I knew that this month would be horrible, because we had to finish the magazine, and the website, and the endless array of other bits and pieces involved in a big launch like this. When it's finally all over I'm going to sit down and work out just how many posters, mini-magazines, Powerpoint presentations, web graphics and custom DVD cases we had to create and see how horrifying the resultant pile is. Remarkable we managed to do a magazine as well, really. Anyway, obviously this was the perfect time to move house.
I've harboured a low-level desire to move out of the old place for over a year now, but never mustered the energy – not least because I've spent most of said year in the office. John, however, being a filthy freeloaderlancer, had more time to sit at home all day and really savour the broken lights, non-functional heating, and slowly peeling wallpaper, and as some other types were also looking for new digs a decision was made to move on. I thought about going solo – every move I've made since university has been a steadily decreasing number of cohabitees, so there was a mathematical precedent – but that was expensive and took more time than I had, so I just rolled with the group and we've finished up in a former student house a long way up one of Bath's more cardiac-endangering hills.
The move itself came at about the worst possible time: four days before the final print deadline, when I was already crazed from two weeks of overwork and sleep deprivation. I was working fourteen hour days so hadn't had time to pack anything and John hadn't done much either, and I didn't help matters by drinking heavily on the previous Friday evening in an attempt to unwind after the week. I managed to get up and over the van hire place a mere 45 minutes after the stated start time of 8am, and showed up chez Craig looking like the living dead. Handily, he's already moved about four times in the last twelve months so was able to introduce an air of consummate professionalism while I concentrated on not ending it all by creative use of an IKEA shelving unit.
The next movee was supposed to be Graham, but he wasn't ready either so I just went back and slept for two hours while John packed up. I then had to go to work, which meant there was quite a lot of stuff ready to go when we started moving again at about half-past four. A couple of friends who'd been unwise enough to be spare this weekend showed up mid-day and helped, and we managed to get John, some furniture and half the kitchen over before giving up around 10pm.
Next day the toil continued. My parents arrived expecting to give a hand with the final cleanup to discover the flat still half full of crap and friend busy at Wii Sports. The rest of the day was spent pushing filial relations to breaking point by carrying boxes, scrubbing three years' worth of crap off things and discovering new and exciting stains beneath long-static items of furniture. Graham, meanwhile, got to sit around in his living room, utterly without distraction because his entire life was packed in binbags, getting progressively less helpful text messages from me as it became clear that we were never going to get it all done.
Proceedings were enlivened by a trip to the dump, where we had to spend five minutes explaining that just because my father drives a van he is not in fact engaged in commercial waste disposal – at one point we were assured it would be okay if we emptied the rental van, filled it from Dad's van, then emptied it again – and thanks to truly heroic effort from the family team we managed to get all the big stuff – including Graham - moved in before exhaustion took over in late evening.
That wasn't the end, though. Oh no. The end didn't even come later in the week: my proposed time off got eaten up by doing photoshoots and we had to resort to first delaying the checkout by two hours as we vainly attempted to get carpets looking remotely disease-free, then giving up and hiding stuff in the garage. We overloaded the car so much I had my first crash in ten years of driving, and even once the letting agent had showed up, knocked fifty quid off the deposit for not cleaning the fucking oven lid and checked us out, there were still five boxes, two chairs, an electric radiator and two cars left on the property.
It's now the second weekend after the move: I type surrounded by boxes that I've not had the time to unpack and rubbish I've not had time to dump. I had to bring a washing machine we don't need and don't have the space for, the house is overflowing with unwanted furniture and the garage we were told came with the house turned out to have been sub-let to an enraged pensioner who did not take kindly to me jamming the lock trying to open it. There's still a car left in the old place that I can't even face thinking about, much less moving.
But we do have space, and the broadband is working, sort of, and I've avoided takeaway food all week. There's a Wii with Bomberman and Mario Kart 64 (and some Twilight Princess thing that I have no truck with.) And next week the magazine launches, and the website launches, and it'll all start to settle down. I'm wondering how I'll cope when it does.