Altogether too many people want to know how my move from London to Eastbourne in East Sussex went. Writing to each of them would take a lifetime, and a repetitious one at that, so instead I shall blog it to you lot here. I’m like 100 years of age, so it should suit the Olderhood crowd to find out that one of us, at least, is still living the dream. Well, it’s not really what you’d call a life, more a half-life, about to be lived in a half-town. What could be more gripping?
My East Borneo Diary
1. First stop: Victoria
I ‘bought’ the apartment I wanted in Eastbourne, a town on England’s southern coast, in early April. Given the vagaries of the English legal system, it would not be until late in August that I could finally call the apartment mine, or be certain that I wasn’t about to move to East Borneo.
My attention first focussed on August 5, the date agreed among all the sellers and buyers of real property involved in my move. That date quickly fell by the wayside when the solicitor for the buyer of my London flat took charge. Having watched too many legal procedurals, this legal virago viewed her job as screwing me into the ground and then some. After several weeks of that, I issued an ultimatum, and contracts were suddenly and miraculously exchanged, it requiring only $1,000 worth of insurance to solve all existing problems.
So August 28 it was. That meant I would have to be utterly, totally and irrevocably out of my London flat by 6:00 pm on the 27th. That, then, became the focal point. Were that to be achieved, everything else should follow.
Given the massive pain in the cranial that moving home brings upon a person, August 27 became for me the end of time. No thought went into what might happen on the 28th or subsequently: no point. If the 27th didn’t happen flawlessly, the 28th would be like every other day has been for the past three years: a non-moving-house day.
By the 26th, I’d been packing for a month. On the big day itself, professional movers showed up at 8:15 am. Three Kentish men were joined by one from Kentish Town and for eight hours straight, they carted my accumulated debris down 48 stairs. I’ll have more to say about these men of steel later, but for these purposes, all you need to know is that by 5:00 pm they were done, and by 6:00 I was at the hotel on top of Victoria railway station.
I had dinner that night with an American judge, a fellow of great depth and wisdom, whom I first met years ago in Atlantic City, NJ, where neither of us was gambling (well, I did, a little). It was a lovely evening. We avoided the hotel restaurant, because a pal described it as “awful, ghastly, slow, rude, disinterested and crowded with annoyance of every kind. All guests,” he added, “become ‘invisible’ to all staff the moment they enter that hellhole”. We went to a Café Rouge instead.
I slept fitfully that night, i.e. not at all.