I packed the last boxes to say goodbye to my seaside flat this week, and it is fair to say that I have had some spectacular absences of humour in the process. I blame it on low blood sugar, the three flights of stairs to the car park and the legacy of tight legs from’The Accumulator’ I ran last week. I rest the defence.
I have been so flipping efficient in decanting the flat before the final handover date next week that,even if I had done the sensible thing and taken myself off for a cheeky afternoon nap, I would have had nothing to lie on. I stupidly packed the last coffee cup and spoon, and although my caffeine addiction has been well documented (In pre-Covid times Mama J could drink most of her friends under the table in Starbucks #justsaying), I felt it was taking things a tad too far to pour boiling water straight into the coffee tin, partial though I am to a strong intenso.
The thing that kept me going through the packing and cleaning was the knowledge that there was a new car to collect mid-week – the love child of Mavis (my Mini Countryman) who unceremoniously groaned, ‘you’re on your own love,’ on the motorway last month. New postcode, new car; don’t mind if I do, even if I do shed a tear when old Mav is towed off to her final resting place.
Losing my trusty stead and packing up to move into a new life at the same time, felt just a little too much even for a woman who likes change and new things. I have also needed to take a decision or two about which pieces of furniture should make the cut to travel with me and I’m afraid the fridge and desk don’t make the final draw and this made me feel unkind. Overthinking is exhausting. I wish I didn’t do it.
Because I didn’t totally master efficiency, I faff about this furniture decision, and consequently on the night before the removal men arrive, I find myself still with the fridge and the desk; I wonder how to explain their presence to Favourite Man (FM) when I arrive at my new postcode next day. Thankfully a friend posts the desk and chair on a local website and a lovely lady about my age comes round to take them away the night before the removal van arrives.
I help this lady carry the furniture to her car (girl power) and she tells me her story: messy divorce, moves in with her a new man and they buy everything new, they split up and she is left with no furniture. ‘Never again,’ she tells me, before asking me why I am getting rid of the desk. I wave her off and hope this isn’t a metaphor I should be noting.
I still own the fridge as the removal men arrive next morning and I tell them about my dilemma. One of the young removal men asks if he can buy the fridge off me because he has just moved into a new flat and they haven’t got a fridge. Deal. We swing by the cashpoint en route to the motorway. I love it when a lack of plan comes together.
So, furniture removals over, next day as I am driving my new mini clubman from the showroom, I find myself quite overwhelmed with the choice of air con, hands free and blue tooth. How the automobile industry has advanced over the last 10 years! Mavis was solid and, until recently reliable, and we have been on many adventures together. She used to have all the above features, but like myself, she has got noisier of late, been prone to hot flushes and been quite creaky under the bonnet.
The lovely man at the car show room explained that because of Covid he was unable to get into the car with me to explain how all the gadgetry worked; I do think he was a little taken aback when I stood in the forecourt for 10 minutes simply flicking the central locking on and off – Mavis hadn’t been able to open all her doors at once for some years. There may be another metaphor in here, but I am again – unusually – choosing to ignore it.
The new mini is so quiet that I keep stalling it at junctions as I try to turn on an engine that is already running. She is very forgiving. I decide that it is best to run her in slowly. Really she is breaking me in, but she is displaying great patience and pretends she can’t hear my squeals of delight when I discover that there is an internal sat nav.
Now, before I discovered this sat nav, I had intended calling the new car Dot or Dotty. Sorry? Of course you have to name your car; when you are spending so much time with a friend it would be rude not to be on first name terms. To call ‘her’ The Dragonfly sounds too grandiose. I toyed with male names, but this mini is definitely female. I decide not to overthink it (!) and know that, like a new baby, the car will reveal her name in good time (Really? Didn’t you name your children that way, either?) As soon as the nice voice behind the sat nav thingy starts nudging me with directions – and doesn’t even tut when I ignore them – I know that Dot is really a Dora and that we have some exploring to do.
As soon as I have some energy back from this moving malarkey, Dora and I will be on the road again – not in a nomadic way you understand (I have kept too much furniture after all and would dearly like to lay my hat down permanently), but, Boris permitting, I feel we are both up for a mini adventure. I am already smitten. Dora is adorable.