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Saturday, August 13, 2005

I hate moving.

It's tiring and stressful and messy and generally horrible.

And, since we've rented this house for just six months (though we could renew the lease if we wanted, I think) we can't even console ourselves by pretending that this is it, this is the house that we'll be in forever.

Thursday was moving day. An hour's drive into Gloucester, an hour and a half checking that everything made it from the mini-containers in the self-storage place into the truck, two and a half hours' drive into Surrey, and a nightmare of boxes and paper and tape when the moving truck arrived. The US packers did a phenomenal job; nothing broke. Not even the tiniest chip in our most delicate china. (Not that our most delicate china is all that delicate, mind you.) However, in order to accomplish that feat, they used a couple of trees' worth of paper for each item, all of which we've had to deal with. We had thought that the movers would take all the packaging away with them, but they refused, so we are having to deal with it. I've never seen so much paper in my life: on Thursday afternoon there was a pile about seven feet high, ten feet long and six feet wide. Plus all the boxes. I felt like crying when I looked at it. Either that, or burrowing my way into the middle of it all and never coming out.

Yesterday I had to drive back to Gloucestershire (three hours each way) to clean the house where we'd been staying, and also to collect Emily's medicine from the doctor there. It's funny, when we first got here the speed limits seemed dangerously high; we couldn't imagine anyone would want to drive at fifty miles an hour along those little roads. But we've acclimatised to the extent that it's now an effort to stay within the limit. Have to watch out for those sheep in the Forest of Dean, though - it's just like cows in the Transkei.

So far, I have nothing but good things to say about the NHS. Although the doctor didn't seem to have ever come across GHD before, and had no clue about the various brands of growth hormone - didn't even know that it's administered by injection - he did manage to get a month's supply of Emily's miniquicks for us. I think it was quite a mission for him - I had a couple of phone calls from him where he sounded rather stressed about all the hoops he was having to jump through to get it - but he managed in the end, just in the nick of time, as she has only two shots left of the ones we brought from the states.

By the time I got home yesterday night I felt dizzy with tiredness; I'd had to stop at the grocery store on the way home - the last thing I felt like doing after a day of driving, cleaning, running errands (including going to the post office to pick up a package of climbing stuff that Bobby had ordered from the US ... unfortunately the amount of money he saved by ordering it from REI was negated by the fact that he had to pay twenty five pounds in customs and excise. Gah.) And the thing about grocery shopping in a new country is that it takes so much longer, because all the brands are unfamiliar (it's hard to choose washing powder, for instance, when all the brands look equally strange) and things are in different places to where you expect them to be. In the local grocery store, for instance, the eggs aren't near the milk, which is where I'd expect to find them. Instead, they're on a shelf next to the flour.

Anway, tired and bad-tempered though I was when I got home, I was happy to see our new fridge and new washer and new dryer, and to see the huge inroads that Bobby and Stephen had made on the paper mountain.

It's funny, our experience in the states was always that it was cheaper and easier to buy things like appliances from big stores like Sears. Here, though, we actually got a way, way, better deal from the small appliance store on the local high street, just round the corner from us, than we could find at any of the major chains. And, we got infinitely better service.

Today we made major inroads on the house-moving chaos. By this afternoon, we'd managed to take most of the paper to the recycling place, and the municipal waste removal people have said that they'll take the boxes on Monday. So we can relax about that part of things. All the beds are assembled, and made, the desks are set up, the living-room is livable-in ... There're no built-in closets in the bedrooms though (fairly typical for UK houses, so everyone tells us) so, until we hit Ikea, our clothes are still in the wardrobe boxes that the movers put them in. Very classy. And our linen cupboard is a series of cardboard boxes stacked one on top of the other, which is neither aesthetically pleasing nor particularly functional.

I think we're going to be very happy in this house. It has enough space for the five of us, it's attractive, and it's in a fantastic position. I love being able to walk everywhere that I need to go. On Thursday night, for instance, we treated ourselves to a meal out, and, instead of climbing into the car, we could just stroll around the corner to any of eight or nine restaurants.

Tomorrow my parents are coming to visit us, and I think my dad and Bobby will want to go to a local air show. Personally I would just as soon stick pins in myself as watch aeroplanes buzzing around so I am hoping that my mom and I can do something civilised while the two of them are giving their testosterone full reign.

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