) are ready to go off to the Esperanto Centre. The hallway is now three-quarters clear.
I’ll mention in passing the strategic importance of the hallway. As I never tire of saying, it is the exit route for the piano, and, in fact, for everything. When the current items are gone, it will be the most convenient place (for collection) to set up the 24 big boxes that are to go to Barlaston. When these are gone I can clear the space at the bottom of the stairs (currently full) by moving everything to the Snuggery. This will in turn create manoeuvring space that will be needed in order to get the piano out. The departure of the piano will then make it much easier to clear and clean the south (“dining room”) end of the lounge; and, that done, there will be enough space to move the contents of the north (“sitting room”) end of the lounge to the south end, so as to clear and clean the north end, assuming that the Polyfilla Days have achieved their aim in the meantime. This is what I meant, one or two reports ago, about moving things from pillar to post and back again.

20th May 2014. This report comes to you a few days late; I promise it won’t happen again. My excuse is that I spent the weekend relaxing with the family and consequently came home very tired. The most dramatic event of these fourteen days was the sudden breakdown of the lawnmower, which will have to be replaced. It does seem strange to be buying so much new equipment before a house move rather than after; within a fairly short time I have replaced an oil tank, a washing machine and a vacuum cleaner, and now there is more to follow.
At the same time as getting ready for the restful weekend I was also preparing for a visit to the Esperanto Centre. Last week six stout parcels went on their way to Barlaston, and this clears the way for me to start assembling the big boxes in the hallway, as mentioned last time. As the boxes are heavy I’ll make a rule not to shift more than two in any one day. Each one will be checked for roadworthiness, reinforced if necessary, and labelled. Not too long after my return from Barlaston they should be ready to go.
In the light of all this activity it will be no surprise that the lounge clearance mentioned three weeks ago has not gone very far. The Polyfilla Day produced no filling activity, but half of the carpet trimming was done; the round table was cleared and moved and a nice rug that will be moving with me was pulled out from under it, taken outside and doused in soapy water, then left to dry. It’s still out there. I’ve also cleaned, preparatory to packing, a very heavy bedspread, still not dry a week later.
The routine things have continued; ten more cassettes have gone and the Freesat recorder is down to 49%. I’ve sorted through a great mass of old extension leads, wires, cables and suchlike and thrown away one in three.
The next report will have to be either one day early or one week late as in ten days’ time I shall be en route to Barlaston. In the meantime, in addition to settling some business with my neighbour, voting, packing, routine housework and, I hope, trying out the new lawnmower, there will be a couple of ordinary library days, a real Polyfilla Day, and as many as two whole days off. Who says it’s all work?



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