So, after two months of sleeping first in other people’s houses and hotels, then on my sofa bed and in my own spare room, I finally slept in my own bed last night. The frame had arrived last week, though assembly was delayed as my attempts to purchase the ‘assemble on delivery option’ were thwarted, since that is a service ‘not available in your area’. (I was righteously aggrieved at this – am I not posh enough to have John Lewis assemble my bed? But as the cheery delivery men said, ‘nah, pet, do it all the time, dunno what happened there’ – as they rushed down my front drive hastily, clearly scared I was going to implore that they do it anyway, I can only assume it was an IT glitch.)
In the end, it worked out for the best, as my Capable Cousin Round the Corner came round and sorted it. I had already realised how much I was liking living so near to her – we’ve always got on well, but the last couple of months have reminded me how much I like her company, and since moving in, I’ve discovered just how lovely it is to have someone close by who is generally happy for you to pop round for a beer with very little notice. The fact that she is, like the rest of my family, super practical and capable has just been a bit of an added bonus.
(I am continually astonished that I – cack-handed, clumsy and with the spatial awareness and good sense of a one-winged moth with a head injury, and who lives a life arranged around how many naps I can squeeze in – am related to a bunch of practical, can-do hard-workers who can build you a shelf unit, fix your car or plaster your walls before breakfast, and then go on to do a 10 hour shift. (I blame my feckless, runaway dad. Bad genes on one side, and it’s obviously not my mum’s). (There is a long-cherished family story that one of the grandparents in my extended clan wooed his lady – who, if I recall, came from Roma stock, so wasn’t keen on moving into a terrace where you lived on top of your neighbours’ lives – by building her a house. An actual house. Not sure if this is true or not – given my family, if anything, it’s likely been toned down – but it has left me with some unrealistic standards for men, I can tell you.))
Having already assembled my sofa bed and spare bed in turn, last night my cousin came round to tackle the last of the flat: assemble the bed in the main room and the dining table in the study (since my dinner party hosting skills are as limited as my furniture assembly skills, I suspect it’ll be little used, but it’s a gorgeous table – a gift from friends when I moved into my Brighton place – so I was keen not to let it lie idle and in bits), and disassemble some clothes rails that I no longer need (because I have wardrobes, y’all! Wardrobes!) so I could store them under the spare bed and clear the last of the moving in clutter.
This she did in short order, and we had such a riot doing so we ended up joking we should do it for a living – be ‘lady fitters’ helping women assemble their furniture so they didn’t need no man. (We were getting a bit rowdy by this stage, since as well as bringing her not inconsiderable talents, she had also brought beer – take that, John Lewis, your assembly charge doesn’t include those extras!).
We mooted around a few suitable monikers and catchphrases – all, unfortunately, likely to attract the the wrong kind of call from a business card, but hey. (I think in the end the winner was Screwdriver Sisters: tagline, Sisters are Screwing it For Themselves. We’d had quite a lot of beer by that stage).
I even felt quite the sense of achievement at the end, despite the fact that my actual assistance was limited to keeping the beers filled, holding whatever I was told to hold and passing what I was told to pass, while petting her wee dog enough that he didn’t try to jump into the middle of proceedings. Though I did help cart all the packaging around to hers for disposal in her jeep tomorrow (in years of having men assemble things, I have never had one worry about tidying up afterwards: which makes me think we might be onto something with this business idea after all…)
And so, luxuriating in more space than I have had in about 2 decades, quietly thrilled by the sight of all those wardrobes, I actually slept in my own bed. Now I’m thinking if I could just get some pictures on those walls…
(Billy the dog – in situ at his place)
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