Tag Archives: moving house

Snowed In Vs Moved Out


Well, I know now. know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.’ – Sylvia Plath

As expected, we’ve been given our marching orders – vacate date is tomorrow. The weather seems to feel pretty much as I do about the situation – no sooner did we start to pack on Sunday evening then the rain storms that had showered us all week, to the accompaniment of Armageddon thunder, turned to snow.

We woke in a winter wonderland. There was no question of making it down the mountain to civilisation, with or without our possessions – remember when I illustrated where I live?

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On the one hand, we were supposed to be moving our household and couldn’t find the car. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else to witness the coming of Winter – and I got to snowboard in my actual garden.

The snow has made everything a hundred times harder. We weren’t able to move anything. We boxed up as best we could in the biting cold, aware of the dwindling logs for the fire. We would have been lost without a friend with a heavy-duty 4×4 enacting a rescue mission, enabling Partner-in-crime to escape and return with wood and wine (the two essentials for surviving an avalanche, no question).

Yes, the snow has made everything a hundred times harder. But just look…


This is the reason I’m out here. I’m happy to do all the extra work required to be able to wake up stranded, buried in snow and surrounded by beauty. Apart from anything else, it also sounds pretty cool to say you’re snowed in, and my wifi is still connected.

During the day, I was contacted by two potential clients, who booked me in for dates that fit in mysteriously perfect accord with my other deadlines. One had contacted me repeatedly over the last couple of weeks due to a recommendation and booked me despite my lack of prior response (*shakes fist at over-zealous spam filter*).

I’ve not wanted to move out of my lovely home and I’ve thrown the usual number of teddies out the pram when it’s come to packing. But it’s almost as if Nature and the gods of Freelancing have struck up as one, saying, ‘Hey, more things go right than wrong. Look around. Enjoy the moment. You’re perfectly placed right here, right now.’

Last night, we burnt the wood and mulled the wine, clearing out the top part of the house in the process. This morning, we made it down the hill at 7am, past a car in a ditch, which we didn’t join, but which could have been us if we’d risked the journey to work the day before. I made the drive to Arrowtown through fields of icing sugar backed by majestically powdered mountains, as the sun came up and cast the whole panorama pink.

There’s a lot to do today. The snowy scenery makes it easy to pause and just appreciate where I am and all the good. Fun as yesterday was, at least today we can move around and move out. Packing is pesky and cleaning is painful, but at least we’re moving out on time. And we were granted a moment, frozen in all senses of the word, to stand still and be filled with wonder.

Have you ever found signs to lift you out of sad situations? Are you awed by nature? Been snowed in? Do you agree wood & wine are the way forward?


The Pain Of Packing & The Two Sides To Every Story


‘Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, 

before we commit ourselves to either.’

– Aesop

Step into my study! It’s small but, then, so am I… And it’s perfectly proportioned. To my left is a NZ-centric map of the world (perfect distraction) underscored by a choice selection of cards from friends full of stories and good feeling (perfect procrastination).

I am finally, as of tomorrow, free of my old flat. I mentioned before that I had moved to my dream pad – a fairytale cottage in the woods. The overlap has been pesky and the move has not been without some warfare. I hate packing. And I hate that in every place I’ve called home, it’s not been mine. I’ve rented but not owned. And so I’ve always had to justify myself in some way before, during or after my tenancy.

In my previous flat, the estate agents claim that something is broken that wasn’t (to my knowledge) in any disrepair before I vacated the property. Further, the carpets (which I’ve had professionally cleaned) bear some wear. In vain have I pointed out that the carpets were not exactly squeaky clean or free of wear when I took the place on.  Meanwhile, I’ve had to move a couple of old, disused television sets over to my new port of call, in the dark, in the torrential rain, because the local Salvation Army aren’t accepting second-hand televisions and, hence, I need to take them to the tip. Being 5 foot nothing (that’s 152cm to you metric folk!) and 8 stone (50kg), with the upper body strength of a small penguin, I need help to achieve this. And partner in crime is working away this week. I rolled the sets out of my car (with help from a friend) to the side of my drive (past my gate). At the top of my drive, admittedly by the road, lay an old rowing boat on a faulty trailer that we acquired to fix up and had to bring over from the ex-home. I couldn’t safely move this out the way without assistance (anyone who has seen me parallel park would back this up).

Within 12 hours of television sets being left overnight on my own drive, I have had neighbours complain about them and a call from my new estate agents. They also mentioned the boat. And threw in an accusation of subletting because friends visiting us were spotted in my new home (looking too at home?! If so, I’m glad). It was also noted that we entered the garage that we weren’t supposed to. This was in order to desperately find some jump leads to start a vehicle that should have been on its way to work on a 4 hour journey already.

Aaaahh but this is where I need to remind myself that there are two sides to every story. Hopefully, you’re on my side so far. The calls from the estate agents today put more nails in an already painful week of packing and moving and cleaning, which would already have been unmanageable without my friends. It’s difficult to take with equanimity a suggestion that you haven’t taken care of a place, when you’ve spent the last however long doing your best to do just that. And it’s equally difficult not to be hurt that your new neighbours choose to think the worst of you and tell tales, rather than ask the reason why a situation they have observed is the way it is. I mean, heaven forbid they could even offer assistance where it would be welcome!

And yet, from the other point of view, I could be another in a long line of tenants who have taken liberties at someone else’s expense. I could be someone who’s broken into a new neighbourhood and started scuffing it up without a care in the world or any respect for my neighbours.

Rather than stewing over the fact that I am not either of these people, I need to take on the lesson and learn not to judge. I clearly have no appetite for being judged myself! I need to appreciate the other side of the story in all of the stories that happen. Hopefully, this will also help me write a better story than the ones that are overly one-sided. How about you? Has anyone had a run-in with a real estate or landlord, but there was a reasonable explanation?! Is one-sidedness your foe, too?