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Scheduling dilemmas

Reading just now about our friends Maryanne and Kyle on board SV Footprint who are preparing their boat for departure from the UK, we realise that we are just weeks away from our own removal to a new home in Scotland and we too are facing scheduling dilemmas. Surrounded as we are by our possessions, for each item a decision has to be made as to when it can be packed away, moved from view and therefore out of use. Since this involves quite a complex thought process, one that is repeated many times each day, exhaustion generally sets in from early afternoon and henceforth all higher brain function grinds to a halt.

Take a simple example like our wellingtons [this word probably ought to be capitalised – another decision]. Can we be absolutely certain that a need for rubber footwear will not arise before our departure for Scotland? And then again, when we eventually come to sail Cirrus north from Cornwall to Kintyre, surely we might have need of them with us on board? Maybe so, but they sound like useful things to have ready to wear in Carradale too so we can plod along the Kilbrannan shoreline with dry feet. Ah, but take them north now and we’ll have to bring them back south again, maybe on an plane, in order to have them on Cirrus and to wear them when stepping ashore from our dinghy in Ireland whilst on passage up the Irish Sea. Simple, you might say, buy another pair. Except that this type of decision applies to so many things and we simply cannot duplicate the lot.

Thankfully Kate quietly takes care of most of these decisions without reference to me and all I notice is that some item is not where it used to be, a shelf has become bare or a cupboard empty because things have been packed into a cardboard box. My primary role is to deal with the suppliers of everyday services, deciding when to terminate our supply of gas to the present house or how to ensure a telephone is connected to the new house when we need it. I also take care of the transport arrangements, both for us and for our belongings, and this can prove to be a considerable challenge too. Jelly under treeWe have opted for the DIY approach to house removal since we are both confident of our capability as regards piloting the largest type of van the law allows us legally to drive on British roads. Unfortunately the question as to whether this size of vehicle will hold all our belongings, even with our well-practised packing skills, is one that will not be answered until just before the moment of our departure from Somerset and this adds an element of unpredictability and excitement to the whole affair which keeps our reactions sharp. The logistical challenge of putting each of our belongings and ourselves just where we need to be is a little bit like getting  a man on the moon, but without the backup of NASA Mission Control Centre.

Our neighbour’s cat, Jelly, will surely miss us when we are gone. She sits beneath our ornamental willow in the front garden oblivious to the sparrows perching calmly in the branches overhead, or at least pretending to be so. She has the wisdom that comes with age (and perhaps some infirmity) that tells her how futile any efforts at catching the birds would be so she gives them a brief glance then focuses her attention on absorbing the rays from a weak March sun. She doesn’t notice my photographing her through the window and really doesn’t care who lives at No 20, just so long as she can rub her flanks along a friendly leg when she feels like it. We’ll miss her antics though.

Weather in Carradale&YeovilBack to another scheduling decision, this time it is the freezer. We are struggling vainly to eat our way right to the bottom, down to the last frozen chip and pea as by moving day it must be empty so that it can be loaded into the van. The space inside can be used to pack some breakable items, how convenient.

We also keep a close watch on the weather we will soon be exposing ourselves to up in Scotland. This is done via the Internet and a couple of ‘gadgets’ that rest on my computer desktop. Earlier today there was a surprise in store as whilst both in Yeovil and Carradale the sun was shining, there was a twelve degree temperature difference, Carradale being the warmer. We are not fooled, of course. Spring has arrived here in Somerset – the daffodils are in bloom, tree buds are swelling, even the magnolia trees are about to burst into flower – but we know that at fifty-five and a half degrees north the seasons will lag far behind. The good news is that having enjoyed one Spring this year we have a second one in store waiting for us.

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