Friday, 2 January 2009

New home, new broadband connection

The First Fortnight

So here I am, cosily tucked away in a green, quiet, safe, pleasant part of Birmingham. It still fills me with a sense of purpose and joy to wake up in my new home; the past few months have been a whirlwind of planning and hoping and waiting and delays and rush and goodbyes and sadness and expectation. As you can imagine, this has left me feeling a little confused and on an emotional roller-coaster. Having long-term friends queuing up to say goodbye is really very odd indeed; what’s worse is when you have done the leaving thing but then you see them at church the following week, because you didn’t quite get away yet…

Anyway, the last piece of the jigsaw of the sale of my flat fell into place on Tuesday afternoon, and by the same evening, the removals man was delivering cardboard cartons and I was in time trouble. His crew would arrive, he said, at 8am on Friday and get my stuff down and away into the van. He kept saying ‘van’, when I felt ‘lorry’ would have been a more reassuring word to use. Two solid days of frantic packing ensued.

As it turned out, the jigsaw relating to the purchase of my new property was not only far from falling into place; it was still in its box, with the cellophane seal around it, and packed deep in Gamley’s warehouse.

At last the lorry was stuffed and the back door sealed, so I walked round to Fox & Sons (Estate Agents) for the last time, to hand over my keys. There was also a chance of catching a final glimpse of the lovely Kerry, resplendent in one of her magnificent jumpers… but sadly she wasn’t there.

And so I no longer lived in Brighton. More than fifty years were over; twenty four of them at the same address.

But we arrived, a little later than anticipated, at Corn Mill Close, and the keys were miraculously ready for collection. I rendezvoused with my dear friends Russ & Alex, and they ferried me across town to the local estate agent.

Walking in to my new home was a voyage of delightful discovery; I’d last been in the place ten weeks before, and had really been looking at the rooms in a general way; ‘good size;’ ‘usuable shape;’ ‘one or two surprising extra bits.’ This was starting to sound a lot like Kerry again…

Anyway, now I was able to examine the rooms I owned in minute detail, and see where the power points were placed (usually in the least helpful places, naturally), look at carpet quality/pattern/stains, and become frustrated at the 40W eco-friendly bulbs in all the light fittings, which took the best part of a week to get up to full strength, which was jus about sufficient to cast dark shadows, but that’s about all.

Russ fired up the central heating while Alex and the boys settled in the lounge/diner for running races. I checked out all the rooms, making snap decisions about which ones would serve the various functions I had in mind. ‘This can be the office/study, just as I’d thought, while I can sleep in there. So, let’s put all the boxes in the big bedroom for now and I can sort it all out as I go along.’

There were a good number of nice surprises. There was a working tv, quite a lot of crocks and things in the kitchen; lamps; several brooms, a mop & bucket, and a dustpan & brush; a collection of cleaning materials in the cupboard under the sink. I was later to discover that I am now the owner of a wheelbarrow and an electric lawnmower, which came as a surprise and a bit of a wake-up call. This was Grown-upsville, Adult City. No longer a first-floor-flat dweller, me. I had grass, hedges, shrubs and a washing line.

The removals men set to with gusto and great endurance. Suddenly, they wanted decisions about furniture, unmarked boxes, things I didn’t recognise…

At long last the final box, package, bag, carton or crate had been brought indoors. The big bedroom wasn’t just full of stuff; it was completely rammed, and it took an hour’s hard slog to move things around sufficiently to get into the room. Meanwhile, my bed and desk were in place; the shelving units were there and the chest of drawers packed with crocks, spice racks and packets of soup was ready to be pressed into a new realm of service as a clothes storage unit.

After a while, it was time for me to be on my own with my new place. There was so much to do, but I was hugely tired.

So, a few days later, I rediscovered the floor of the big bedroom and managed to get all the boxes to range around the edges, which meant I could put some things away in the cupboards and start to sort things out.

But the quantity of crates rammed with books, CDs and DVDs means that I can’t get them out of the way until the bookcases arrive. Meanwhile, the washing mounting up, and the washing machine installation men haven’t yet come. My broadband is ordered and booked for plugging up, but not yet. The new sofa is on order and paid for, but might not be here until the end of March, according to the small print.

That said, I keep tripping over essential everyday things, like my collection of Dinky Toys and large numbers of back issues of various magazines and periodicals. The number of times I’ve checked one particular box in case my nice boots are in there, only to be reminded that this is the one with empty bottles in bewilders me. My system of writing on the carton once I’d put things inside it almost works, except that I can’t read my writing, and when I work it out by examining the contents, I keep noticing that I’ve been less than diligent in listing everything inside each box. And many seem to a be something of a Jamboree Bag.

There’s so much else; voyages of discovery to church meetings and to visit friends; being picked up and taken to fellowship gatherings; having a go at walking to a friends’ home, only to discover that the route I selected, while efficient in it’s way, failed to take into account a road built more recently than the publication date of my map – a road which shortens the journey by about a mile… Then there’s Bus route 29, which takes me from here to a decent shopping street with a good selection of stores; I’ve yet to discover how to get to other places. I suppose I need a good reason to go there, and I’ll be willing to make the effort.

I’ve been invited to get involved with so many things already, which is brilliant. I feel I’m making new friends (or at least meeting people who will probably turn out to be friends in the longer term).

There is sometimes the heavy aroma of burning boat about the place, but that’s only to be expected. God has called me to this place; it’s now his call to lead me in the path everlasting, and to direct my activities from here. I know what I might do, and I know what some of my strengths are. But maybe he has some changes up ahead for me, as well as some things with which I’m familiar…


Jules Burt said...

Hey Andy. Thought I'd pop by and say hello. Great to read your update and hear everyone's being so friendly. Look forward to hearing how God's plans unfold in the months ahead!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and all that. Of course I feel compelled to ask you:

The Mac box – where is it now?

Tim De Marco said...

You've gone! It hits home when you read stuff like this.

This made me laugh because we only moved a few years ago and even though it was just across town, I can relate to so much...

In our house they hadn't heard of bookcases! So Dad designed some and had them built (eventually after months of dodgy MFI(RIP) flimsy rubbish.

I look forward to hearing all about where God takes you.

I have started a new job this week, which is the fulfillment of many promises and 4 years of waiting, but comes with a whole lot of new challenges and reasons to trust God with literally all I can!

God bless you Andy, you'll be in my prayers, Tim

Anonymous said...

Hey Monsiuer le Back. Sorry I missed you before you went to foreign lands - I was a bit under the weather. Turns out I had pneumonia, which can often put a bit of a damper on one's spirits...

Have a great time and it sounds as if the new abode is charming you.

If I am up that way (I sometimes come up to Penkridge, near Cannock, to fly microlights) I'll try to drop in.