Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Saying goodbyes and refreshing memories

Before moving there are goodbyes to be said to family and friends. Some people you are sure you will see again but with others you know it could be the last time you see them. Some friendships exist purely because you live near each other or share an interest and may only be short term, others last for years, even though you see and talk to each other rarely, but when you do meet up your conversation picks up as if you had last seen each other a few days ago, not a decade or more.

One of the things I am trying to do in my last few weeks before leaving are to catch up, in person, with my various friends. This week I had a very pleasant evening in a Peak District pub reminiscing over shared memories and making new ones to take with me into the future.  My feeling is that you carry your friends with you in your head and it is important to refresh your "stored" friends so that they are truer reflections of their real world selves.

In the last few months I have also been acutely aware that I am visiting places for the last time: the house that I was born in, the church in which I was baptised and married (first time around) and where I also sang in the choir for much of my childhood, the schools I went to, the chalk landscape I grew up sheltered by.  Leaving "home" to return to where I currently live has always been a wrench, even if I was only passing through after visiting a client, this time it felt like a final pilgrimage.  Somehow leaving the house where I have spent all the nearly19 years of my (second) marriage has not had the same sense of loss as we are moving onwards together as a family and also I have helped my daughter and her family move into it.  I suspect my feelings would be different if we had sold it to a stranger.

Our house packed into a 20' shipping container

Thursday, 28 August 2014

If I never see another packing peanut in my life it will be too soon....

The last few months of my life have been dominated by assessing our "stuff" in preparation for our move, sending some to the charity shop, putting some in the bin, leaving a little for my grandchildren to play with when they move into this house and packing the rest.

During the time I have come to the conclusion that we just have too much stuff (certainly we had too much stuff, we now have less!).  Unlike moving within driving distance there is no option to throw the last, unsorted, oddments into the car.  When packing your life into a 20' shipping container it is necessary to be ruthless and ask questions in the vein of the following:
  • Do I really need it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Will it ever fit again?
  • Will I ever wear it again?
  • Have I ever worn it?
  • Is it cheaper to buy a new one on the other side of the Atlantic?
  • Will it even work on the other side of the Atlantic?
  • Could someone else have more use/fun with this than me?
  • Why have I still got this?
I have become good friends with the volunteers at my local Barnardo's shop - they greet me with a smile as I enter, offer to help me with my boxes and ask me if I am one of their gift aiders.

Some specific items have been donated to my younger son's scout group.  He has gained so much from his time there as a scout, explorer and young leader that I felt it was time to give something back.  This was also the same group where my daughter was a Brownie so they have been part of my life for getting on for 20 years!

Even after all the winnowing there is still enough to fill the container, and almost every box has been packed by yours truly, hence my surfeit of packing peanuts, bubble wrap, tissue paper, sticky tape and cardboard boxes. In particular the (free) banana boxes from my local supermarket.  In a few weeks they will wonder why the banana boxes are still under the checkouts at the end of the day.  I can now tell you what size bananas come from which countries (it is marked on the box) and that a box designed to hold 18kg or 40lb of bananas is also just right for holding 20kg of books.  Any more than that and I can't lift the packed box.

Of course, the only stuff to which the above questions are totally irrelevant are my sewing and quilting supplies.  I need every last thread, scrap and notion of my stash, whatever anybody else says or thinks.  All those boxes contain items vital to my creativity, even if I haven't opened them for years.

My main consolation after all this?  The shipping container should arrive at our new home several weeks before I do, so my husband and sons can do the unpacking!

And a couple more pictures of the cats:
Rocky pretends to be a box file

Smokey likes curling up in the empty boxes

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Heading for a new life

Soon I will truly be a quilter in a strange land, but currently the strangeness is that the rest of the family (husband and 2 sons) have already moved to Pennsylvania, USA, leaving me behind in the UK for a few more weeks.  I would like to be able to say I am making the most of this "quiet" time by quilting to my heart's desire, but the reality is that I am doing the final packing up of our belongings both at home and at work. My thanks to John & John for all their help at the factory in moving the big stuff around for me and reducing my workload.

Aiding me at home are my two feline quilt inspectors (QIs), Smokey & Rocky, who think that every box is for them to sit in, every load of laundry for them to sleep in and that the main purpose of my existence is to feed them.

Smokey pretending that none of the chaos exists

Rocky in a rare sociable moment