Picture this… a moody rainy day saying” leave me alone, I just want to hang low today….” 7am mist and mud. The cat is at boarding school while I sit on boxes munching on a stale croissant and a glass of water for breakfast. The big truck pulls up and three men pile out of The Beast, bleary eyed and none too pleased at the early start.
“G’day..”chatter chatter….”It’s a small house we should have this knocked over by 10am”
I mention the storage unit full of stuff. Their mood descends as they try to manoeuvre The Beast around tight corners and along muddy unmade roads. But they’re locals so they know the terrain well. While I pretend to be in control and direct traffic they work around me and manage to haul a weighty sofa bed down steep twisted narrow stairs. I see a heavy wooden credenza turn into a bag of feathers as these men lift it in in the air and navigate the pretty but totally impractical stone steps I built. I hover as they load my antique wooden chest and anxiously mumble something about “very expensive …antique… oak……” while my subtext is…” drop that precious antique and you’ll be dead!”
After a while I see that I’m superfluous and tired and hungry so I shuffle off down the street for breakfast. The team encourage this idea and though I’d invented a cure for Corona Virus. When I return the house has been emptied and even massive terracotta garden urns stand smiling in the truck. The truck boss says the words that I don’t want to hear..”Nora there’s a problem……”
The big truck is packed to the hilt and we’ve still got the storage unit in town to clear. …what??!!! The Beast has managed to devour 68 boxes and a house of furniture but there’s art work and more furniture in the store…and clothes I haven’t seen for 6 months and untold other treasures. Head office is informed and the call is out for another truck to come and help. The Beast’s sister arrives and is put to work. A smaller more manageable truck that is soon filled with treasures from the storage unit.
It’s early afternoon when I can pick up the keys to my new home and the exciting part begins. There’s an urgency now as time ticks by and the pace is more Olympic athlete than soft shoe shuffle. My intricate labelling systems for boxes goes largely unheaded as 2 trucks spew out their contents in random order. Chaos is tempered with excitement and laughter…. and challenges. The frig doesn’t fit in the kitchen! The troops gather to brainstorm… there’s room in the bathroom??? Nah………We rename the oversized frig a Domestic Art Installation and it sits proudly in the living – room not far from the dining table. I’m sure I measured the space in the kitchen…? Oh well………
The Beast disgorges my boundless treasures as I stand in the centre of the mayhem directing traffic….. “Yes the credenza goes here…over there.. No it needs to go further to the right….that’s it.” All pleasantries are cast aside as the Major General barks directions with only the occasional please and thank you..it’s nearing 5pm on a Friday and the troops are ready for a cold beer. Snap decisions are made about placement of furniture.. anything in the “Unsure” category is relegated to The Garage…..fast becoming a house in it’s own right…such lofty ideals!
Suddenly the front door closes and they are gone. The trucks hurtle out of the driveway and three thirsty heroes head off to find that beer. I sit and stare at the mayhem that is my new home. Relieved that we made it. Two house settlements completed. Money in the bank. One house emptied and the new house smiling expectantly at what the future brings. Soft rain falls outside as I sit on the bare boards and look around me at the chaos. A friend bearing fish and chips and a bottle of wine comes to visit. Never have greasy fish and chips been more welcome! I eat for England and we laugh about the day’s mishaps and adventures.
” I’m too old for this!” I say…….” I don’t think I’ve ever used those words before, but tonight, looking around me at the work to come I feel an age that I’m unfamiliar with.