Tag Archives: Moving

Look before you tilt

The post below is from a few years ago, post-move but pre-builders. The Grandmother was still with us, as was the old fridge. It was winter and cold. No need to feel sorry for me, though. It’s just that moving house and nursing pianos were both on my mind yesterday, so I feel the time has come to mention Mr Sandwich again.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

“The conundrum the other day was how cold it was in the conservatory, aka our dining room. It was probably slightly colder than it was in the fridge (that’s the fridge that came with the house, and which is integrated, and that is why we put up with it being a little on the warm side). It felt ridiculous.

But with the help of an electric heater, the breakfast area improved. That’s the same heater we used to fry our former piano. (It’s not former as in late. It just became unwell.) The Grandmother used to sleep next to the piano when she visited, and she felt the cold, so we put the heater in. It made it nice and warm, and the wood on the piano decided to split.

The piano tuner solved it by adding water. Underneath. It got better.

Fifty years ago I never liked sharing sweets with other children. As you know, I still don’t like lending books, for instance. I’m a bit of a Scrooge. But then came the business of moving house and needing to shrink the belongings.

The piano had to go. So did the saxophone. It didn’t look as though we could sell either instrument and make a satisfying killing. In fact, we’d probably be lucky to give them away. So we did.

Luckily the literary world stepped in, and it turned out one of my author friends had a great need for a saxophone. Problem solved. Another author could use a piano. She sent two piano collector men round to pick it up.

For some reason we started chatting about our tuner. ‘Who did you use?’ asked the men. I told them Mr Sandwich. Within a split second they were both bending their knees and bobbing their heads towards the undercarriage of the piano.

‘No water,’ said one to the other. ‘Phew.’

It turns out Mr Sandwich has quite a reputation for curing ill pianos with water. On some occasions it has still been there when the collector men start tilting the instrument prior to conveying it elsewhere. So they’ve learned that if Mr Sandwich has been involved, it pays to look before you tilt.”

This post is especially for.., well, you know who you are. And discretion is – occasionally – my middle name.

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Kalmar and me

Meet Kalmar, Ivar’s second cousin. Actually, I’m not sure it is Kalmar. That might have been the Habitat cousin once removed. But a witch has to call her shelves by name, so they will be be Kalmar. They came from the Coop in Sweden, and travelled here in that fateful VW van I’ve mentioned before. The one so full of wardrobes  – and shelves – that we thought it’d never make it.

Ivar is the current IKEA ‘equivalent,’ which used to be called Ingo. It’s hard to keep up with these booky boys, who can’t all be Billy. I preferred Kalmar because he was taller. I wanted tall, because that way I’d have room for more books.

The first house the Resident IT Consultant and I lived in had a small livingroom. It had small everything, really, but the livingroom was where the shelves had to go. By the end we had five bookcases in that room. Could have done with more.

Then we moved Kalmar and ourselves to a much larger house, where Kalmar moved from room to room, wherever he was needed. When Offspring wanted space, I reluctantly put Kalmar up for sale in Loot. Luckily, only half the parts were sold, and in the end I decided the remaining two bookcases were just right for Offspring. One in each room. Offspring. Kalmar.

Then the shelves shifted round again, and Daughter got both Kalmars and Son had some new Ivars. When Daughter went to university I appropriated Kalmar for my own needs. And in this latest move, I’m afraid to say I thought Kalmar might go and live in the garage. We do need lots of shelves, but Kalmar is deep, and could theoretically be replaced by someone half as deep, thereby leaving more room for us. (Did I mention this house is smaller? Although not as small as the first house.)

But I am nothing if not dithery, so I have decreed that Kalmar will live in Son’s room (=guest room), but will need to be white. 32 years as pine is more than enough, and white is the new, erm, new, whatever.

So, I am painting. I need to out-paint the Resident IT Consultant, who’s been attached to a paintbrush for far too long. I am the painter here. (For anything of a size that I can reach up to, or bend down to.)

The shelves before

Here stand all 16 Kalmar shelves, awaiting their very first meeting with undercoat. They are in a room which is itself awaiting all manner of things, and is therefore available, and one must make the most of an empty room, now that the Resident IT Consultant has killed and buried its wallful of fitted wardrobes.

The shelves before

I am going to give the undersides of the shelves one coat (undercoat; geddit?), just in case someone sees the pine shine if they lie down on the floor and look up the underneath of Kalmar. Which will have to pay for being too deep by doubling everything. One in front, one in the back.

Home is where the heart is

Someone gave me a heart yesterday.

Heart

Then we consumed tea and cake, and after that we ate an indecent amount of Indian food. I discovered it’s a good thing to have visitors soon after you’ve moved in. No need to be even vaguely tidy, or even clean. I mean the house. I was reasonably clean.

And next time I will forbid the Resident IT Consultant to go to Balmaha. But it worked out all right, and the floor is only a little sticky. (Cue my newly bought mop.)

St George and me

And we’re off. Not this very minute, if you’re an early reader. But barring horrific delays and mishaps and calamities, this is the day.

Does it seem like an un-English thing to move out of the country on St George’s day? ‘snot intentional.

It’s World Book Day. The real WBD, I mean. So I suppose it makes sense that a Bookwitch moves around in the world, a little.

Shakespeare kicked the bucket on this date, and when I looked it up, lots more people as well. Not Cervantes, for some obscure reason. I had laboured under the impression that he and William died on the same day, but Don Quijote’s creator has shifted to a day earlier. Oh, well.

Some were even born on April 23rd. Ngaio Marsh. Halldór Laxness.

Oh look, there’s the dragon..!!!

Scotland for Beginners

1314 an’ a’ that. Well, you can’t say I’ve not picked a good year to move to Scotland. Or place. In fact, by the time we have somewhere to actually live, I suspect we’ll be hitting the Battle of Bannockburn celebrations almost squarely in the face. 700 years…

To be perfectly honest, I’m a little hazy on Bannockburn. Who did what to whom and why? The where is more obvious. We have decided Bannockburn is too far out for us, but there have been some attractively priced houses to consider.

Anyway, Daughter felt I needed a book to help me get by, so she gave me Rupert Besley’s brilliant Scotland for Beginners. I think it helped that she knew I’ve collected his postcards for decades. (They’ve been packed in some box for the move.)

So, it’s got a little bit of everything. It begins with your arrival. Apparently you drive in the middle of the road. And I will do just fine if I say ‘dinna ken’ all the time.

‘A wee way’ is further than ‘no far.’ It mentions the West Highland Way, without which I’d not have had a Resident IT Consultant. (Although I didn’t know the footpath was pioneerd by a motorist in 1980 who set off south from Ben Nevis in search of a phone box. I think he found one in Glasgow.

This useful guide has something to say on kilts, midges and dead haggises (they make good sporrans).

And even without the book I know not to get my hopes up if someone tells me I’ve already had tea. (It’s a tad mean, if you ask me.)

Because I learned to talk while living in southern Sweden, I will have no trouble with the ‘ch’ sound. I just don’t want to be mistaken for a Sassenach.

Rupert Besley, Scotland for Beginners

A last read

We’ve done a lot of lasts recently. It feels very final when you suddenly think ‘I will not be doing that in this house again.’

The Resident IT Consultant

Here is the Resident IT Consultant, reading on the deck. (It probably looks nicer than it is. Personally I prefer to read away from the sun, but he rediscovered the deckchairs and had to have a go.)

The chairs will come with us. So will the book(s). And the Resident IT Consultant.

It’s missing a bedroom upstairs

Did I tell you about our tiny kitchen? We thought it was all right – apart from the cobwebs, the dust and the food stains – in its own modest way. However, all our prospective buyers looked at it and wanted it to be bigger. But you just don’t get farmhouse kitchens where the children can do their homework and get in your way, as you swig wine while making dinner, in Mancunian suburbia. For that price. Besides, if you did, the estate agent would have mentioned it.

As for ourselves, we obviously make perfect house viewers. We have read the description of what we are about to see, and if the kitchen looks a bit small, we are too polite to ask why it isn’t bigger. A person can adapt, can’t they?

One agent said about the house he showed us that other viewers complained that it’s ‘missing a bedroom’ upstairs. As if a bedroom could just up and leave. Again, if the description mentions two bedrooms upstairs, I’d say you’d be unlikely to find three.

Besides, after reading about houses online, I rebuild. So far I have rebuilt, extended or otherwise changed half  the properties for sale in Stirling. In my mind. It’s very easy and it’s fun. There’s not even all that much dust once you’re done.

Cough. Ouch. Didn’t see that lintel there.

We are now halfway along in the famous Bookwitch relocation saga. We used the services of Snape, Defense Against the Dark Estate Agents…