My East Borneo Diary

My East Borneo Diary

2. Go south, old man

For the move from London to Eastbourne, I availed myself of the services of professional removal experts. It cost a considerable amount of money and was worth every single penny. Not only was all my junk — more than a ton of it — successfully packed, transported down stairs and up, and unpacked where necessary, but the whole ugly exercise was carried out with an air of extreme professionalism and sheer positivity.

Loath as I am to single out one individual, I’m about to. Tony drive the giant vehicle all over southern England; Omar boxed all my books, no mean task; Steve appeared from nearby and packed the kitchen. Each of them carted boxes and furniture and stone statues down three flights of stairs and then came back up, repeatedly, without demur.

It was Simon who most impressed me. An average-sized fellow of 38, he ran up and down the damned stairs all day long, making more than 100 trips in my estimation, singing all the way. He professed not to be as fit as he had once been, but I didn’t see how he could have been much fitter. Most people would find themselves floored walking up those stairs once, empty-handed. Simon wasn’t even remotely bothered, after a full day of it.

Again, the others did their share and I found no fault with any of them. But where they were quietly determined to do their work to the very best of their abilities, Simon serenaded us the livelong day, infusing everyone with his extraordinary attitude.

I have been told, recently, that I am a misanthrope, a man who hates people. That’s largely true, because almost everyone, I find, is useless or worse. I think of the British as ‘the Knights who say Nah’. Whatever you want, it can’t be done, mate. Ooh no, there’s no call for it. We used to have it, but we don’t any more. Ooh, no.

The four men from Pickfords gave the lie to all that. On my moving out day, they left their homes at 6:15 am and got home at about 9:00 that night. The next day, they were in East Borneo before I was. The presence of a lift (a.k.a. an elevator) made their lives a little easier, but I had the sense that if they’d had to carry all my boxes up nine flights of stairs on their backs, they’d have done so without a word.

They seemed a little surprised that I was so pleased. Maybe people don’t appreciate what they do. Certainly, moving stuff around doesn’t sound like much. But it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do that you do it: that’s what gets results. These guys were a thousand times more professional than any of the so-called professionals who were involved in the whole property buying/selling business.

Bravo to all of them. Maybe there is hope yet for humanity.

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