Thursday, January 21, 2016

Life is peaceful there...

"Churn" the word I used, and so far it's described things perfectly. The van was speeding along the North Circular, and things had already happened which shouldn't have, and not happened which should.

"It's all just churn, it'll be forgotten about in a few weeks," I declared, waving away the weeks until life was to resume some semblance of normality.

And there has been no shortage of churn in the last three days. It's only now that I've finally got enough time and brain-space to write some of it down so that the second half of my prediction doesn't come true.

First things first: I've left a house after three years, in which I loved and was loved. That sounds pretty sentimental written down, but it's also true so there's no point being shy about it. I was really happy and at home in Evershot Road, and closing the door without keys in my pocket felt like a ceremonial moment:

The packing had gone more or less to plan, which is to say that I'd done all "the hard stuff" (by which I meant "the easy stuff", by which I meant all the chunky easily-categorised stuff like my stereo, and my computer and the main body of my very limited clothing selection) which left me only with EVERYTHING ELSE, which meant a thousand tiny things I'd never have thought of and could categorise only under "Misc." My fellow packers were patient and generous with their time, help and advice as I grew increasingly slapdash in my approach to sorting and packaging. This process ends in the only way it can, with me stuffing a rogue pair of socks found down the back of a cabinet into my coat pocket as I shut the door for the last time.

The van was packed and I decided to use my hard-won local knowledge one last time before embarking for a place where I had none. I decided to turn the van around instead of hitting the busy junction at the south end of my road. This led to the inevitable misjudgement, and Austin Powers-style multi-point turn with impatient onlookers, culminating in me reversing the van into a pole:
 Putting this merrily down to churn we pointed the van westward. It later turned out to be a long scratch and a flapping piece of bumper, the kind of damage I'm sure will end up costing all my £500 excess.

Spirits were lifted by a trip to the services: I don't know what it is about these places but I always leave feeling strangely elated. It's probably nothing more than being full of Burger King additives and Costa caffeine, but I love it and it always makes me feel like holiday.

The rest of the move has been pretty smooth. I have felt London impatience rise up in me every time something is moving at less-than Zone 1-velocity but my stuff is safely in storage, and the van has been safely collected, despite some nervous moments when we thought we'd be charged an extra day for missing the collection rendez-vous. But I'm sure this rising impatience will disperse over time, and I'll return to what I think is probably my natural state: that of being lit by a powerful Bristolian sun while taking all the time in the world to drink my Bristolian coffee.

Quick summary for the everything-else stuff:

So far I've stayed in, and moved out of a lovely but cold AirBnB with a handsome musician in his early 50s, who had a songwriting session with his floaty songwriting pals the night I arrived, and we all had vegan soup and oohed in harmony to songs about dragons.

I've been to see my new office (!) at the University. It's up two flights of a grand old staircase in a converted Victorian house, then up a further narrow "mad sister in the loft"-style flight, right up in the eves. I'm a bit worried about how out-of-the-way it is, but the kitchen is just one floor below so hopefully there'll be hanging out with my new colleagues.

I'm living with some very kind friends now until possibly the end of the month, at which point I'll have at least had some flat viewings. Until then I'm happy and well and looking forward to the first task of my new career: marking exams. Hmmm....


  1. Good to know you made it safely. The video of the door was appropriately dramatic. YouTube helpfully suggests some other videos of doors closing at the end.

    x A

  2. Who's A? (I have a few possibilities in mind!)

  3. Rob! What's going down in Bristol? Email me please.