Home 2021 – The Great House Extension Project (Days 130 – 134)

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Sunday, 28th February 2021 – The Great House Extension Project (Days 130 – 134)

And so, as of 26th February, we no longer had any of our possessions in storage anywhere! It’s an excellent feeling, as well as a substantial financial saving. Needless to say there was still a deal of work involved in getting there.

The Monday was spent running backwards and forwards to the last storage space, in Northampton, and dragging boxes out, loading them into my car, and driving them back home. It also saw the continuation of the bizarreness of Ikea at present. Having woken up at stupid o’clock (around 3 a.m.) and not being able to get back to sleep, I had a further nose around to see if the tall, thin bookcases/DVD storage units we wanted were available by some means other than driving halfway across the country to get them, or paying half as much again as they cost to get them delivered (or not if DPD had anything to do with it). Not expecting to get anywhere, I loaded them into the online basket again, then clicked through to see if I could collect, and NOW, NOW, they would let me collect from Milton Keynes. And in fact, despite having booked it to collect on Tuesday, the message was very clear, and I could collect it any time I wanted up until 4 p.m. on Tuesday. I legged it over and grabbed the units, and then had to drive home avoiding left turns because I couldn’t see over the packages! I got them home, built them, and we almost immediately started loading them up.

I took Wednesday off and unloaded all the boxes from my car and started sorting through them to see if we wanted to keep anything in them. What was in them was videos, lots and lots and lots of videos. No, we really didn’t want to keep most of them. The important ones are in a pile in a single box, and the rest were loaded back into my car and hauled to the local recycling centre (or the tip as we all call it). That was interesting. There have been queues there a lot of late, but this was something else again, snaking back from the entrance, blocking the entrance to Aldi’s car park, and running out onto the A5. I made several passes before the queue had reduced enough that I felt I could face it. In between I went home and did more sorting. Eventually, around 4.30 I decided I really had no choice but to brave the queue. I took a book. I needed it. It took over an hour from joining the queue to being able to get out again. There really cannot be a household in the neighbourhood that has any rubbish, unwanted furniture or anything else to get rid of. I spoke to one of the workers there, and he said he’d never seen anything like it, and it had been going on all week.

Thursday I worked, but in the evening I finished building the dining area light fitting that I’d started on Wednesday. This involved clipping 84 individual “crystal” drops onto 84 separate wires, which had to first be unclipped from the base, removed from their individual plastic bags, and then, once I had managed to prise the ends of the wire apart far enough to clip into the crystal, rehung from the baseplate in the correct position. This was not a job that could be done by one person, because the crystal clipping on stage required at least three hands! We managed to do three-quarters of the damned things the first day and finished them Thursday lunchtime. I ended up with blisters on the side of both index fingers, but it does look fabulous. Which is just as well.

Late on Friday morning I got the call to say that the man and van (OK, men and van) combination were on their way to the storage unit in Northampton. I headed over there to meet them and supervise the loading of the dining table, the wall unit/dresser and the pieces of the desk that is to become a work table for Lynne. Once they’d loaded up, I sorted out the closing paperwork and left, still slightly worried that somewhere there may be a storage unit we’ve forgotten about!

On the way back I swung past the recycling centre (I had more videotapes to get rid of) but the queue was unreal again, so I drove past and kept on going. I would try again later, with much the same effect.

Friday afternoon we sorted all the DVDs, CDs, and such like. This was complicated when I looked into one of the boxes that was labelled as being all 12-inch LPs, but that was rattling oddly if that was really the case. It wasn’t. It was more bloody CDs and DVDs, so having thought we’d finished, it turned out we really, really hadn’t, and we had to reshuffle everything once more.

On Saturday we started digging into the boxes that said china. This was always going to be a journey of discovery, and so it proved. We established that we own five – yep, five – full dinner services, and a number of interestingly shaped special occasion plates that we bought from a favourite restaurant, Lipsius, in Jezus-Eik just outside Brussels, when it was closing down. €1 a piece was a bargain, except now when we’re trying to find places for all this stuff.

We dragged all the stuff we’d held back out of the cupboards too, and sorted through, photographing, packing and freecycling all the things we really didn’t want to keep. I am still amazed at just how quickly everything went. I think we can now throw some spectacular dinner parties, and we can also do tea parties and coffee mornings. Get us! We also found the most hideous 1970s (or thereabouts) coffee set. The box had my name on it, but I had no memory of it coming into my possession, and we both looked at it and chorused: “That has to go!”

Sunday was a tad unnerving because it was all about glassware. My mum collected Edinburgh crystal, and wasn’t afraid to use it. However, unpacking it, and the collection of tiny Swarovski animals were hard to detect buried in loads of packing paper. I think I got them all. I hope I did. Because it’s too late now. All the paper was hauled off to the recycling centre, this time with a 45-minute wait! We sorted, culled anything that was water-stained beyond rescue, along with anything that was chipped, and then set up an everyday cupboard, while everything else went into the dresser unit, and the sideboard.

Exhausted, we settled in to enjoy our new space, knowing we still had stuff to do, and probably will do for some time. But we do have the things we want around us, even if we have no idea where anything is, and probably won’t for some time.

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