It started at zero four thirty. Or as it is affectionately known- the ass crack of dawn.  Or as it should be known – the middle of the  night.  As I was turning on the mattress on the floor (surprisingly comfortable, and I woke up blood free) a teeny tiny thought entered into my consciousness.  Where is the showerhead?  Just like that I was awake and thinking about it.  It had been in the hallway outside my room for ages, but then it disappeared.  I couldn’t go into D’s bathroom to see if it was there as she was asleep.  So I lay awake alternately fretting and reassuring myself that noone would have packed it.  At 05:45 I gave up pretending to sleep while thinking about what I needed to do and got up to do it.  I stripped beds, bagged and tagged laundry put everything into groups and labelled it for the correct location. I didn’t kid myself that today wasn’t going to be harder than yesterday.  Today we had stuff going to three separate locations.  The guy had told me that he was going to send a slightly smaller truck and it would go to all three locations.

D left for work with a kiss and a tearful goodbye (for the house, not me) and she took photos of me doing everything except showering.

I answered the door at 8:30 and two skinny guys stepped in.  We made the requisite small talk and then I said, is anyone else coming?  No it’s just us they replied.  My heart sank.  I looked out at the truck, and it was really small. More like a van really.  I said, trying to keep it together:

“You know, the guys who were here yesterday, not to mention the guy who gave me the quote, saw what was going.  I didn’t sugarcoat it.  This is not a two person job.”

So we went on the rounds of the house and I pointed out what needed to be done.

” That won’t fit in the van.”

“Well not in one trip,” I said.

They decided to go to my aunt’s first, and then come back.  At this point it was just before nine.  I called my aunt and apologised profusely for waking her up, and told her that they would be there in half an hour to an hour.  There were only 6 boxes and two potted trees to go over there.  About 20 minutes later, I saw them bringing down a wardrobe for my sister K’s house.

“That’s not going to my aunt’s house.” I said.

“Yes, we know.  We decided to load up your sister and aunt’s stuff on the van together and take it in one go.”

Call up my aunt again, “So sorry to have woken you up and lit a fire under your ass, it is actually going to be a while, I will call you before they leave.  So  so sorry, ” I grovelled.  Auntie was, as ever, extremely gracious about it.  Thank goodness for lovely aunts.

Anyway. They then proceeded to load up the van with all the stuff for K’s house.  and then the stuff for Auntie’s.  At 11, they were about ready, all they had left to do was the two trees.  Now these trees are my pride and joy.  They are Japanese acer trees and they are both magnificent in their own right.  One of the things that has pained me the most about this move (and possibly the subsequent one) is that I am not going anywhere with outside space.  This means that I had to find a place for my trees.  Auntie volunteered and that had the added bonus of being near to our new location so I can visit them (I don’t talk to them or anything, that would be weird, but they are beautiful, especially when they glow a deep fiery red in autumn, and it is good to know that they’re near ok?)  They both weigh a tonne and the guys were really struggling until we found an old  hand trolley in the basement (Dad, you are amazing).  They slid the flat part underneath the one on the path, and trundled it along and into the van, no problem.  Then they started on the one on the front lawn.  Unfortunately this one had taken root.  The pushed and pulled and leaned and grunted and sweated and cursed, and this tree clung on tenaciously and looked as if it wasn’t going to give in.  Eventually the men won.  Trees in the truck they set off to deliver the goods.

Then there were three hours plus where we stood in the house waiting for them.  We threw stuff away, tidied.  Tried in vain to warm up (yesterday’s cold conditions seemed balmy compared to today.  Both front and back doors were open all morning, and I had turned off the heating because seriously what a waste, and there was some light rain.  I was frozen solid.  We closed up the house, and stood around an electric radiator like hobos around a flaming trash can for three hours while the men were out.  I know I looked like one.  I was wearing tracksuit bottoms with converse trainers, a hoodie with a fleece body warmer over it and a scarf. Had I had some fingerless gloves, I would have worn them, appearances be damned. I didn’t want to break the coat out yet in case it got colder.  There were no chairs left in the house, no food, no internet, nothing.  The frustrating thing was that we knew there was so much to do, but we were stuck in the old house with nothing to do waiting for the return of the movers and their little van.  Finally at about 2:45, they came back.

Time to start my actual move.  We had asked them to load the van so that we could do the bulky stuff like bed-making and wardrobe box-emptying immediately.  No dice, the van was so small that they had to load it a certain way or it wouldn’t fit.  Two trips would have been nice, but they weren’t having any of that either.  So we waited and waited and eventually at about 4:30 everything was in the van.

I say everything, but in fact my car was also loaded high with the stuff that didn’t fit into the van.  As we were leaving, P noticed a full tub of ice cream in the freezer and brought it out.  We looked a sight wearing fifty layers each and holding a tub of madagascan vanilla ice cream.  Tramps with taste.  Hobo chic is the term, I believe.  Off we went to the flat and started unloading and unpacking.

We stationed ourselves upstairs and they kept bringing up stuff.  I was unpacking as quickly as possible and in fact I think that we were doing quite well.  Every trip they made up, we handed them empty boxes to take down.  It became apparent quite early on that D had overestimated the amount of space that would be available for her stuff. Every other box that came up went into bedroom 2. And in the end, her furniture.  When we said bedroom 2 the guy actually sniggered.  There was no way.  We stacked it up in the hallway.  You now have to tread a very careful path to the bathroom.  To paraphrase  Eddie Murphy in the Golden Child “Only He whose ass is narrow can get in to that room.” (To clarify: there are no doughnuts in my immediate  future).

As I was emptying wardrobe boxes, I found that all the cupboards were already full of coathangers.  We own coathangers in every size, colour, material, and type.  Thousands and thousands of them. Clippy ones, wooden ones, plastic ones, wire ones, baby ones, velvet ones, big ones, small ones the list goes on.  My brother-in-law came by to drop off some keys and dinner, and I gave him a bin liner full of them.  Currently I still  have two large boxes full.  I know we also put two big boxes full into storage yesterday.  We need help.

Arriving into the flat were boxes upon boxes of booze, clothes, and food, so much food, I didn’t realise we had that much.  The kitchen filled quickly as we unpacked things and tried to put them away.  Only one box was dropped.  Typically, it was the one containing the eggs.  Go figure.  At 7:30 D came back from work just as the men were leaving.  I paid them, waited around in the biting cold for them to put the last few things in the garages and locked up behind them. For all that there were only two of them, they had both worked so hard, and were still cheerful at the end of it.  My evaluation of this moving company is that their movers are great, but the management sucks.  Thanks a lot Chris & Dave, that was a terrific 12 hour day’s work.

By 8:30, it was me and D and the beds were made, the wardrobe boxes emptied and all of my clothes unpacked and put away.  I made the fatal error of sitting down for 5 minutes to tell D about the day.When I went to get up my body rebelled.  My knees, hips, shoulders and lower back said as one – forget it.  The hunchback of Notre Dame at this point had a more elegant gait than I did.  I waddled around ouching and moaning.  We put the pastitsio that K had made for us into the oven and unpacked as we waited for it to warm.  (Thank goodness for lovely sisters).  We called Mum and Dad who had been worrying all day, and texting at intervals to make sure we were ok.  I checked and BT had actually done what they said they would so we had phone and internet.  By the time dinner was ready, I was shivering and had windburn on my face for having been in the cold for two days straight.  I looked like a cold tomato and not in a good way.  I wrapped myself up in a blanket, ate dinner and limped off to bed.  By 9:45 I was shivering in bed.  D came in to make sure I was alright and rubbed my back and shoulders for a while, while I drifted in and out of consciousness talking bollocks as I tend to do at these times  (Thank goodness for lovely sisters).  I don’t remember anything after the back rub.  I let myself go with the thought that the move had happened.

It was over.

Maria & D had left the building.