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Posts tagged ‘unpacking’

What the heck was I thinking?

Those of you who have followed this adventure from the start will know the move, over 18 months ago, was close to being a disaster. This is especially true for “my” side of it as the decisions I had to make and the sheer volume of stuff I had overwhelmed me. I ended up taking 4 of the largest boxes, cramming them full and writing “TBS” on the sides. “To Be Sorted”. Well some has been but a lot hasn’t. Instead it is stacked in the back room, the guestroom. Now I have to face it all and sort, recycle, gift and abandon all over again. As I began to pick through the crates I found myself muttering, “What the heck was I thinking?”

What the heck was I thinking?

I am making progress, albeit slowly, and Jacqui has performed a minor miracle on the bed. We had 2 nice pine beds with us for spare rooms. One of them arrived with no mattress and is broken. The other has lost its fixings – the second bed the idiot movers did this to. Somehow Jacqui managed to adapt the metal bolts from one to build the other, adding corner braces for extra support. It is now up, very strong and ready to welcome our first guest next month. I was wondering if we needed to buy a new one. Hah, what the heck was I thinking?

This last week has been very busy. As Jacqui was a bit ill (not Covid) I drove the car down to town for its annual service. This is no big deal for some people but it was a familiar journey taken in reverse. As a dyspraxic I can rarely remember the way anywhere (unlike Jacqui who can navigate by the sun like a homing pigeon). I rely on a spoken/chanted series of visual clues.
“Up the bumpy road and stop, then left round the bend by the Swiss style house. Slow, slow, mad tractors all around. Slide past the pink cottage and look for the swans…” Taking the road in reverse meant my “road map” was useless and most of the landmarks invisible until I was past them. But I did it and I’m inordinately proud of myself.

The next day we headed off to Roscrea, to the dentist. I have had two very loose teeth at the back for more than 3 years, due to Covid restrictions. My appointment to have them removed in England was cancelled. So were the next 2. I developed an abscess the day before the actual move and the dentist was eager to pull them then, late in the afternoon. That was hopeless – I couldn’t have done anything for the move or been able to think the next day. I took some antibiotics and left.

Ireland has a shortage of dentists and I have been trying to join the practise of choice for 18 months. When we arrived we were locked down, then they closed for all but existing patients, then they moved. Finally I broke a tooth last week and they offered me an appointment. I am needle phobic and have had a lot of problems with my teeth so I was shaking when I got there. Now, I have had very gentle dentists before. I have had very skillful dentists before. This is the first time I’ve had one who is both.

I was expecting her to remove the broken tooth but instead she suggested the 2 at the top were more urgent. Somehow I found myself agreeing – what the heck was I thinking, I wondered as the top injections loomed. Jacqui was really startled when I appeared and told her, but it was as painless as 2 extractions can possibly be.

And so it begins

Then a big parcel arrived from Ikea. I’ve been using a hanging rail for my clothes since we moved and we decided it was time to tidy up the room. How hard could it be? I opened the instruction book and was faced with pages of obscure line drawings – what the heck??? Well, it took several days, a plethora of tools and some creative swearing but we managed it. The hardest part was lifting it up from the floor and manoeuvring it into position. They are heavy things, wardrobes. And fitting the sliding doors. They are beasts!

So there we are. We are still pushing on. The house is slowly getting tidier as we sort things and find proper places for them. Jacqui has sorted many of the tools and put them away in the grooming room. She also labelled everything so we know where to put them when we finish. “Measuring things” in one box, “Cutting things” in another and screwdrivers and Allen keys in “Lefty loosey, righty tighty”. We may add another box for “MLB”. That’s “Making life better”. It works for us and no-one else needs to rummage in our tool boxes anyway.

The Tool Tower

So there we are, still fighting the weeds but indoors bringing some semblance of order from chaos. It’s been a busy few weeks and we’ve had a weekend off to revel in nostalgia. We’ve sat watching the Tour de France roll over the border through parts of Switzerland we know very well. We have driven many of the roads they used and caught glimpses of familiar places we loved. A bittersweet pleasure but a pleasure none the less.

Back in two weeks, hope you all keep well and thank you for reading.

Birds, Boxes and total Bewilderment

One of the most striking things about the house was the number of birds co-habiting our little acreage.  We picked our way past piles of boxes to open the back door and the bird song barely hesitated.  It was February but there were many birds rarely seen in England until spring or summer.  In the first few days I saw Blackbirds, Robins, Great and Blue Tits, Sparrows, Pied Wagtails, and Gold Finches.  And the ever-present Rooks of course.  Suddenly that first morning they all fell silent and I looked out to see what had happened.  Floating over the garden, about twenty feet up, was a large, dark bird of prey.  It circled a couple of times, gave an odd burping sound and drifted off towards the Fairy Fort.

“Buzzard,” said our builder when I asked him.  “Been reintroduced in the last ten years.  You’ll have a couple over there probably.” 

I had a moment of panic.  The thing was huge – beautiful but huge.  Could it maybe attack the dogs?

“No,” he said.  “Would carry off a pup perhaps but a grown dog is a bit too big.”

When I calmed down I looked buzzards up in our bird books.  They have a wing span of up to four feet and are slow and clumsy on take-off, though elegant and graceful once airborne.  A buzzard landing in our garden would struggle to get out again.  Reassured about the dogs, I began to worry about the other birds.  We wanted to put out food and were debating different types of stands or tables.  That would possibly make them handy snacks for a swooping buzzard so we put the idea aside to puzzle over later.

Like the move out, the move in was done in stages with Derek and his Merry Men shifting the bulk of our stuff on the Saturday.  We were saved once again by our friends.  These lovely people formed our “bubble” and set to with a will, opening the kitchen boxes and putting the china away in what cupboards we had ready.  Although we had weeded a lot of possessions there was still a huge amount.  The house – large by Irish standards – is about half the size of our Saltburn property and we were grateful for the “shed”.  All of the pictures and books went in there, still packed.  We focussed on the kitchen, finding bedding and clothes – oh, wonderful clothes!

We had labelled our boxes but the later “packing” done by the movers was rather more random.  In one load I found a black bin-liner full of shredded paper.  China was shoved into boxes barely wrapped.  We had bought mattress bags and sealed up some but those from our beds were not covered at all and needed extensive cleaning.  Some items were wrapped around with brown tape that damaged the surfaces and some were very badly scratched.  As Derek said on the first day – “They just f@@ked it in there”.

Along with the strange items we didn’t want were a lot of omissions.  My lovely writing table was missing, along with half the shelves.  Bottles of wine we labelled to leave for our buyer appeared but an equal number we wanted were gone.  And I’m not sure I fancy the stuff labelled “Wine from back shelving unit and kitchen bowels”.  It was a bit like Christmas – open a box and you didn’t know what you’d find.  There were moments where we stopped and looked around in total bewilderment.  What was all this stuff?  We did find the green boxes from the Pet Crematorium which made me smile – and almost cry with relief. Still, by the end of the day we had a functioning house, somewhere warm to sleep and a safe garden for the dogs. 

It felt as if we had actually arrived.  There was still a huge amount to do and we were still struggling to keep awake at times.  We had no television – not even the seven stations and two in Gaelic – and no internet connection.  We also had no radio signal for some reason.  Despite the fact we’d unpacked just a fraction of the stuff there was a huge pile of boxes to be flattened, stripped of tape and disposed of somehow.  So we waved our wonderful friends off and opened a rare bottle of Cava to go with a simple but delicious meal. 

We had made it.