You might think, from the above, that I am about to move house, but you would be wrong. I have just moved, and now reside in Manchester, home of ... well, thus far I'd say rain, Thai food and red brick buildings with delusions of stonework ancestry, though the emphasis is largely on the rain. The reason for the move is that I'm about to start working for a nice chap at the University, dwarfishly delving too deeply into the secrets of the universe and keeping my fingers crossed that any Balrog we meet shows interesting reaction characteristics.
The reason for the distinctly bloody awkward arrangement of everything inside the new flat is that we discovered upon arrival that a few things had not been done. Firstly, the previous tenant (and by extension the letting agency) had not cleaned the place properly. Secondly, they had sealed the place night and tight and turned off the heating completely. It turns out that the second, coupled to the first, results in mould on such infrequent features as doors, window-frames and skirtingboards, as well as thickly festooning the uneven surface of bathroom wallpaper. The kitchen, in contrast, was merely greasy (and still is to a certain extent, I need to have another bash at it with more surfactants later), and by greasy I mean that there was a millimetre layer of caked grease sunken into the kitchen tiles and grouting and there is now, elbow-grease later, merely a slight trace of grease. Soon it too will be eradicated, going the way of the dodo, good etiquette and governmental science research funding.
Anyway, the net result is that the removal men (Tenniswoods, a Newcastle based company, who were phenomenally efficient, helpful and well organised - bloody brilliant in fact) were instructed to put everything which would fit in one room, thus allowing the rest to be systematically cleaned. The living room and kitchen were first (the kitchen is a work in progress, but it's now got clean work surfaces and cupboards, so is usable as a base of operations) and swiftly populated.
My work for today (other than cancelling my benefits which was smooth and easy save for one lass who might have made life more difficult by trying to be less helpful but I doubt she could have been much worse) consisted of going to the letting agents with a list of faults and problems, as well as photos. The agent, slightly defensively, insisted that they weren't on the inventory but agreed to send a contractor around to assess things. He showed up 15 minutes later, fixed a few small things, slapped some fungicide on the mildew which had resisted our scrubbings and bleachings, and then summoned her. Ten minutes after she'd arrived, we were making arrangements to have the blinds ripped out and replaced, paint patched and fixed in some spots and the whole of the bathroom steam cleaned, the wallpaper removed, the plaster treated with fungicide and fungicidal paints and the bathroom cabinet replaced completely. I wish it hadn't needed to be done, but I will say that once the problems were identified, there was scarce time to blink before things started happening to fix them.
Either way, that ate the morning rather. The afternoon has been spent humphing things backwards and forwards to systematically totally empty the main bedroom (which will be my library) and clean it, let it dry, clean it again and once more dry. From there, the boxes have been being moved around and sorted, most of them ending up in the proto-library. Of course, what's needed now is to get everything out of the next bedroom and into other places so that I can clean *it*. Then I can reassemble my bed and sort my clothing out. With luck and effort, I may have my bed to sleep in tomorrow night, though I'm not counting on it. Once that is done, I can worry about minor matters like bookshelves and computers and wondering where the hell, if at all, I'll be able to reassemble my wardrobe.
On the plus side, just around the corner from my new place is a fantastic pub. It has Addlestones and Timmy Taylor on tap, serves Prosecco by the glass (thus making my mother extremely happy), does not have piped in music or TVs anywhere to be seen, and serves bloody fantastic (albeit not cheap) food. The furniture is all old wood, and there are bookshelves dotted about the place - as well as the standard pictures of prettiness on the walls, they're decorated with prints of old (pre-seventies) adverts. In short, my kind of pub. As well as that little bit of gastronomic beauty, the road end has a Tesco Metro (suitable for not running out of milk and bread) and then a mile of restaurants of every size, shape and variety. The other road end is the bus stop for the service which runs straight to the University for a £7 weekly ticket and there are cycle-lanes so I don't need the bus which can only help my health - my location in Newcastle was ill-suited to safe cycling and so I didn’t at all for ages. A few metres further takes you to a bank and a post-office - frankly the only way the location could be improved is to have a cider orchard backing onto my carpark.