It is a curious thing, but the more I prepare for my move, and I’ve just been told that I will need 186 boxes by the removal company responsible – 186! 186! help! and that’s after the cull – the more the chaos in this normally reprehensibly untidy house mounts. Everything is going somewhere – upstairs, downstairs – but nothing is actually arriving. Everything is in transit throughout the property. It might be easier to hire a dustcart and use that for the move, but I don’t want to upset my new neighbours before I have had a chance to get to know them.
Most poignant of all in this book-strewn disaster area (‘Have you read all of them?’ – that’s what everyone who comes here says. ‘Nearly all,’ I say, in an alternately calamitous or pompous tone) is the way that, wedged upside down in the bathroom, where it has slipped, apparently, from the edge of the sink, is ‘Feng Shui – 100 ways to declutter your home’, a book of estimable value which is now probably the most cluttersome item of all.
Feng Shui is what Mrs. G. aspires to. I have my doubts. It is probably true that if your pathway is clear, then you will have a happy home. But I have long been resigned to a bit of emotional blockage.
When you say to South-Westerners that you are moving to the North-East, their response is much as if you have announced that you will be on the next train to the gulag. It is hard work having to explain that it feels as if I am coming to the end of my sentence, and being allowed to go home. It also turns out that 99% of those who live in the South-West have formerly lived in the North-East. I had to go and see someone I couldn’t spell the other day – an endocrinologist; low calcium, possible treatment, do nothing or maybe top up on Vitamin D, there’s a bit of a debate about it – and he suddenly beamed and recalled having spent late nights on a weekend in the Bigg Market in Newcastle. His friend wouldn’t go, because his friend was from Sunderland, and feared his accent would be spotted. I think it will take a while before my accent returns in any way, shape or form.
But maybe I’m a bit old for the Bigg Market, anyway.