Wednesday, May 06, 2009

On the road

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Way back in February, the family convened at the farm to bicker over agree on who would have what furniture, pictures and other stuff my parents had collected over a lifetime. All in all, it was a good-natured affair - as far as these things can be. Mostly it was a case of 'I'd quite like that if no-one else wants it...' or 'no, no. That's OK. You have it. As long as it's staying in the family...' Since my older brother and sister had both come up by train, I only have room enough in the Batmobile for the Horse Doctor and our dogs, and my little brother is moving into the farmhouse anyway, nothing was actually taken away at the time.

I did, however, suggest that the best thing to do would be to hire a big truck, fill it up with stuff, and drive it round the country delivering heirlooms. Much cheaper than hiring Pickfords or the Shore Porters, and almost certainly less would get damaged.

Fast forward a few months, and a certain Bearded Writist invited me up to celebrate the launching of his latest book. Not having a day job at the moment, this seemed like a good time to put the great delivery plan into action.

Now, back in February, it looked very much like I wasn't going to be able to afford to buy out my other siblings from the farm, as I wanted to. Circumstances have changed since then, and it may well be that a move back to Scotland next year is on the cards. So far from needing to bring my pickings down, there's a basement of stuff here in Wales that could really do with going up into storage. Handily, there's several thousand square feet of unused farm buildings, some of which are relatively wind and watertight, into which everything can go.

So last Friday I went to Dundee and hired a large van. On Saturday I loaded it up with many wondrous things, including the enormous dining table I made at school, which my sister has more use for then me. On Sunday, accompanied by Haggis the Lucky Labrador and the SausageDog, I drove down to Suffolk and unloaded about three quarters of the cargo. On Monday I drove from Suffolk to Devon, where my older brother lives, and got rid of almost everything else. Yesterday I drove from Devon to Wales, where I collapsed in a heap - a thousand miles in a transit van is not as fun as you might think.

Today has been mostly about carrying boxes of books and other important stuff out of the basement where they've been living for the past year, round from the back to the front of the house, up a dozen or more steep steps and into the back of the van. There's now almost as much in there as there was when I started out, and by the time I'm finished there'll be comfortably more.

Tomorrow I will leave at crack of sparrow and head back to Fife. When I get there, hopefully my little brother will be waiting to help me unload everything, as the van has to be back in Dundee by lunchtime on Friday. By then I'll have racked up 1500 miles in it, give or take. I'm not sure I'm going to want to do that again, at least for a very long while. If we can manage to sell this place in Wales next year, maybe I'll take my chances with the Shore Porters anyway.

On the plus side, the van is so old it has a cassette player rather than a CD, and as I was clearing out my room at the farm I stumbled upon a pile of old tapes from when I was at school. Japan, Thomas Dolby, Genesis, The Doors, Depeche Mode, Ultravox, John Foxx, The Associates, there's even some old recordings from the charts, complete with cut-off-in-mid-sentence voiceovers. Poptastic! I've been trucking down memory lane, reliving my misspent youth and wondering why the hell we ever thought 12" singles were a good idea.

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