After a stressful period of 18 months, during which I had been trying to cope with the ever increasing damp problem in my former living room, the nerve-wrecking discussions with the janitor, my former landlord’s tantrums, the uncooperativeness of my next-door neighbours and the impact all this had on my health and usually positive disposition, I was about to see the end of the tunnel.
The actual move on March 18th 2011 was the last hurdle to be taken. During the weeks preceding the big day, I had been packing up my belongings, which seemed to have tripled in volume since my last move in 2001. I had also been shopping – that was the nice part of the move, by the way. Shopping for curtains, furniture, wallpaper, … And the decorator had been in, stripping some of the old wallpaper and replacing it by a warm red wall in the kitchen, a turquoise one in the living room and a contemporary blue pattern in the bedroom.
No, this is not my home, but a typical and beautifully renovated Brabant farmhouse; Brabant being one of the Belgian provinces (counties) where I happen to live.
On the morning of the big day, I got up at six, stripped the blankets and sheets from my bed, put my personal belongings in a plastic bag that I hid in the wall-fitted closet in the night hall and waited for the movers. They were supposed to arrive at 7. At 7.30 they still weren’t there, and I was beginning to get nervous. Their depot is located at hardly 1 km from my home and there was no traffic so to speak of. At 7.45 I saw two large lorries with the company’s logo driving by … they didn’t stop! Moreover, the quote I had received didn’t mention any lorries, (I was moving 50 metres up the road) just a small van and an elevator. Finally, at a few minutes to 8 a.m. the two large vehicles had I seen earlier, stopped in front of the apartment building, loudly honking their horns, announcing their arrival and waking up all those who were still asleep.
The move was a big shambles, with two of the four movers doing very little, except for constant grumbling about the day planning. At ten o’clock they all disappeared in the cabin of their lorry, pulling out their thermos flasks and sandwiches. They remained there for well over 30 minutes, while my rolled-up mattress was sitting on the raised platform of the elevator for all to see and pieces of furniture were scattered over the sidewalk over a length of 50 metres, looking like a giant car boot sale. Looking back, I’m surprised that none of the many cars driving by stopped to have a look at the stuff and make me an offer!
Their morning break finished the men went back to work and, much to my surprise, all furniture was in its new place by half past eleven; with the large wardrobe and the bed reassembled and the laundry machine connected and operational. The large pile of moving boxes that had been sitting in the middle of my new living room rapidly decreased in size when the four men, following my instructions, carried them into the rooms where they belonged.
At twelve o’clock I signed the discharge papers and called my mother on my mobile phone to come and have a look at the new set-up. At two the telephone guy arrived to install my telephone, television and internet connection. And by half past three my friend and I were enjoying our first decent meal of the day: take-away Chinese.