'Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep...'. The alarm was annoyingly pestering me. The onset of a battle begun between my dream-world and reality, and reality was winning. I knew today was important for some reason, but what was it? As I sleepily came around into consciousness I remembered. It was Tuesday and, it was moving day.
'One, Two, Three', I started; 'One, Two, Three, hup!' I jumped up out of bed and immediately nearly got back in again- it was COLD. The gas and electricity had been shut off the day before, so there was no possibility of heat. Fortunately I had left out my sheepskin jogging pants, vest and pink 'juicy couture' tracksuit top. Stylish, yet comfy, there was no excuse to be scruffy- and no amount of graft would force me to have a builders' backside and greasy tied back hair.
I looked at the clock, it was 8am. The removal van and Peter would be here in half an hour. There wasn't much left to do now. I had been up till gone midnight, wrapping and boxing my life away into categorised and clearly labelled containers. I had spent the best part of the month collecting bubble wrap and empty cardboard boxes from various supermarkets. I had moved enough times to know the drill; start packing at least a week before the day and remember to leave essentials to the last possible opportunity. My essentials were my 'Tigi' professional shampoo and conditioner, hair-dryer and straighteners (obviously), mirror, make-up and a satisfactory change of clothes enough to last for two days.
Earlier on in the week my Mother had gallantly made an appearance and rescued me from ruining a perfectly good manicure on account of dis-assembling bedroom furniture and the likes. My mother is so domesticated I just do not know why I didn't get the genes passed on down to me. Oh well, I possessed other important skills such as delegation and telling people what to do. Or were they the same thing, I can't remember?
Anyway, I was good at it, which reminds me, I must tell the removal men to be especially careful with the box marked 'Denby'. It was full of ostentatious, unused crockery and crystal. I thought it was hideous but apparently it was high fashion. I couldn't see the point seen as my cereal and soup diet required only one bowl, one spoon and enough wine glasses for the Girls. Still, to 'keep up with the Jones's', as they say- which, incidentally, is precisely why I was now moving to a bigger and better house.
'Bang, bang, bang', the house shook 'Knock, knock' 'Brring, brringgg' the front door, window and doorbell all chorused in alarming calamity. The builders had arrived. It was a good job that I had remembered not to pack the kettle. Running downstairs in my brand new designer Ugg boots, (handmade and imported direct from Australia this season no less), I nearly tripped down the bare carpet less stairway and just managed to grab on to the banister. ''Phew'', I thought. It was hard work this moving house malarkey.
Opening the door, I was greeted with 'Morning love, Peter said he'd be a bit late- stuck in traffic or something. If you tell us where t' start, me n' Gray'll get a move on. We've got 'nother job t'be at by twelve.' Followed by some sort of grunt, and what can only be described as a highly un-hygienic gesture involving picking one's trousers out from 'there'…….. 'Any chance of a cuppa?' he snorted. Hmmmm…….raised eyebrow and disdain from me. Utterly perplexed and slightly peeved, I wondered 'Do these people have any self awareness? Possibly dropped on head as a baby- or another similary tragic event leading to his urchiness. Or perhaps I had banged MY head, and we were back in 1953 with chimney sweeps and rag and bone men. 'Surely not' I considered. 'Aha, I still have my Uggs on. Phew that was a close one.......'
All I had heard from the removal man's utterances was the hopeful 'any chance of a cuppa?' He was speaking so fast and I couldn't help be notice that he and 'Gray' did not look very physically able. I was expecting a burly Gerard Butler type pair, but they were scrawny and chicken like. I had a lot of heavy stuff to move. 'Erm, hi, come in. Would you like tea or coffee, herbal or decaf?'- although I immediately regretted my perfect hostessing, and thought 'where the hell did I put the decaf?'- 'If he wants decaf, I'll just have to pretend it is....' I supposed- '...is that illegal though? I read something in Cosmopolitan about deception I'm sure- falsifying caffeine content is a grey area I'd think- hardly serious, but still. Where there's blame......'
The man who wasn't Gray' looked at me a little strangely for some reason. 'Just good old tea please, one sugar for me, none for Gray. We'll start upstairs if that's o.k.?' This was clearly more of a statement than a question; as he barged past me and lumbered up the stairs- I doubt he even registered my utter look of horror and baited breathe. Making the tea I gritted my teeth and scrunched my eyes, not from ritual but sheer nervous tension as I heard boxes being bashed around, discharged down stairs, scraping over walls and practically bouncing via their escape through the front door and landing haphazardly into the removal van. I really hoped that they were paying attention to the boxes labelled 'fragile', I'd even stuck on pink and silver glitter to make it stand out, plus, it made the boxes look pretty.
After the tea had been drunk and several vile cigarettes smoked, the remainder of the boxes were shipped into the van, which had dominated my old cul-de-sac. It was time for one last look around the house. Even though it was at least in the 70s outside, it seemed frosty inside. The floorboards creaked and groaned sounding like a deep cry echoing up into the attic. It all seemed so sad and final, and it was, but it was just a house.
I stood at the door and sighed, and I do believe my heart started to beat a little faster...........I remembered the many nights I had come home late, unable to find my key as always, freezing and desperate to get inside into my familiar warm castle. Many evenings I had arrived home after a devilish day at work, and exhaled as I went over the threshold, kicked off my heels, turned on my lamp and CD of choice and checked my mail and messages, glad to be home. My home. All my pictures of my fabulous friends- my parties and the afterwards indiscriminate evidence that a good time had been had by all.......
All the times I had ran a bath whilst simultaneously putting a wash on, making the bed and travelling through the house on auto-pilot in comfort and at ease, the hum of the fridge and central heating and all the familiar noises the house would express. I would have to get used to new noises now.
My old home was now an empty shell. The only things left were ghostly re-runs of the past. My new house was waiting and I shouldn't be late. There was a bottle of pink champagne waiting on ice after all, and the girls would be arriving to help me unpack the champagne glasses. I had a moving house party to plan, new house presents to receive and I absolutely had to introduce myself to the rather handsome boy next door. Time for some new, sparkly memories.