Sunday, 13 October 2013

You can't take it with you

Captain Pugwash and Roger the cabin boy made a valiant effort to cram the contents of a life into what seemed like a big van. I aided as best I could, but frankly they worked faster on their own. I just kept them fed with boxes of paints, books and soft furnishings to slot into any available spaces. Everything was carefully evaluated on space and what seemed like a military operation, we carefully filled the van up. Only to find that actually it woudn't all fit. Hmmm. Bike not in, not to mention small pieces of furniture that I really want to take. You know the sort of thing, a corner cupboard granny left me, big pieces of art equipment, that big case of clothes that gets worn very occasionally, but too good to chuck, book shelves, more art books etc etc. Nothing vital but the trappings of a 50 something life.
There was no option but to leave the residue in my studio until I could decide what to do with it. The people renting the house seemed ok with the fact that they would baby sit it all for a couple of weeks.

So off the Captain and first mate went. Leaving me waiting for the new people to turn up, agents to see and generally feel as if this was the end of an era. I have much to do in the next couple of weeks before the van returns to Blighty and I can then be on my way, I have business to tie up and generally a load of  loose ends to complete. It's been a stressful time and I am anxious to get on with my new life.
A cup of tea and a deep breath helped ! Until, that is, the phone call....... !

About an hour and a half later I got a phone call to say that the removal party had been pulled over by the police somewhere near Maidstone. The van was overloaded and therefore illegal. Gak, how come ? There didn't seem to much in the way of heavy stuff in there, but I guess it all adds up. So they were escorted to a weigh bridge and duly weighed. Oooops,  apparently a 3.5 ton truck weighs over 2.5 tons inc tail lift, leaving not much in the way of weight for the contents. What's the point of that ? The upshot was that they were then taken to a storage depot and made to take out the vast majority of the contents. Leaving 2 bags of clothes, a couple of pieces of furniture and some stuff I would have rather left behind in the first place. The storage costs for a month and a fine for overloading were cause for a sharp intake of breath. 3 hours later and half empty, they were allowed to go on their way. 
Some telephone regrouping took place and decisions made. It was decided that all was at the point of no return, with tickets paid for and vital energy at breaking point, they should continue and then rethink a strategy for getting the rest out to Gozo, or not. A positive came out of this, at least it happened on this side of the channel. It may well have been worse if it had happened in France.

Oh my goodness. Now what ? with my life scattered across the country I had to seriously think about what I really needed in my life. Storage is hideously expensive as a long term option and really outweighs the cost of transporting goods out to Malta. Professional removal companies charge the earth and doing the trip ourselves seemed the obvious choice, coming in at well under half the cost. Or so it seemed ! The choice now is to hire another but larger 7.5 ton truck and do the whole thing again with the rest of the stuff,  which will be much more expensive. Or down size drastically and use the same size truck again and that would mean really culling the belongings. Or do the same cull and store in a smaller unit. 
Or do 

This whole idea of us all having too much, that really we don't need any of it is suddenly very appealing. I have cluttered my life with things that I 'can't take with me' . Things I feel define me. Things I think I can't do without. Things we truly believe make us who we are. The idea of ditching the lot is beginning to feel very liberating. If shredding doesn't appeal and some how seems wasteful, another idea was to take all my stuff down to the Gallery in Brightlingsea, dump it in the middle of the room and let people come in and help themselves. Of course you would always get greedy people who would try and take everything, so I thought about limiting one piece to each person. That would concentrate the mind, don't you think ? But in doing so I would be trying to control the situation and the point would be to see how people reacted. Is that art ?
What do you think ? 


  1. perhaps you could offer your things for sale at "pay what you think it's worth" and then you'd get a little money to help with the fine, etc. If you told your story when you posted your sale you might garner a lot of interest.

    Wishing you the best!

  2. Thank you Carole. Yes the pay what you think idea had occurred to me too....will let you know how I get on !