Who would have thought that moving down the road can be more demanding and take longer than an international move? – Certainly not I. But the refurbishment of the new house just was nerve wrecking – and still is: On the day the packers started working in the old house, we took our kids, a couple of suitcases, my mother in law and a bunch of matresses and sleeping bags and camped out in the new house. It wasn’t so bad, actually, since the kid’s bedroom already had their room virtually finished: For the move (and their birthday – they are already 5 now!) they got a bunk bed and new wardrobes from us, so they were even able to sleep in proper beds. The next morning, we all took showers in our new bathroom. I was third, and when I just was half way through, with shampooed hair and everything, I hear shouting from below: The water came out of our freshly painted ceiling. Grrrr! – And the list goes on, I don’t want to bore you with details of the pleasures and worries of buying an old house.

Twins on their new bed
The twins on their new bed in the morning

And then the movers came. One of their company visited the house (weeks ago) to estimate how much space, time, and manpower to set aside for our move. But he apparently tremendously underestimated the amount of stuff in our house. It turned out they had calculated about 1/4 to 1/3 of the boxes we actually needed. The car they were going to bring in definitely was too small, and turning up at half past 11 instead of 9 for packing (which got me fuming already when they arrived) also wasn’t such a smart move in hintsight. One of the packers told M. – apparently in awe – that he had never seen so many books in one place. Which is sad, really, because we do have many books but not such an awful lot that it should have been the most he has ever seen.

Boxing fail
you see here the box how I found it when I opened it: half empty, with an quadrant in brass (an antique optical instrument with glass lenses) and under the mess I found our vintage SL camera, of course without any wrapping either.

To be fair, they did bring in more people and set aside two more cars for the move the other day whithout charging us extra for it. However, when they run out of packaging material, they just packed china, pots and whatnot without any protection into the boxes. I had a couple of near heart-attacks while unpacking. But by shear luck it seems nothing broke. Nothing important anyway. Although we are still missing our drinking glasses – who knows maybe they were in a box that dropped and was chucked along the way.


Boxing fail
Another box, photographed right after opening. Unfortunately this one is rather representational of all our book boxes. – Never let someone pack your books who has apparently never handled them before!


panoramic new studio

Well, instead of ranting on, I’ll rather focus on my new studio, which should be more interesting to you anyway. I started to move my studio about a week before the actual move. The photo below was taken on May 29th, and shows my son helping to erect a shelf. Unfortunately we didn’t work that well together, and it ended up being rather askew. You can see the shelf in the panorama above on the left. When I made the panorama, I was standing against a small table where I thought my computer work station would be. However, it just occured to me, that I would rather want the chest of drawers beside it, which means I have to move the shelf 8cm to the right. Argh!

Well, other things you can see in the picture: a lot of boxes still have to be unpacked but not quite as many as it seems. The brown ones in about the middle of the image, at the back beside the chest, they are essentially empty, just filled with packaging peanuts. Packaging peanuts: There are some galleries which include in their calls for art etc. that items shouldn’t be packed with peanuts. I always thought this was a bit over the top. Not anymore, after searching for egg cups in a box full of the stuff. Peanuts are awful. Apparently before they ran out of packaging material, our packers used an abundance of peanuts. I have one cakestand for which I paid maybe £10 which was alone in one box full of peanuts. They didn’t last long. But I paid almost £300 for them. And so I couldn’t bring myself to toss them. I’ll see whether I’ll ever use them. They do give good protection but I am not sure whether I hate the recepients of my packages enough to make them deal with the mess they make.


Well, in any case, I am slowly settling in. I am still lacking some furniture which makes it hard to unpack more boxes. I would like a chest of large shallow drawers for my papers (plan chest for British English speakers, Flat Files for American English speakers). I am pondering where to put my press, would really like a new one (an etching press would be great!), and I would like some island workspace in the middle of the studio. On the other hand I already spent so much money on dampproofing the building, that I’ll have to think carefully about what more I can and want to afford.

New studio coming along nicely
/> parts of my studio coming along nicely

Oh, and while I am talking about damp proofing: In the panorama you can maybe see red cusions in the shelf. These are flood protection cusions (work like nappies/diapers for rain water). I haven’t had any accidents here yet, but I mistrust the 0.5cm threshold I have under the door, and place the cusions against the door when I am leaving. Makes me watch the English rain pouring down much more calmly.

But despite all the ranting here, I genuinely enjoy setting up the new studio, rediscovering materials and bits and bops. This is the first time, I move to a bigger space. I moved my studio several times so far, always downsizing, and now the space is going up for the first time, which is a very pleasant change.

I really should start working again, but we still have a lot of boxes in the main building to unpack, so until I have the peace of mind to really do meaningful work some more time may pass. Maybe I’ll find some more time for blogging in the meantime.

And while I am getting there, I have awfully much to read: My inbox has more than 300 messages for me to sort through, and my reader with which I subscribe to blogs has – let me check – 342 unread articles. Well, off I go. Maybe I’ll “see” you later in the comment section of your blog.

8 replies on “On the pleasures of moving”

  1. I sympathise with the removals issues. We paid a lot of money for movers to pack our house, when my son was just six weeks old. They were appalling. They broke a wardrobe, because they couldn’t be bothered to dismantle and reassemble it (_though I had paid ), they used our towels, sheets and other linen as packing materials. They muddled up items from different rooms and failed to label things. They also dismantled my infant’s crib, which I had carefully made up and wrapped for the move. I couldn’t find the sheets etc for days, because they used them for packing china. Then they left a huge, very heavy box on my bed and my husband was working away, so I couldn’t move it. Needless to say, we never used that firm again and warned off various friends. I do hope your stuff is all unscathed and easily found! As for the packing peanuts, how about offering them, along with some of your boxes, for sale on Gumtree.com, or a similar local selling site? A lot of people buy boxes etc to pack before they move, so you should be able to get a bit of your money back – which may pay for a plan chest!
    I bought my plan chest at the local auction house. It cost me about £130, including the auctioneer’s premium charge, which was less than half the cost of a new one. I went and registered with the auction house, then attended a viewing of office furniture – very lucky that they had three plan chests at the first sale. I left a bid with the auctioneer and was lucky to secure the one I wanted. We picked it up in the car. I’m so happy I took the trouble, as it’s really useful.
    The twins’ room looks nice and your studio space looks great. I hope the various moving issues – like plumbing! – are soon straightened out and that you will all be happy in your new home. X

    1. Oh dear, that sounds horrible! Now that most of my steam has gone off, and listening to other’s moving stories, I am beginning to think our movers were not so bad after all. Right in the beginning they asked us where we are going to sleep and made sure that there remains space to put up the bed and that it stays accessible, for example.
      I never tried Gumtree – thanks for the tip! A local auctioning house. Mhm, I hadn’t thought of that. £130 for a plan chest is really good. I have had a look at ebay, and all the old chests are about twice as much as I would have to pay for a new one, so I almost already settled for that. But maybe I should have a look offline, too. Thanks again for your tips! I’ll have to look around a little further.

  2. Ach je, Kischten und Kaschten stapeln, umstapeln, ausleeren, sortieren, einräumen, ach herrje. Das kenne ich zur Genüge und hoffe sehr, es nicht noch einmal zu erleben. Wie spricht Volkesmund: 2x umziehen ist wie einmal abgebrannt!? Aber dein hergerichtete „Aushäusel” verspricht viele schöne Arbeiten für die Zukunft. Alles Gute im neuen Gehäuse!

    1. Naja, ganz so schlimm wie abgebrannt ist’s nicht 🙂 Danke für die guten Wünsche. Ich muss mal schauen. wie ich all mein Zeug sinnvoll unterbringeö hätte nicht gedacht, dass das ein Problem werden kann, wenn man in einen größeren Raum umzieht, aber vorher hatte ich alles auf dem Boden unter der Bodentiefen Schrägen liegen. Jetzt muss ich nochmal neue Lösungen finden. Aber die kommen mit der Zeit bestimmt 🙂

  3. Hilke, your move sounds very stressful, I hope you will get a lot of pleasure out of your new house. As soon as the shower is fixed… What a distressing thing. Still, your studio looks wonderful. The kid’s room looks so nice. Let’s hope it’s all smooth sailing from here.

    1. thanks for the good wishes. The same to you! Your new studio space looks promising, I am looking forward to seeing how you’ll fill it with life.

  4. Just a word of warning about the packing peanuts: galleries hate them because not only do they make a mess, if they are the newer variety they may be made from cornstarch. This means they can break down with moisture, and are subject to bug infestations. If you can sell them to someone else who is moving soon and doing their own packing, great. ; ]

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