November 10th: the day I made the move. And, yes, it was traumatic.
Having decided that Maggie would cope just fine with three utterly adorable Swiss Valais Blacknose lady-sheep to care for, I found myself bawling whilst placing an advert online for them. Deina and Frieda – my two pure-bred ewes, were not a pair I wanted to part with.
Thankfully, a friend saved the day, and we came up with a loan agreement to get her flock off the ground. So in reality, it was more of an “au revoir” situation than an all-out Spice-Girls-devastation-level “good bye, my friend”, but I still cried and cried when it came to actually farewelling. I am content that they will be brilliantly cared for, but nonetheless it tugs at my heartstrings thinking that they won’t be there for a cuddle and a selfie when I go home to visit. In fact, I’m gulping down thick knots just writing about it.
Anyway by the time I actually got off the train at Paddington, I had lost the red-eye look and was excited to see our new home. It’s better than I remembered: a deep clean has worked wonders!
Whilst I knew that there would be some challenges involved, I absolutely underestimated quite how challenging moving is. And how expensive. I nearly fell off my chair when a company that rhymes with Wickfords quoted well in excess of £2000 to move what is really a bedroom-full and some kitchen appliances my nan has bought me. She’s afraid that as a millennial, I don’t know where to start with food prep and won’t be keeping my man happy. I didn’t tell her that’s what Agent Provocateur was for these days. Anyway I £2000 is over half what Rhys payed to ship and entire flat home from China. Actual China! I refused, and instead employed a ‘man with a van’ with a dubious online reputation to meet my belongings in Reading services – I made my mother drive it that far in the horse lorry – for less than £500 quid.
Once it had been delivered, I thought we were basically ‘home and dry’ and the few ‘bits and bobs we needed would be a breeze. Not so. I knew that my cooking skills would require ‘non-stick’ and the rest of it would be equally as ‘no-brainer’ straightforward, right? Wrong.
Here’s the thing, I hate actual shopping. I do it all online. I find it an assault on the senses: lights too bright, flashing LED sounds, ‘unbeatable offers’, sickly instrumental tunes on a loop and equally sickly wafts of doughnut. Then screaming children, men in tracksuit bottoms and people who amble infuriatingly slowly sap you of any energy at all.
Three hours in, with just a jug Rhys found delightful and no seating whatsoever for our flat, I was losing the will. I lost it completely when he started tasting coffee in the Nesspresso shop. In the end, it was a blessing that by the time we got to John Lewis, it was 20 minutes from closing. I sent Rhys to the till whilst myself and a lovely man called Blair who knew more than I ever care to about Tupperware did a smash’n’grab of the contents of my list. We were so exhausted when we got home that supper was cereal eaten on the bed just like our uni days.
The following morning, I woke with a new found respect for my mother. I didn’t know that even buying a clothes horse required degree level of insight. I wonder where on earth she acquired the emotional and technological intelligence to successfully purchase a courgette sprializer?! But, as I descended the stairs to the kitchen, frustration melted away and I witnessed what it truly meant to be a young professional and rubbish at ‘homeware’: there he was, sat on a metal fold-up chair, jabbering away mid-phone-meeting with his team back in China, with two laptop screens balanced precariously on the abandoned ironing board from the hallway. It’s good to giggle, right?