December was a slightly weird month, split neatly in half (almost) between being here (Canada) and there (UK). I am not sure that I recall a great deal of the run up to our departure as it sped past in a frenzy of making. In fact, I was making gifts up until 1 hour before we left for the airport and snapping quick documentary shots of everything that I had made until 15 minutes before we left for the airport (more of that later).
The second half of the month whipped past in a series of short visits with as many family and friends as we could shoehorn into our short trip to the UK. I remarked to the Fella that it was peculiar, only having time to see some of my friends. Also, only seeing those friends once, when I was used to seeing or speaking to them every 2-3 days ordinarily - I felt very sad about it, actually.
We did get caught up in the bad weather during our trip. We had to pull off the road during our return trip to London from Hereford. It was the night that snow hit Reading, Newbury and Basingstoke and as we were in a rental car with summer tyres (effectively), we decided to bail and stay overnight in Swindon. I worked on a big project in Swindon for about 6 years once, commuting 150 miles (round trip) by car almost daily from my home in London. It was a fantastic project to work on with brilliant colleagues but I am not sure that I would want that commute now. It was strange and slightly nostalgic to wander around the shopping precinct in the snow, seeing what had and hadn't changed. Yes, I made sure that we entered and left Swindon via the Magic Roundabout (mostly to terrify the Fella)!
The day after, we whizzed down a quiet M4, remarking on all of the cars abandoned on the hard shoulder, and cut across Bracknell to Farnborough where we went to visit my Removal Company's warehouse. There, we tackled the belongings that I have had in storage since October 2008. We have probably spent more on storage costs over the past year than any of my things are actually worth. We went through my things, knowing that we needed to reduce it all by 50% in order to make the shipping costs to Vancouver viable.
Frankly, my hat is off to them - I think that removal men must possess the same sort of skill and tact as undertakers. We stood in their freezing cold warehouse with my two opened storage containers and they very quietly, tactfully, efficiently and good humouredly helped us to separate my things into three piles: to ship, to give away, to throw away. I thought that it would take all day. Nope. It took 1 hour and 30 minutes to unpack, sort and repack all of my worldly possessions (which looked extremely pathetic on the concrete floor of their warehouse).
I am sure that people will tell me that it was good for me but it was really hard to give and throw so many of my things away. Particularly the ones that I remember saving for and appreciating very much when I could finally afford to buy them. Of stuff kept, some went to my father's family house and some went to my youngest brother who has just moved into a flat. My father's family put us up while we were in the UK and it was really strange to see some of 'my' belongings dotted around their house. In truth, it was quite hard not to snatch some of them back and hide them in my suitcase. Even though I knew that we had no room or use for them here. Mind you, I think that there might be more bed linen here in Canada than we originally planned to bring back in my suitcase!
So as I type, 250 sq ft of household goods (reduced from 500 sq ft) are on their way towards Vancouver. They were shipped on the 12th January and we have been told that they are expected to arrive here on the 31st January. It's quicker than I expected.
I am glad that my stuff is on its way. I realise that it is a silly thing but it has been very strange living with the Fella in Canada without any of my belongings around me. I have felt a bit naked and uncomfortable about it. It is not that any of my things are nicer or smarter than the Fella's - in some cases, quite the opposite. However, it will be good to have some familiar items here e.g. to have a tea or coffee out of one of my own mugs (assuming that they survive the journey) and to have my own, familiar bath towel in the bathroom.
Sometimes I think that the Fella doesn't notice but it turns out that he does.
One of the things that upset me the most to throw away was my old bed frame with its really comfy mattress. It was not worth the cost or hassle to bring into Canada. Besides, the Fella prefers to sleep in a larger bed. However, his bed has to be one of the most uncomfortable beds that I have ever tried to sleep on. I cannot begin to count how many wretched, sleepless nights I have had since my arrival in Vancouver in October 2008. It has been thoroughly miserable – I have either paced the house, sat at the PC or lain in the dark, listening to the Fella breathe while watching the clock tell me how slowly the night is passing. It is so very hard to survive the next day when you have had very little or no sleep. I have been like a zombie - I cannot tell you how many classes I have almost fallen asleep in or had to apologise because I am yawning constantly and felt horrible.
So watching my lifeline to a good night's sleep being moved over to the disposal pile was quite tough. Made worse by the fact that the beds that we slept on during our trip were either completely trashed (hotel in Hereford) or extremely small and hard (parent's house in London) where the two of us were kipping on a ¾ size bed.
So I may have mentioned my heartache at letting my bed go - perhaps I mentioned it more than once, if I am honest.
When we got back to Canada, out of the blue, the Fella confessed how old his bed was. Put it this way – my stepson (almost 16) was likely conceived on it. He then marched me out to his truck, took me to a stretch of road with bed shops and refused to come home until we had picked out a new one.
It was delivered last Saturday and I made it up with some of the freshly laundered bed linen that I had brought back in my suitcase. Our new bed is so comfortable that I didn't get out of bed, all day on Sunday. I propped myself up, surrounded by my lovely, old, familiar bed linen (just some old IKEA stuff) and I read 'Kafka on the Shore' (at last). I have even had a couple nights since then when I have slept all the way through the night. In fact, the Fella tried to wake me with a cuddle this morning and he got told very firmly where he could stuff it for waking me up!
I think that the Fella is worried that he has unleashed a beast - that I am going to, 'take to my bed' for days at a time, as ladies used to do in the olden days.
I don't care. It is very selfish but I like how I feel after I have had a full night's sleep.