648 Moving experiences, part 9: September/October 2014

10th September 2014. Last time around I mentioned the postponement of some serious thoughts about the psychology of the house move. I think I can postpone this again; but I should warn you that when I do finally get to it there will be talk of clinical depression, stressful situations, and panic attacks.

But while you’re looking forward to that, I can bring you news of other postponements. As many as you like; at present nothing is running to time. For example, today should be a Music Day but instead I’m writing this, which should have been done yesterday. The Music Days seem to be routinely invaded by items left over from, or not completed in, their allotted days. I am mostly managing to avoid serious work on the days off, though some washing and ironing of clothes does creep in from time to time.

The library days are now contributing very little to the house move; after the next Barlaston visit I shall reduce them further, probably to one working day in every three. That said, the second library day of this stint was enlivened by the arrival of a mildly subversive book and an electric kettle. The kettle relates to the house move, in that I have had to bring forward yet another purchase that was meant for the new house. I can at least hope that as Deadline Day draws nearer there will be less opportunity for things to go wrong and need replacing.

Thanks to a brief spell of warm weather I have been able to give the lawnmower some more exercise. Only the far end of the garden and the bank of the pond remain to be mown; and after them I can go back to the beginning.

Indoors things have moved on rather faster, mostly as a result of the Polyfilla/Kitchen/Everything Else Day. In preparation for the assault on the east wall, I’ve cleared and folded down the gateleg table and used the space to move the electric keyboard and its stand from the dining (south) area to the lounge (north) area, so as to disencumber the wall. The unwanted bucket seat is now in pieces in the hallway; some will be binned, and some will do for firewood. All in all the lounge/dining room is beginning to shape up quite well.

I’ve checked the east wall to see what filling-in is needed. There’s one patch of dinner-plate size and another, perhaps an arm’s length long and about 20cm. high, which will need attention. This should be easier than the west wall, as the wall itself is in good condition and only a thin layer of filler will be needed. If the wall behind the piano is sound (I still haven’t looked) I can then move on to the snuggery, then bedroom 1, then bedroom 4, and that will be that.

Currently I have one box of books ready to send to an Esperanto colleague, another ready to go to the Esperanto Centre, and a third nearly finished. No cassettes have gone in the bin to keep the bucket seat cushion company, but the Freesat recorder is down to 36%. Between now and the next report, in addition to my daughter’s birthday and planning for trips to Letchworth and to Barlaston, there will be 3 housework days, 3 library days, 2 office days, 2 days off, and a really productive Polyfilla Day.

24th September 2014. This report may well be brief, as relatively little has happened, and events have been mostly more of the same.

Another reason for brevity is some apparently minor computer trouble, which is the sudden death of a mouse. Not a real rodent of course, but the attachment which computers originally did not have but which now seems indispensable. I am currently using an old clunky mouse that sends its pointer leaping wildly all over the screen, or sometimes refuses to move it at all. A replacement is awaited. At least this isn’t yet another replacement brought forward (as with the kettle and so many other things) as I wasn’t expecting this to happen either before or after the house move. In the meantime I am rediscovering some keystroke commands that I last used ten or fifteen years ago.

As I write this I am two days away from a visit to Letchworth, postponed from a couple of months ago. This will be fun, and my younger granddaughter will doubtless have changed beyond recognition since the last time I saw her. Of course the house move will have a part to play; I’ll be looking in a number of estate agents’ windows just to get an idea of what is available and where, and the current level of prices. All of this may well be very different in six months’ time, but it will give me some ideas.

On the same topic, the modest residence a little way down the road is still up for sale, and has now been joined by another slightly larger house. I’m not sure whether having houses competing for buyers is a good thing or a bad thing. Whatever I think, it’s happening anyway, and may still be happening when I join in the chorus. I’ve noticed that the new residents in the village are a lot younger than the old ones, but I suppose by the time these new ones eventually depart they’ll be as old as the old ones are now.

Yesterday was the inaugural Showroom Day; but this is in fact only a tidier renaming of the Polyfilla/Kitchen/EverythingElse Day. Work on the east wall of the lounge came tantalizingly close to completion, but one more session will be needed. The Library Days have consisted mostly of turning out items that the Butler Library will certainly never need again; the second box of items for the Esperanto Centre, promised two weeks ago, is now finished, and a third one is in progress. Once again no audio cassettes have been binned, but the Freesat recorder content has shot down to 33%.

The changes to the work routine will now happen immediately after my return from Letchworth. Half the working days will now be either housework or Showroom. One in three will be Library; and the remaining one in six will be Office. I think this will be a better fit for the shape of work to come.

The big surprise in this session was the arrival of a letter from the County Council, informing me that the front hedge was overhanging the footpath by more than the permitted amount. It was news to me that there was any restriction; it turns out that there has to be overhead clearance of 8ft. 6in. (2.5 metres) above the footpath. So I spent most of the last “day off” (Fri 19th) trimming the hedge. I now have to work out what to do with the trimmings, and also, I suppose, to find a person 2.5 metres tall who can check whether I’ve achieved the regulatory clearance.

The next report will probably be even thinner than this one. Preparing for Letchworth, going there, being there, getting home, and recovering will take up about a week. It will be time well spent though. Not long after that I shall start getting ready for the next trip to the Esperanto Centre, due in about three weeks’ time. In all the session up to the next report will include 2 housework days, one each of Library, Office and Music, and two days off.

Autumn is now officially with us; one or two cold nights have already happened. Today I brought some kindling and bits of firewood indoors, and prepared the woodburner for action. Yesterday evening I even set the radiators going for an hour. Future residents please note: this house is easy to heat, and it holds the heat very well.

5th October 2014. Not one mouse, in the event, but three; and not blind, but the modern optical variety. This has, amongst other things, breathed new life into the old XP computer.

This was one of only two positive developments in these two weeks. The other was that, on the first day of my visit to Letchworth, I spent the afternoon looking at eight Estate Agents. The information in the window displays wasn’t very helpful, but provided useful pointers as to which websites to look at.

After that things went seriously downhill. Throughout the weekend I was sleepy and useless, and on the evening of my return home (Monday 29th) a phone call from my daughter commanded me to see a doctor as soon as possible. Despite valiant efforts by myself and both daughters on the Tuesday (“day off”) this could not be arranged until Thursday afternoon, so I spent the Wednesday (Music Day) and Thursday (housework day) morning in a kind of netherworld. The visit to the doctor was inconclusive, so more will follow. I then spent the Friday (library day) and Saturday (“day off”) catching up with things not done earlier in the week. Today, Sunday, is at least an Office Day, which seems just the right time to be writing this.

Next Thursday will be the doctors again, and sometime after that a check-up in Ipswich Hospital. This has meant changing the pencilled-in dates for a visit to the Esperanto Centre; for the time being I’ve just moved it a week later.

Also very much pencilled-in are the plans for the next two weeks; but they should include 4 housework days, 3 library days, 2 showroom days, one office day, and three days off. By the time of the next report (18th) I should know what fate has in store for me.

18th October 2014. Wednesday 8th was remarkable for being the first uninterrupted day off (without quotation marks) since my return from Letchworth nine days before. The visit to the doctor on the following Tuesday (14th) was uneventful; and apart from that I was able to enjoy no fewer than 6 days of normal life. The next “day off” (16th) was disrupted by the arrival of a letter telling me of a hospital appointment in November. After a couple of hours of looking up bus times I contacted the hospital to re-arrange this. Despite the optimistic note at the end of the last report, I haven’t yet had a verdict from the doctor. Depending on the eventual date of the hospital check-up, I may yet be able to set up a visit to the Esperanto Centre either before the hospital trip – the deadline for a decision being next Thursday – or immediately afterwards.

Meanwhile in Bedfield, the work on patching up the plaster of the walls in the lounge is complete, and I’ve done some preparatory work in the Snuggery. From now on the “showroom” work in the lounge will just be cleaning and tidying. I’m beginning to plan the “showroom” activities in the kitchen; there will be more to do there, as there are jobs which I had started before the house-move decision and which will now have to be finished, notably the under-sink cupboard. I’ve offered the piano on the local Freecycle netork; if there are no takers I may look further afield, or I may just keep it. Internet research suggests that pianos are the most difficult things to even give away, due to the removal costs.

Library activities remain focussed on clearing stuff out of the house. Three parcels are ready to go to Barlaston and a fourth is well under way. Before too long I should start stocktaking and packing the spare copies of books being offered for sale. I’m working through a large number of incomplete periodical sets deciding which should go off to Barlaston and which can be abandoned. Both of these activities are slow going as each item needs its own considered decision.

A few days ago, for the first time in ages, a full bin of rubbish went on its way; once again no audio cassettes have been binned, but the Freesat recorder is down to 31% and I think I stand a real chance of clearing it before the house move. My neighbour has passed on a useful amount of firewood and the woodburner is already giving good service; if the weather holds out I should be able to show the mower around the garden one last time before the winter.

Tomorrow will be one of the infrequent Music Days; the remaining days before the next report – unless I decamp to Barlaston – will be 3 library, 4 housework/showroom, 2 office, and 3 (fingers crossed) days off.

And, for the first time in a month or so, this report comes to you bang on time.

31st October 2014. As our cocker spaniel was dying of a stroke (c. 1961) she growled at us for the first time ever. She just wanted to be left alone, though in fact we took her to the vet.

You don’t have to be at death’s door to feel like that. In any illness, large or small, you get to a point where you just want the doctors, and everybody else, to leave you to get on with it.

For the next couple of weeks I have just that opportunity. Worries about insurance mean that I have been temporarily banished from the Esperanto Centre, and my next hospital appointment is twelve days away; so I can take a holiday from being ill and see what can be done about the house move.

In fact, when I have not been going back and forth to Framlingham, the house move activity has mostly been more of the same; so perhaps it’s time for another tour of the house and garden.

As I write this there is no moon and the garden is pitch dark, which is one of the best parts of country life. In daylight the patio is more or less taken up with trimmings from the hedges; if the weather was not so unusually warm, this would have been cut up for the woodburner, but I’ll get to that. The grass seems still to be growing, but I may yet see to that before the weather changes.

Moving indoors, we find the Snuggery in better shape; there are now no books on the floor, and the 27 cardboard boxes are mostly stuff packed ready for Letchworth. Once the wall near to the door is patched up, items completely ready for the move will be gathered in there. This will also clear the space at the bottom of the stairs.

The hallway is now home to assorted wooden items which can be broken up and either burned or binned; on the top corridor there are still books for second-hand sale, which I shall probably send to Barlaston as soon as I see a prospect of dealing with them there. Bedroom 4 contains many single issues (or incomplete sets) of Esperanto magazines; I’ve made a start on deciding what is to become of these, and those that are still wanted will go up to Barlaston to await my attention. Bedroom 2 now contains only a few bits of furniture and the ironing board.

Bedroom 3 is small and easy to keep warm; with a little work I can move in there for the winter. This will leave Bedroom 1, the lounge, the kitchen and the bathroom as the “showroom” items. In Bedroom 1 I shall only have to remove one unneeded bed and patch some cracks in the plaster. The lounge and bathroom, as mentioned last time, only need routine housework. There is much more to do in the kitchen; choosing what items need to be kept until the move, which packed, and which discarded, will take some time. As I have mentioned many times, work on the under-sink cupboard and other small jobs will take a little while.

In other news, the Freesat recorder has not progressed, but no fewer than 20 audio cassettes have left the building.

All in all, not bad for a sick man. The next twelve days, in addition to the hospital visit, will be three housework, three library, two Showroom, one each of Office and Music, and two days off.

Time for a cheerful YouTube song. It’s a live recording from a concert by the excellent Scottish band The McCalmans: “You’re still gonna die”. There was a longer version, from their farewell concert, with an entertaining introduction, but that seems to have disappeared, so now we only have this version, which, perhaps appropriately, ends very abruptly. Here it is:



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