Twenty-six days to M-day

Friday March 31, 2006

We’re having a run of alternating wet and dry days just now, calling for a canny approach to the indoor and outdoor jobs we need to get done—there are only 26 days to M-day [moving day is April 26]. Today was dry and sunny, so we opted for a major job that really needs fine weather.

Our big, seven foot sofa, that fitted so well in the Somerset house, and managed reasonably in the Welsh house, is simply too large and unwieldy for this one. When we moved in, the removal men quickly discovered that, try as they may, they couldn’t get it in through the house and into the living room so it was consigned to the garage—a problem for us to solve later.

We beat it by removing the small side window and its frame from the living room, shifting the sofa through the brick opening, and then reversing the procedure to restore the window. Today we had to reverse the whole thing. We’d considered dismantling and junking the sofa but it’s had relatively little use, is a handsome beast, and might just fit the next house as well as it did the first.

“You go out and get your chores done and then, when you get back, I’ll be ready for a helping hand to shift it through the gap,” Graham instructed.

It was no penalty. There was a fairly brisk wind, but it was warm, the sun shone, and signs of spring were everywhere. I wore only a light coat, no hat, and sauntered from place to place happy as can be. Gosh but it’s great to get the wind in my hair again, even if it does need cutting and comes quickly to resemble the Wreck of the Hesperus in the lightest of breezes.

I visited the vehicle hire depot in Stickney, and booked a Ford Transit panel van for next week, then drove up to Spilsby to lodge the mail redirection form and fee with the Post Office.

“Sounds like a lovely place,” the woman on the counter said as she checked the new address.

“Oh, it is, luv. On the cliffs, overlooking the sea. A wonderful place to spend the summer.”

“Will you miss Lincolnshire?”

“I certainly shall. I’ve loved my time here. You have to follow the work, though.”

“Oh, yes. We all have to follow the work.”

Back outside, I wandered up the lane to the Co-op where I picked up rolls and thick-carved roast ham for our lunch, along with a large bag of liquorice alsorts, Graham’s latest passion in the sweetie line. He feigned horror when I unpacked them on the kitchen counter.

“I didn’t want a big bag,” he said. “I’ve got quite fat enough over the winter.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “It doesn’t show and you’ll work it off again over the summer season.”

True to his word, he’d already removed the window and its frame, and it was the work of no more than five minutes to lift the sofa through, carry it round the house and lodge it safely in the study via the double french doors. I fixed a pot of tea while Graham turned to the task of restoring the window, and took large mugs of it out so’s we could take a break in the sunshine.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Grrr!”

“Why, whatever is the matter?”

“I’ve gone and torn the wallpaper just inside and now I’m going to have to fix it.” [The expletives have been deleted from this sentence, and the whole conversation for that matter.]

“Do we have paste and spare paper?”

“Yes to both.”

“Ah well. Could be worse, then.”

“Grrr!”

“Sorry.”

The damage was fixed soon enough, and he went on to finish the whole job while I made lunch.

Later in the day I sighed and pulled out the wad of paper from the removal firm, intent on puzzling through it and getting my acceptance off in the post tomorrow. They’ve gone part way towards an online acceptance and processing system and the half-way stage is confusing when compared with the old manual methods. At least, it is to me. Now it was my turn to “Grrr!”

“What’s up, doc?”

“It’s this pesky acceptance form. I still don’t really understand what they want me to do, in spite of talking to them this morning.”

“Is the office open tomorrow?”

“Don’t think so.”

“Well, do what you can, put it on one side and phone them again on Monday. No point in worrying about it.”

“But I wanted to get it done and dusted today.”

“There’s plenty of time.”

“Yeah. You’re right. Is it plonko time yet?”

“When are we having dinner?”

“About an hour after plonko time.”

“Ok. It’s plonko time.”

Sipping my glass of well-chilled chardonnay—the last of it for a while until there’s another special offer in Tesco’s—I turned my thoughts to the subject of my new laptop, due to be delivered tomorrow or Monday.

Graham concluded his laptop research this morning before we started on the main work of the day, settling on a suitable model at a fair price, and we ordered it there and then. For those who know about these things, it is an HP Pavilion dv4354EA P-M 735A 1024MB 80GB 15.4″ WXGA.

My specification hadn’t changed, which helped the selection.

I want a writer’s workhorse with good display, storage and communications facilities. Graham wants me to have a machine comparable in capacity and power with my existing desktop. I worked to a budget in line with the combined donations (thanks again!) and advertising receipts, along with the addition of the little I’ve been able to save towards it over the past three months. All of that has been successfuly met, on paper. I’ll report the physical facts when the machine arrives and I’ve had time to get to use it. Another job for Monday, I suspect, along with posting off the removal forms and a weekend’s worth of correspondence.

That ‘job for Monday’ thought is a great improvement over all the ‘tomorrows’ we’ve been obliged to negotiate during the past weeks. And with 26 days to M-day, we’re feeling quite relaxed. Not complacent, just happy we’ve all the time we need to get the job done, with enough spare days left over for contingencies. It all feels good.

 

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