Well, we're more or less installed in our new home! I would have posted sooner, but I couldn't get the Telewest cable modem working with the Mac for a while. The moving guys were fantastic (and got a big tip!) so the physical part of moving was fairly untraumatic. I'm not sure that we would go for it if we were paying for it ourselves, but getting everything packed by experts is a huge luxury. The day before we moved, we just cleared off and spent a very pleasant day pottering around the gardens of Cliveden, and visiting a gallery of Stanley Spencer's paintings in Cookham. We came back to find absolutely no free space in the flat, but everything was neatly packed in boxes. Our flat is so small that packing must have been like one of those sliding tile puzzles; you would have to move something to make the space to move something else closer to where you wanted it to go. Our move was slightly complicated by the fact that some of the furniture and contents are ours, and some belong to our landlady, so we had lots of labels on everything to tell the movers what was going and what was staying. Also, Mr. Bsag is staying in Oxford for a couple more weeks to sort out some loose ends and finish off at work, so he had to leave a few things in the flat for him. Some items ended up in the wrong location, but generally it worked out pretty well. I have to go back to pick Mr. Bsag up anyway, so we'll sort it all out then.
It's slightly chaotic at the moment in our new house, as it is being extensively redecorated, and a new bathroom is being fitted. Builders and carpet fitters are coming and going, and there are bare floorboards in some areas. However, we do have a working toilet and bath — even if there's no flooring or tiles — so it isn't too bad. The builders are great, and are cracking on with work at a terrific rate, so it should all be done in another couple of weeks.
We've been to Ikea, and had to recruit a small army of helpers to push all our trolleys, which was slightly embarassing. The house is mostly unfurnished (apart from a dining table and chairs), so we had to get an enormous amount of stuff. We then spent the next couple of days knee-deep in Allen keys, assembling everything. As a result, we both have 'Allen key calluses' but a lovely set of new furniture. I must say that the instructions and construction methods for Ikea products are admirably clear. In contrast, we bought a futon from the Futon Company, and had to put that together while completely exhausted at about midnight on the day we moved. The bed itself is wonderful, but the instructions were complete gibberish. There were also a couple of frighteningly complicated sprung hinge or lever type things which could have been specifically design to trap the fingers of tired bed constructors. It hasn't fallen apart yet, so we must have done something right.
Over the past few days, I've spent quite a lot of time wandering around the house, looking at things and just trying our new home on for size, like a pair of shoes. I think that you have to really get to know the quirks of a house before you feel at home; you look at the rooms, watch where the light falls over the course of the day, and become familiar with the particular smell of the house and any odd noises it makes. I already know that the bottom stair is the only one which creaks, so I'm well on the way to really knowing the house. Once you have filled it with your own possessions and are familiar with its quirks, you feel safe and it becomes your own territory. I think we're going to like it here.