I had intended that to mean the much emptier than usual four weeks I am looking ahead to. But there is that empty feeling you get when you realise – halfway up the M6 – that you have no clothes hangers. What you do have is five suitcases filled with clothes, which know nothing better than to hang.
And, when you have cameras and camera chargers, not to mention an iron you won’t need for a while and a hammer and a drill and you had to jettison the mop bucket and the feather dusters, it seems silly (some would say careless) not to have the little camera lead that would enable photos to jump from camera to laptop.
‘Not to worry,’ I thought, ‘I’ll borrow the Resident IT Consultant’s little camera.’ Except he is also missing the magic lead which allows pictures to jump across.
This moving business offered nice symmetry, as usual. On moving to Stockport the Resident IT Consultant had cause to stay in the hotel later used by the Stockport Schools Book Award winners. On moving away, we ended up staying there again. So before leaving town I actually stayed where all these real live authors have slept!
Our many, many years in Stockport involved Roger Whittaker during the first few weeks. The last few weeks involved other Whittakers.
Sugar. It’s almost as easy to forget as clothes hangers and camera leads. I got the requisite mugs and kettle and milk and teabags and biscuits together for the removal men. I almost forgot the sugar. That was no first, either. For our wedding lunch I cooked food for a week and brought everything to the place where it was to be eaten. Just not the sugar for people’s coffee afterwards. (Weren’t our guests sweet enough, already?)
Speaking of food; we had some of that divine spinach and red lentil soup combo on moving day. By that I mean the spinach soup, and the lentil soup leftovers from the recently thawed freezer, which I threw together into pan and heated up, which we had for lunch, along with a piece of nan with melted cheese all over. I suspect I’ve not eaten anything as lovely since that cheese and tomato sandwich I had at Liverpool Street station in 1966.
Once we had limped along the M6 and the various M74s and 73s and whatever else they have up here, we were met by the Grandmother – whose spare room has temporarily replaced the full Bookwitch Towers – and a pile of post. Her postman doesn’t yet realise the force that has been unleashed on him.
One picture book arrived by other means, all on its own in an enormous cardboard box, which the Grandmother had to wait in specially to receive. Being surrounded by all these superfluous items desperately wanting to be re-housed, at least we we were able to find good use for the box, which is empty no more.