648 Moving experiences, part 10 : November/December 2014

13th November 2014. “I’m enjoying this. I’m enjoying this!” So said Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons just days before she was unceremoniously deposed. So perhaps it’s just as well that I’m not particularly enjoying being at the beck and call of doctors, being restricted in the library work I can do, and having great difficulty in enjoying a casual conversation. Fortunately today is a Thursday rather than a Friday.

Yesterday’s exertions were probably a waste of time and money. The hospital visit was inconclusive and the doctor only just stopped short of saying I didn’t really need to be there. I have greater hopes of the next visit.

Three earlier days, Saturday (music day), Sunday (library day) and Monday (day off) were mostly taken up with getting ready for Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday was a fleeting visit to my daughter in London, and was, though short, a welcome break from other events. It also ensured there was someone around to make sure I actually left the house on Wednesday morning. If I’m honest that was the main purpose.

The first week of this 28th stint was business as usual and very similar to the activities in the last two or three reports. The parcels ready for the Esperanto Centre are now five in number, with a start made on a sixth. I have cleared out three large boxes of possibly unwanted periodicals though 16 others remain. The absence of books from the floor in the Snuggery, mentioned last time, means I am now near to the end of pricing and listing the surplus library books for second-hand sale. When that is done I shall be able to do a stocktake and pack those that are still wanted.

I have made a start on moving from Bedroom 1 to Bedroom 3, which will put Bedroom 1 into “showroom” mode. This will involve demolishing a wooden bed frame and packing or discarding a couple of hundred books.

The keys of the clavichord have proved to be excellent firelighters; being a musical person I’ve used them one octave at a time. When I have a little more energy various other items, mostly now in the hallway, will become firewood.

As for future prospects, the days are now short and the weather is cooler, so not much more will be done in the garden until springtime. Some tidying, especially the patio, will be needed before people come viewing the house. For the time being I can’t go much further with packing my own belongings, so the main effort will be sending library items on their way and keeping the house smart as best I can. This will assuredly be dull work.

As this report is a day late the next one will be due on Tuesday 25th, two days before the next hospital visit. In the meantime there will be three library days, three housework days, three days off, two office days and a showroom day. The Showroom Day should produce significant changes in the Snuggery; but I think you’ve heard that before. On Tuesday morning the general rubbish bin went out satisfyingly full; no audio cassettes have departed, but the Freesat recorder is down to 28%.

28th November 2014. According to a recent news report, in the last year average house prices have risen by 12%. However in London prices have risen by 18%, which is surely good news for the London branch of the family. It’s not all good news, of course, as simple mathematics says that if some items are above average, some others must logically be below. As Letchworth is within easy travelling distance of London, it would be no surprise if price increases there were at or above the average. Likewise it would be unremarkable if prices in less accessible areas, such as rural Suffolk, were among those that have risen less than the average. This would mean that the proceeds of a sale in Suffolk will go less far in Letchworth than they would have done a year ago. A television report next Monday may make this clearer.

Meanwhile I am now less near to selling the house than I was a few days ago, as I can’t move house in the middle of treatment. Yesterday I paid my fifth visit to the doctors (the second to Ipswich Hospital), and it was, I think, useful and productive, and takes us nearer to a diagnosis; I came home cheerful and invigorated, and that’s half the battle. Nonetheless there will be at least three more visits and these will take us at least into February. By the time I finally sell the house, prices in Letchworth will have had another year of outpacing prices in Suffolk. One thing already clearer is that I shall probably have a registered address to vote from in the General Election (May 2015).

There’s plenty to think about in the meantime, not least Christmas. I still have to sort out five presents and seven cards. Today was a Music Day and gave me a chance to work on two of the presents; and Sunday, being a nominal “day off”, may bring more progress.

The visit to Ipswich also replenished my supplies of sandpaper and filler, so the work in the Snuggery really will get finished before long. Nothing of note has happened in the kitchen, but I have now moved into Bedroom 3 and settled in.

The Freesat recorder is on hold for now, as I have reached a three-month gap in recordings; but ten more audio cassettes have been binned. There will be two “office” days before the next report, which will be mostly taken up with Christmas preparations. The three housework days and the two Showroom days should live up to their names. The four library days will probably be ordinary paperwork rather than anything more productive. There will, all being well, be three days off.

This session’s music item might seem slightly off-topic, but the feeling somehow ties in with the medical events and the state of the house move.


12th December 2014. Every year Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary the anniversary of his being “cut of the stone”. This referred to an operation to remove a kidney stone; which, in those days would have been both painful and dangerous. It certainly puts my own medical troubles into perspective.

This comes to mind as November 30th was, as far as I can tell, the sixteenth anniversary of my moving to Bedfield. I can still clearly remember some of the events of that day; in fact some can be found in part 1 of these “Moving experiences”. It was certainly a much less painful experience than Pepys endured; and I hope the next (final?) one will go equally well.

I’ll start with today as there have been significant events on this Showroom Day. For a while now work has been delayed by things being in each other’s way; now at last everything has moved around a bit. The first step was rubbing down the filler on the west wall of the Snuggery and washing the whole, not very big, wall. Having cleared the kitchen table a few days ago, I was now able to bring it into the Snuggery where it will be an important part of the Packing Area. This in turn enabled me to start removing packed items from the bottom of the stairs; three heavy parcels are now on the kitchen table and three suitcases are under it. My bicycle and several dismantled coffee tables were already nearby. The next stage will be to clear the rest of the floor and re-position the desk so that I can check the condition of the east wall; there are currently four boxes of books (second-hand sale candidates) on the desk, but these are rapidly diminishing.

This activity also has consequences for the kitchen; the whole of the floor is now clear and much easier to keep clean; and the heating boiler is no longer obstructed by the table, so I can book its long-overdue servicing. I had hoped to cut and position one last shelf in the under-sink cupboard, but time ran out; I may get to it during the next Showroom Day, on the 21st December.

In just eleven days’ time I shall be setting out for Christmas in Letchworth; time is short for things that have to reach me by post, such as two presents (expected Monday 15th) and six cards not even ordered yet. One of the two home-made presents is done and I’ve planned the other.

The various housework, library and office days have been uneventful; new recordings have taken the Freesat recorder back up to 28%, but no fewer than 20 cassettes have been binned. A further report is due on the 27th though it seems unlikely that the house move will have progressed in the meantime. One or two hospital appointments may yet happen before Christmas.

29th December 2014. Those of you who are reading this in future decades – perhaps the 2040s or 2050s – may be surprised to know that as recently as 2014 workers carried out their duties in designated workplaces during designated working hours. However there were exceptions, times when people did not even “work from home” but were entirely free to do whatever they wished. These periods were known as “holidays”.
A particular exception was the last week in December; at what was usually the coldest time of year it seemed more cost-effective to close the workplace and send people home to fend for themselves. This was known as Christmas. It was generally found that this short break improved productivity during the ensuing months.
For those who are reading this in 2014 or not long after I need only say that it has been Christmas and I have been in Letchworth with the family. Now that I have been home a few days it seems more like a dream, but there are Christmas cards on the kitchen shelf and presents in Bedroom 2; last night I had chicken for dinner and followed up with an orange; so it must have been real.
Needless to say there has been very little progress on the house move, but the ex-kitchen table in the Snuggery is now home to six large boxes and six suitcases. Six other boxes, containing library materials, can join them once I have reinforced them. In total about half the boxes and cases at the foot of the stairs have now been cleared away. I’ve also made a start on gathering all the packing and packaging materials together in that room.
Last time I optimistically talked of getting things done on the Showroom Day (21st December). Naturally all that happened was a token gesture of moving things around a bit and some forward planning. In other activities I currently have about 12kg. of finished library items ready to go to the Esperanto Centre and 20 more audio cassettes have been binned.
The hospital visits turned out to be after Christmas; one of them will be in the next reporting period and will keep me busy for two of the twelve days. This will leave one Library Day, one Showroom Day, two Office Days, three housework days, and three days off.


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