Moving day. Mostly, it’s blended into the ripples of time, but a few memories linger. It was Prince Andrew and Fergie’s wedding day and I sat on the old house’s study floor packing the last of the china and other things that had to wait until the last minute, watching it, while the Sage supervised things at the other end. We had been moving stuff for several weeks into the garage over here, as we had far too many possessions to contemplate doing it all in a day.
We had sold our house to people we knew in fact and had agreed a price and shaken hands on it months previously. We then hadn’t heard from them for ages and started to wonder about it – we had entirely trusted their word; they had taken us equally seriously? Eventually we had a phone call and, yes, they had – their house was being sold to a family member so all was being done in trust and goodwill. We agreed a completion date of 1st August but, in the same friendly vein, offered to move out a week earlier and let them have the keys so that they could take their time too.
We chose 23rd July because the next day was our youngest’s second birthday. We still had workmen in the new home and no electricity supply, and we had ordered a new bed for us and one for our daughter which, they told us at the last minute, couldn’t be delivered until the next day. And a sofa and armchairs, we had never bought anything much new before but always frugally gone for second-hand – somehow, spending so much on necessary work on the house made us throw caution to the winds and empty the bank account entirely.
The truth is, people don’t believe a deadline. They always think there’s just a little more leeway. The Sage and I had to explain quite forcefully that we would move, come what may, and after all these months, we did want an electric light. The Aga was working, so we could cook and we had hot water. They rigged up a lead from the granny annex next door and at least we had a light in the kitchen and we could use lamps and torches upstairs. And we had mattresses that the older children could sleep on and Ro had his own small bed. We slept on the spare room bed from the old house, which was going to be Al’s in the future (we’d had an antique half-tester bed, which we had to sell as the ceilings were too low).
Eventually, I packed up the car and drove over to our new home. Which was surprisingly empty, considering we’d moved the contents of a large 6 bedroom house over there. “I wasn’t sure where you wanted everything to go” said the Sage seriously, “so I thought it could all go in the outbuildings until you decided.” This was not altogether welcome news, as I had a worried feeling that we would move in the bare minimum and take ages to start shifting the rest (which, of course, was what happened), but there was nothing to be done then as I had three children and a husband to feed – no idea on what, but I remember cooking by the illumination of a lightbulb on a long extension lead hung on a hook on a kitchen beam, so I did prepare something, and it must have been quite late in the evening, for it to have been dark in July.