We were supposed to move house the day after tomorrow. During a conversation with the builder yesterday, it rapidly became apparent that moving in, when there was still so much to do, was going to be a nightmare. We said we would try and get hold of the removal man to put things back. Today, the builder described it as "imperative" we did not move in. Unfortunately, we could not get hold of the removal man to tell him the move was imperatively off. Again. And would he mind moving us next week, or possibly the week after that or maybe sometime never? I had this vision of a large removal van turning up at the crack of dawn only for us to open a bedroom window and shout down: "Not today, thank you Milky." When we finally managed to touch base, Milky said he was charging us for Wednesday and that his next slot was in two weeks time unless he got a cancellation. Two weeks! Cancellation! What are the chances of a cancellation? Who cancels removal men? "Darling, I know we said we were moving. Well we're not. We will just live with the nice people who bought the house. They seemed fun, don't you think?" Obviously, "we" cancelled the removal men. Twice. But I cannot believe it happens that often. God. Two more weeks.
Maybe if I stopped wanting it so much, it would all come together. As it was, every time I walked into the cottage, I looked around and thought: "This is not going to get finished in time." But you do not want to seem like a panicky, depressive girly. You do not want to stick a finger in your mouth, twirl a curl round around and giggle nervously as a man tries to reach the finishing line. They do not like it. I was right though.
I think builders are natural optimists. They step through their own personal landscape of debris and chaos. They say: "I am really looking forward to getting stuck in to that big problem with the drains." They like banging their heads against brick walls. That way they get to knock them over. I am trying to keep it in "What's another week or two between friends?" perspective but I am desperate to stop squatting in the rented house. Ever since the boys dyed the kitchen carpet shocking pink, I have not been able to relax. Lately, I have not even wanted to get up on a morning. I have always been able to get up straight away. The last few weeks, I lie there until the children's screaming escalates to a pitch I cannot ignore. Then I get up and shout at whoever I see first. Victim or offender. I am not fussy. The only time I moved with the speed of light was one day last week when I heard my six-year-old tell the four-year-old: "Look. I have shaved my head." That got me up. Thank God, he was not entirely accurate. He had not shaved it. He had cut a large, sloping chunk out of the fringe. I cut the rest of it to match. It did not look that bad. Sometimes I think I should have been a hairdresser.
The whole process of getting back home is just taking so much time: packing or at least thinking about packing; endless fannying on about bits and bobs of furniture we have managed our entire lives without but which have become critically important to our happiness. Glamorous stuff like pan stackers and trivets. I mean "trivets". How have I managed all these years without a trivet? There was once a time when I did not even know what a trivet was. Ah. The innocence of youth. Then there is the Aga. All sorts of rituals appear necessary when a new Aga is installed. This afternoon, I spent several hours mopping down the sweat from the hulking brute. Normally, I would quite like that. But there was little return. I took up a slightly soapy cloth and washed it first. An hour later, the sweat was running from it. I tell you these things are very demanding. I expected something that would clean itself and do its share of the ironing. What do I get? A traditional "Mop me down and worship at my size". It does not even have any decent conversation. It just stands there saying: "Big aren't I?" over and over. Still, it is on now and it will keep the builders warm.