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Moving house, ick

OK, most of the stuff moved... there's still stuff sitting on the floor of my old living room, but that should be easy enough to transport. And anyway, the new house is currently rammed with stuff that needs dispatching to permanent places.

Picked up the van (Renault Master, nice) on Friday, and picked up Eleanor from Alton. Did some desultory packing, but generally felt far too tired. I'd managed to forget to bring my bag from Sues' that morning, leaving both driving licences in London when the rental place was in Reading. How careless.

Anyway, drove over to Sue's on Saturday morning. Met Terrence and zotz there; inferis was unable to attend due to jet lag (sorry for the wake-up call!). Shifted lots of crates downstairs (five flights, ick) and chucked stuff into the van in a reasonably orderly fashion. Attempted to drive in a convoy of three out of London-- this failed miserably, we lost the van at Green Man Interchange due to box junction idiots, and lost zotz at A12/A406 due to traffic jam-induced impatience, roadworks and traffic lights. Met up with van again on way to deliver map of Reading...

Just gewtting back into Reading when zotz phoned to see he was near the Rising Sun, where to meet up? Suggested the Monk's Retreat. It emerged later that he was by the Rising Sun Arts Centre on Silver St, not the Rising Sun on the IDR just near the Monk's. Dammit. Didn't help that he moentioned Silver St on the phone, and my brain went-- "I know where that is" "where?" "in Cambridge" "you're so helpful."

Arrived at new house, Eleanor + Sue arrived in van just behind me, not sure how timings work out on that... Had lunch (finally), moved stuff into house, but no chance to unpack, as it's straight over to my old flat to move stuff. Repeat previous movement of stuff, except that I live (lived) on the ground floor, much to the relief of all. Drove back to new house (after being told not to drive the van so fast the car couldn't keep up-- I belive the van had a mobile time warp, especially due to its spacetime-bending properties on Sunday night). Unpacked stuff, went to Chilli's for dinner, had to wait ages for table (although did manage to get to the bar after a bit), drank four cocktails rather quickly before being told to stop or else, went home, crashed.

Sunday morning-- got up, said to visitors "we're just over to the other flat to pick up coffee machine etc. for breakfast, see you in five minutes". Got to end of street, realised Reading Half Marathon was on and most of Reading centre was closed. Nightmarise diversions followed, including having to drive over to SOnning and come back on the A4 just to cross the river, and having to drive to J11 just to bypass Whitley. Argh. Also, we needed to grab some butter, ended up going to Tilehurst Asda, restrained urge to carry out executions of Tilehurst residents blocking car park with Nova GTIs and standing at end of pedestrian crossings looking gormless (but not wanting to cross).

Finally arrived back at house, had some breakfast (I think). Drove off to storage place in van with zotz and Terrence to drop off some surplus furniture (we really don't need an extra bunk bed in the house, except possibly to put up in the shed for guests with particularly smelly feet). Picked up oak court cupboard, drove back reasonably sanely now that Half Marathon was finished, although Portman Rd was covered in bottles and lots of people were walking around in Bacofoil capes.

Then embarked on the next journey, in a convoy of just two vehicles this time. The idea being we go to my sister's (High Wycombe) to pick up a dining table, then on to Sue's to pick up bulky furniture and other stuff. In practise, me + Terrence set off late in the car, had to go back for Sue's house keys, had to stop for petrol and then had to guess at the directions to Karen's due to the directions being in the van not the car... still, managed to arrive at roughly the same time (the van's timewarp mechanism seemingly not activating when Eleanor was driving), got given drinks and biscuits, dallied with cats, put table in van and set off again. Back to Stratford (traffic not too bad this time), packed in sofas, wardrobe, filing cabinet, microwave, DVD player, and other things as we could fit the time in, and still had the energy... finally had enough of that, set off back to Reading, stopping off for food on the way (I caved in to temptation, and availed myself of BK). Dealt with stressy phone calls from Sue waiting at home. Finally set off from service station, managed to get on M25 going the wrong way. Turned round at next junction-- now, figure this. I was driving the van, set off from the SS first, and presumably Eleanor set off in the interval where I was going round the M25 the wrong way. We both took M25/M4 to Reading. I then stopped again to fill the van up with diesel, and managed to arrive at the house just after Eleanor did, and we didn't see them on the way. Wtf?

Anyway, took more stuff into house. Managed to get smaller sofa in, but larger sofa was a no-go. Restrained myself from listening to Sue's plans to get Terrence to remove the window pane from the bay window in order to get the sofa in. zotz had to go to get back to Cambridge before work the next day, I gave Eleanor a lift back to Alton, and severly underestimated the time required for this. Arrived back home about 1am to find Sue sitting in living room waiting. Oops. (Typically, I hadn't taken my mobile either).

Monday morning, took large sofa over to storage place (where it just fits nicely), took van back. (50 quid for diesel for two trips to London, laden coming back each time, pretty good) Had greasy fry-up breakfast (oops). Finally put bed up-- memory of Monday is rather hazy, but I remember we went to Homebase to grab curtain rings and supports, had stir-fry for food, started sorting out the bedroom with nasty striped wallpaper. (Seriously, the back bedroom-- when it's empty, if you stand in the middle and turn around, your vision centre will fry. Bold blue and white stripes-- think Tesco Value, but worse). Finally crashed back in bed again. (But actually had a bed this time, handy). Oh, I remember-- went to old flat to sort things out and wait for NTL man to disconnect old modem/STB and remove wiring, but he never arrived. Grr.

Tuesday-- Terrence had already started setting up shelves in the living room (some people are just too keen), so I responded by setting up the DVD and video players (priorities, boy!). We needed to go off to London again to pick up Sue's kitchen stuff, so stopped off first to get food at the Caversham Wetherspoons-- not impressed by the food taking an hour to arrive! But apart from that, diglett should come over here some time-- we have four Wetherspoons inside a two-mile circle!

Anyway, off to London (in just the car this time). I was fed up with thge M25, and we tried to use inner ring road etc. Even went into the CC zone, discovered that it being relaitvely quiet was still unpleasant, finally fought through to Stratford. (Paid CC by SMS, funky).

Discovered that there was actually a lot more stuff left at Sue's than I thought. However, after several hours' packing, managed to just fit everything in the boot and back seat... locked up, said goodbye to Terrence and went home again.

So finally, it's just us in the new house, only a bit of stuff let to move over. And of course the floor of the living room, dining room, back bedroom and side bedroom are covered with things that need sorting out. Ain't we got fun.

Oh, and Eleanor likes my car and has decided to call it "the point-and-go machine" :)

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Steve Haslam

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