Sunday, 5 November 2017

Transient's diary: end of the epic

Transience, as the word itself implies, comes to an end. Ours has. We’re back home, and a home transformed, if not quite as completely transformed as was planned, but more of that later.

Like all good operations – and I’m thinking of D-day, for instance, as an example of comparable scale – the enterprise got under way the day before the main action. With my impeccable sense of priorities, I wanted to make sure that the house was reconnected with phone, WiFi and, above all, a service to run both our TVs. Because we now have two TVs, but more of that later too.

So I was in the house the day before making sure that the engineer knew what to do. For instance, when I told him we wanted a TV connection in our new bedroom, on the new top floor, he did that teeth-sucking thing so many technicians like.

“Ooh, I don’t think I can do that,” he assured me with obvious satisfaction, “the only way I could get a cable in would be by drilling a hole through the window frame. It can’t come through the wall, you know, it’s covered in tiles and if I tried to drill, they'd shatter.”

“What about using that cable, then?” I asked pointing to the cable end sticking out just where we wanted the TV.

“Oh, I don’t know what that’s for. Is it for a satellite?”

“No. It’s the connection the electrician put in for us.”

“Oh! You mean got it put in special, like?” 

The tone was "why didn't you tell me before? Perhaps before getting my hopes up that I'd get away quickly?"

I showed him the other end of the cable, he tested both ends, and lo and behold, it worked. So we have the second TV.

What was good is that I also came round to feed Misty, the cat, for the last time of his cruel separation from us. I was delighted to see that he was already inside the house. He’d been outside before. So he’s mastered the new pet flap! A great relief.

I have to call it pet flap, by the way, because the girls, Luci and Toffee, think it’s a small dog flap and Misty thinks it’s a cat flap, and it doesn’t pay to put any of them out.

They were with me, by the way, the girls. Misty was delighted to see them, so the reunion went swimmingly, as they all gathered on the patio, inspecting the pet flap and each other.

A household reunited
The move itself happened the following day. Danielle realised that this was the fifth time in just seven years we’d used the same Polish removals company, such has been our sad nomadic existence since we reached Luton. This will have been the last, partly because we don’t want to keep bobbing about like that, but partly also because our Poles – the hardest-working, most skilled removals men we’ve ever worked with – have decided to go home. Ah, Brexit, Brexit: the gift that never stops costing.

The manager of the removals team agreed to put up our new bed for us (new bedroom, new bed). But then he decided that he had to go to another job. I suspect that he took a look at the flat pack kit and realised how long it was going to take. 

I didn’t.

IKEA stuffs not that hard. Its a bit like the model aircraft kits I used to build as a child: you take it a step at a time and follow the instructions. Its just that with a bed it takes a tad longer.

Bed-building under way.
Why the carpet? See below
Use a carpet or it will end in tears
Who am I to query Swedish wisdom?
I bet it would have taken our Pole less time than it took me, but that still would have been a few hours. In my able hands it was a five-hour job and left me exhausted. Still, it was eventually done, meaning that we could spend our first night back in the new room, right up at the top, and wake up to a view of a clear blue sky over the tops of the houses behind us.

No picture of the bed collapsed, because it hasn't. Yet.
What we weren’t able to do, through lateness and tiredness, was make use of the new TV (I told you I’d come back to it). The idea is to be able to watch TV from in bed. That means that when we’re put to sleep by some contemporary fairy tale or another – perhaps something based on the premise that, against all experience, all it takes to be a successful US president is honesty and decency, we wouldn’t have to wake up again to brush our teeth and make our way to the bedroom.

Ingenious, right? Well, we shall test it tonight.

And what about the completeness of the transformation? Well, there are a few minor bits and pieces still to deal with. Like the installation of a fire sprinkler system. The building contractor was adamant we didn’t need one. The building inspector says otherwise. So walls on which the paint has barely dried will have to be channelled out again, for electric power and water. But this time we’re not moving out.

Anyway, when was a building job ever completed without the odd hiccough and setback? Never, you tell me, and I agree. And, after all, I know that soon this too will end.

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