Right. The move. It was grim. They usually are. We did at least have a removal company this time rather than three mates and a horsebox. I almost wished we had stuck to the horsebox. There was some mix up in communications. I said to my husband: "Are they sending a pantechnicon?" I am not sure what a pantechnicon is, but it sounds big. He told me they were sending three vans. It sounded odd at the time, but I thought OK. They did not send three vans, they sent one van and two men. Two unhappy men who took one look and did not like what they saw. They immediately started talking about their tachograph. I do not know what a tachograph is either, but it sounded a lot less helpful than a pantechnicon. They had only just arrived and were already grumbling about getting back in time and needing four men instead of two. Not even bacon, egg and mushroom sandwiches from the village bakery quietened them. And they are particularly good sandwiches.
My only consolation was that I could not entirely make out what the gaffer was saying. He had a very thick Scottish accent.(For the record, I like Scottish accents and my husband is partly Scottish. I think it must be his lower half as he wore a kilt at the wedding. I do, indeed, find the Scottish accent a thing of beauty; two of my best friends are Scottish; I have also holidayed in Scotland and would recommend it heartily. Umm. I am not kept awake at night by the West Lothian question, am a great fan of Edinburgh, and like porridge.) Still. He would hold out a box and say something like: "Eurrrgh rrrrrrrhhhing khhhheeeargh?" Occasionally, he would say: "Eurrgh rrrrrrrhhing tachograph." When he said something like that, I did not want to understand him.
I could not even make the point they had been sent an inventory and it was their decision to send the one van and two men because we were so very much in the wrong for not putting every last fork in a large cardboard box of its own. I had to accept responsibility for that one. For some reason, I was so depressed the day before the move, I had to bail out for an hour, go lie on my own on a friend's wooden bench and look at the world's most beautiful castle and the lighthouse and the sea for a while. I could not tell you whether I was low because of the grinding boredom of moving again or because I was thinking: "OK, this is it then. I really have moved to Northumberland. No more coxing and boxing and renting. I have a proper home. It is time to start feeling like I belong." But by midnight, with some way to go on packing, I had entirely lost the will to live. I went to bed. I decided the children's toys could stay in their own unlidded plastic boxes. I asked myself: "Why unpack drawers when you can put a piece of paper over them?" I told myself it was entirely reasonable for my husband to unhook the computers and pack away his office paperwork in black binbags and suitcases while the removers were shipping stuff out of the house. I admit this did not work well. It certainly does not make me a pin-up as client of the year back at the removal company depot.
I was totally in the wrong. Apparently, everything needs to go in a box. I am the only person the world who does not realise you break the social contract with your removal company when you fail to put your plastic boxes and carrier bags in their cardboard boxes. It is something to do with stacking them one on top of the other and squaring them off. I thought the boxes were optional extra like those small bottles of shampoo you get in hotel rooms. You are not actually obliged to use them to wash your hair. My builder has moved 17 times in 16 years. He has an infinitely more patient wife than me. I said: "When you move, do you put everything. I mean everything. In cardboard boxes?" He said: "Yes. My wife is very organised." The upshot was they did two runs between the rented house and the cottage but did not quite finish the job. My husband said I am not allowed to go back to the rented house and see how much has been left behind. I think I will sneak in like Bluebeard's wife when he is busy elsewhere. It is possible the village might hear my scream.