Angels in Disguise

Just when you thought I had taken you all safely to the shores of France well here I go again taking another little trot down memory lane.

While I’ve been jogging the grey matter about the whole move, a few things have stood out in my mind as either heart-warming, funny, or downright  scary.

I thought I had things fairly under control with the packing up (clearly I didn’t or otherwise we wouldn’t have had so many boxes!). Mon homme was finishing up his studies in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin. He had been on a three month stint there (thanks again to our friends who gave him a roof over his head!) While he was in Dublin during the week, I was slowly going through all of our things. Ear-marking what was to be given away or sold and also sorting through a lifetime. Cards, letters, postcards, school reports and all of the official stuff that gets shoved into filing cabinets. I worked in admin and funnily enough I was incredibly organised and thorough at work. I could have literally found a needle in a haystack, but home was a different story.

When mon homme came home at the weekends he got busy doing the selling and the heavy lifting. We ploughed along like this for the few months but then d-day was looming. It was our last week and there were still a few bits of furniture unsold! Through my daughter’s school I had met a lovely couple (that’s you Fiona and Conor) who wanted to buy one of our antique wardrobes. It was a great big hunk of wood that definitely wouldn’t be making the cut. They said they would come to pick it up the day before we would leave. Perfect! “Does 9 am suit?” “Yes!”

That morning we were a little slow (ok the truth- we didn’t wake on time. This seems to be a recurring theme) and Fiona and Conor were outside our house and had to phone us to wake us up, as we were away in dreamland. Thank goodness they did wake us – there was much to be done! They picked up their wardrobe and off they went. Not even half an hour later they were back. With the makings of a lunch and the look of people who were set about working for the day. We didn’t know each other all that well but they took a look at all that had yet to be done and decided to help. They stayed the whole day and even took other items off our hands and offered to sell them on our behalf (which they subsequently did).

Now we had so many friends who helped us get on the road- too many names to mention. But the point in this little anecdote is that these people did what they did purely to be helpful- they owed us nothing. We have since stayed in touch, and as Conor puts it quite eloquently, “they were the best friends we never had!”

People are good. I tell myself this quite often. That’s not to say I don’t feel let down from time to time, but in general I find that more often than not you can rely on people to be kind. Another bizarre occurrence was a couple of days before we rolled out. A man came to the house to buy some hardware that we had advertised. We had never seen him before in our lives. He paid for what he was buying and then saw all of the other items we were left with in our hardware department! We said at that point he could take whatever else he wanted- we were glad to be rid of it. He filled up his car, off he went and then came back! He gave me a big smile as he walked into the kitchen and said “ah I couldn’t not come back and give ye a hand- how many months gone are you?”  He stayed the whole day – did trips over and back to the recycling center and then would come back intermittently to give me a hand wrapping up the belongings that were coming with us. To this day we only know his first name. That’s all we know about him and that’s all he knows about us. We often ask ourselves “did that really happen or did we imagine it?”

Our final week in the house meant that every minute was counted. Every day was important and we often packed up and organised into the wee hours. Time was precious! My stepson was on his summer holidays and it was brilliant to have him helping his Papa with the lifting. He’s a strong lad and lets face it- with my seven-month bump I was no help in that area! We left on a Saturday, and on the Wednesday before, our friend called out to pick up some aloe vera plants (those plants were mon homme’s second family!) He arrived with his daughter who also happens to be one of my stepson’s best friends. The two of them went out to the garden, even before breakfast I might add, to mess about on the trampoline. And…I’m sure you can guess where this is going. My stepson thought to himself “today is going to be a great day, the sun is shining”. He decided to try some kind of a back-flip and sent himself hurtling off the trampoline. We panicked, then thought he was fine, then saw his legs buckle from under him. He had broken his arm and passed out with the pain and shock.

See- if it can happen, it will happen, and when you really don’t want it to happen, that’s when it’s a sure thing!

He ended up spending 8 hours sitting in emergency and couldn’t eat- just in case he needed surgery. The poor fella hadn’t even had his breakfast- and believe me- he likes his grub! In hindsight though, at least him and his Papa had that time together to just chat. I’m not suggesting for a second that we should break a limb for some down-time, but you have to look for the silver lining when you can – right? They wouldn’t have had that time together otherwise. Anyhow- that was something that we did laugh about when the arm healed up!

Something else happened however, and to this day, I have never managed to laugh about it! I think maybe in 50 years time it might muster up a giggle but not now. I still get palpitations whenever I summon up the deeply repressed memory!

The day our furniture was taken from the house was chaotic to say the least. I was wrapping and packing, someone else was walking the dog. Another friend was cleaning all of the high places I couldn’t climb up to in my condition. Somebody else was on a step-ladder replacing all of the lightbulbs, people were still arriving to buy, plants seemed to be careering out the door by themselves. Mon homme and I were trying to steer clear of each other (it’s not good if we’re both stressed at the same time!)

Part of the second family – before they moved out!

Having a little rest while we still had chairs!

At the end of that very long day, mon homme’s bike mechanic and his lovely lady brought a feast to the house. This was literally our last supper (in Galway!). Every single morsel of food was delicious. There were salads, soups, quiches, lovely wine, juice for me. It was so relaxing (even more so when they said they were bringing the dirty dishes home with them). At the end of the meal we decided to put together a quick check-list for the next day (complete with time-slots. I’m so organised!).

So the list went like this:

  • Alarm 6.30
  • Final clean of bathroom 7.30
  • Do last run to recycling center 9.00
  • Go to the toilet 10.30 (only kidding!)
  • House owners arriving for keys 2.oo
  • Leave house 3.oo
  • Get to the bank before 4.00 (mon homme added that one)

-Whoaa, why do we need to get to the bank before 4?

-To deposit the money.

-What money?

-All our money.

-You have it right?

-No, you have it.

-No I don’t!

Oh my sweet divine- both of us thought the other one had the cash from our sales. Given that we lived a long way from the city we hadn’t yet had the chance to bank it. Now- I’m not saying it would have been enough money to buy Victoria Beckham some swanky clobber. But- frugal as we are – it was enough to fund our move.

At that point the seams in our will started to come undone. We went pale, stony faced. I thought I was going to get sick. We had no idea where it was! A quick dash around the house revealed nothing. We phoned the man who was storing our furniture. Now he had had a long, tiring day himself but knowing the panic we were quite likely slowly dying from, he started the task of methodically looking. We knew it had to be in a drawer (sorry- we were bloody well hoping!) and so he went through it all. Finally at 2 am he phoned with the happy news that he had found it- in one of our bedside lockers!

I’ll never reveal whose bedside locker – I’ll take it to my grave! But I can say we both cried with relief. It’s good to feel genuine relief a few times in your life! Keeps you on your toes!

Bonjour la France!

A BIG BIG thank you to team Ireland who helped us to get packed up and out. You all know who you are. x

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