Thursday 6th December 2012
MEWS: a fitting place for a jobbing writer to settle into semi-retirement.
Suddenly, I’m moving house, closer to the centre of town, in a quiet cul-de-sac of one-up-one-down, stone cottages and right next to an eatery and coffee shop called Waffles. I’ve paid a deposit, got the keys, measured up, checked meter readings, nudged new landlords about flaky paintwork, and adorned this new home with keepsakes from my children and grandchildren.
Strangely, finding myself with an hour to spare this evening, it seems I’ve also started keeping this journal again too. Must be getting younger.
Unsurprisingly, it’s stressful.
How to make everything I’m taking fit in? Sell the bike or park it indoors, next to the stairs? Will I be irritated by the electric hobs? Why isn’t the bath that bit wider? Am I facing a long struggle getting back the deposit I paid here, a dozen years ago?
And it took about four hours of phone calls yesterday to establish that nobody knows who’s supplying gas to the property. I make a point of speaking to the supervisors of call centre staff who’ve been especially friendly and helpful, but my patience doesn’t half wear thin with inaccurate databases.
Incidentally, I had a gruff exchange with the woman who took my call saying I didn’t need a television licence. That lot don’t like difficult non-customers.
I’ve acquired a number of boxes and some bubble wrap. My younger daughter and boyfriend will help pack. Strong friends of theirs will load and unload the van, driven by a friend. I’m sure it’ll all be fine next Wednesday – the 12th day of the 12th month of the 12th year – barring snow, ice or thunderstorms, that is.
It doesn’t end there, however. I’ve found good homes for the piano, freezer and a handful of books and videos, but that leaves a couple of beds, several items of furniture, an electronic keyboard, heaters, that old rocking chair… not to mention a library of about 500 titles.
Anyone want the 24-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1949 edition?