Tuesday, 31 August 2010


This month, I have two houses (and so far no plague on either of them - the intervention anti-cafards seems to be holding plagues at bay for the moment).
I'm moving endless boxes and cases between them via a combination of borrowed parental cars and a half-walk, half-scurry through Parc Leopold. From tomorrow onwards, I will be able to use car-sharing (technical term 'Cambio'). This means I will be officially able to drive in Belgium, whenever I like*. I suggest staying off the roads tomorrow.
The new place has the advantage of space, a bigger bathroom and (as of yesterday) my own duvet. On the other hand, the old flat has a sofa, hot and cold running Telenet and a washing machine (I have one coming in the new flat but not for another two weeks). There's also rather a lot of useless clutter silting up the old place: I've been contemplating it in despair and wondering just how much I can get away with simply throwing in the bin**.

Moving, proszę państwa, is apparently a learning experience, helping you to develop many useful skillz which can transferred to other areas of your life. In terms of numerical reasoning, I've learnt - for example - that it takes more than two people to lift an electric piano up six flights of stairs where the console of said piano weighs more than one of those two people. Regarding cultural diversity, I have discovered that buying frites in Brussels after nightfall during Ramadan is a task that requires a great deal of patience, good local knowledge and a fast car.

Teambuilding is another valuable competence often learnt in house-moving. Especially where this involves the lifting of heavy objects.
We all know about teamwork: we all use our skills to communicate effectively whilst at the same time taking time to listen to others; we are all highly motivated and welcome the opportunity to pass on our enthusiasm to others; we are all able to cooperate but not afraid to take a leading role and convince others of the plausibility of our ideas. On paper anyway.
I recently discovered what role I really take on when trying to solve a complex problem - such as extracting a 160 x 200 cm sprung mattress from its position wedged in a tiny attic stairwell. I play a very important part: in fact I'm the one collapsed in the corner, giggling helplessly, liable to say things like: 'ok never mind, let's try Ben's idea now', 'yep, that sounds good to me' or 'does anyone want another beer?' I see it as a motivating, cheering role. In other words, largely useless...

*Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply.
** note to self, file glossaries before going away for the summer, while I can still remember the name of the meeting.


Jeannie said...

I've found that while moving, purging as many items as possible into the bin cleanses the soul :-).

pinolona said...

Oh I agree. Out with the old I say! Still, it can be hard to do... especially with a) books and b) well-loved items of clothing.