An overdue Moan-fest.

OK it’s getting on for late February and we packed up our stuff into a container in mid-October. We’ve had Christmas and two birthdays. People say it’s liberating living out of a suitcase. It’s not: it’s annoying. Now we’re in an unfurnished place and it feels about time we got our STUFF BACK ALREADY!!! You know – things like saucepans and sheets and pillows and a fridge. Maybe a sewing machine and a bike even – the things that make life sweeter. You wouldn’t believe how much I’ve missed my washing machine – I can hardly believe it myself. I didn’t think I’d miss my hairdryer but I’ve been walking round with my hair looking like a yellow triangle for months, and that’s not great when you’re trying to make new friends. Also, you never know when you might end up live on global television (did I ever mention..)!! It’s all 1st world problems I know – we’re lucky to be healthy, some people have nothing etc etc. I’m OK really, just having a little whine – no need for you to panic.

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(not our actual container)

So anyway our stuff is in a container out at sea somewhere … ‘What is in there?’ I hear you cry. ‘Was it worth it?’ Well yes – because in my mind we’re making a home and we wanted familiar things around us. We had to weigh up the cost of shipping things against the cost of buying it all over again. The company asked us to put a value on our possessions, down to every set of teaspoons – it was the most boring Sunday afternoon I have ever spent, I was beside myself with tediosity. Then we had to pay a percentage of that value for insurance. Our stuff came out so low in value that they believed we were trying to trick them. They had a clause that it you undervalue your things they’ll only pay a small percentage back (so let’s hope there’s no shipwrecks ahead). Then they said we had a ‘higher than average number of expensive things’ (musical instruments mainly) so guess what – we had to pay extra. Then when they came to actually pack up, they estimated we had half as much stuff again as the lady had recorded when she originally visited. (Surely that’s her problem not ours? But anyway..)

We don’t have priceless antiques. But some things I value, and you might find them odd. Rather than sympathy or ‘you’re nearly there’ comments I would LOVE it at the end if you would share with the group what your valued items are .. or what luxury item you would take to a desert island (like my hair drier – who knew?) It’ll be way more fun for us all.

OK, first thing I was definitely keeping was an old trunk that I nicked out of a skip on a dark winters night after a prayer meeting on Palatine Road. It was on the drive of an empty house so everything felt really scary and hilarious. My friend Steve got the bit between his teeth and quicker than you could say ‘is this illegal?’ he whipped out a power torch from his Man Bag and climbed in the skip, with the aid of pulleys and ropes slung around his waist (not really. I am pretty sure he’d been dying for a chance to use that torch though.) It was great fun. Colin hates that trunk. It’s probably worth about 20p. It had old mans’ jumpers in it (which I haven’t paid to ship).

Number two: my hanging chair which I bought in Chichester with Becks and it was a few days after a distressing, aggressive protest had taken place outside our church meeting. Some people had gone out of their way to intimidate my beloved church family so I was uncharacteristically gung-ho in my shopping. We CRAMMED that seat into the back of her car, and the stand and everything, and whizzed back to Worthing, quite giddy, to collect our kids and look all ‘oh I’ve been hard at work all day’-ish in the playground. I have always felt that the swinging chair belongs in a South African garden, not a lounge in West Sussex, and I have often dreamed of swinging in it, watching a sunset or somesuch whilst Colin serenades me or brings me a glass of ice-cold white wine. Maybe the kids would be reading me poetry too. Well I can dream…

Three: our piano. I fell down a HOLE to get that piano so who can measure its value? I was getting out of the drivers seat when Evie was a few months old, and instantaneously I was staring across the earth at eye-level, wondering how the world had tipped up.. I just couldn’t figure out what had happened. Luckily Husband was in the passenger seat and when he looked over, he wondered why I was lying on the floor? Then he realised he could only see my head. He manfully hauled me out of the hole – lucky he was there really, as I’d have had to shout for help and Evie was tiny so her arms wouldn’t have been long enough – ha ha! I actually got compensation from the manhole company (but only because they never apologised for their loose cover otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered). I bought the piano with the money they gave me. I also have a large lump on the side of my leg as a momento of that incident. Now I live in a hot country I kind of wish I’d dealt with the lump when I was offered the chance but hey. Man it hurt… I guess I bumped into the metal lining of the hole as I fell in.

Four: my sofa with the denim cover that took me EIGHT YEARS to complete. I didn’t spend eight years wrestling with that thing just to ditch it. Anyone who knows me knows that it is held together with velcro, safety pins and dried-on tears. Ha!

Lastly: my photo albums and scrapbooks, but maybe even MORE precious: my book of things the kids said when they were young. Pure_comedy_gold… you think you’ll remember these things but you don’t. It has all kinds of nonsense in, like a little letter:

“Dear dad, did you have fun at Cambodia? Did your willy go up when the plane was taking off?” 

Child A, watching TV: “Ughhhh, kissing is disgusting” . Child B: “Yeahhhh, and…did you know…, well,  green is a bogie colour”

And loads of little pictures… this one cracks me up – it’s not that old but it is a window into the workings of Fin’s space-cadet brain. He was bored in an RE lesson at school. It’s a duck, drawn from different angles. Note the teacher’s underwhelming response – it makes me laugh every time.

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Careers advice welcome… 

Evie was prolific in her youth, “Family rools. No fightin. No fartin in the fiya” (fire)

And more recently, “Mum, I wish I could feel your pain so I could say I feel your pain’.”

There’s plenty more where that came from – if we ever run out of things to talk about I’ll publish more (or if there’s enough demand).

What a lot of worthless tat. One person’s worthless tat = somebody’s treasure.

Thanks for listening. I feel better for having a whine. And now, over to you –  what would YOU pay to ship if you were emigrating? And also feel free to share your stories of falling down a manhole because I’ve been amazed how many people I’ve met who had the same experience. One was even upside down!!