In which JTA is Entirely Surrounded By Boxes

So we have moved to Earth. Not only have we moved, but it’s starting to look like home. Quite how I own So Much Stuff(TM) I don’t know (especially since it turns out the sum total of the books in my posession doesn’t cover more than 38 foot of shelving, and barely takes up any room at all.

Getting out of the Uberflat was a sad business, and our arrival on Earth was… interesting. Ruth, of course, was the driving force behind moving here, starting out fresh, etcetera, so it was a bit of a letdown to discover the place was in ruins (OK, not actual ruins, but the fridge-freezer didn’t the front door didn’t close, the boiler didn’t work, the matress was worse than the one I had in Penbryn, the bathroom ceiling leaked, the bedroom door didn’t close, the garage door key was lost years ago, the snug smelt of damp, the sofa was torn to buggery, the kitchen tap dripped, the smoke alarms didn’t, the cooker hadn’t been cleaned, the grill pan was in the garden and the builders who lived here before had left stacks of low-quality pornography and rubble dotted around the place).

I will say for Premier Letting Agency that whilst they’re more than happy to let you move into a place that’s not really habitable, they did at least put in the effort to make it habitable once we’d arrived (I suspect the chap who was handling our account was New, and not really sure what he was supposed to be doing, because the girl who I’ve been speaking to lately has been Very Organising and has got things fixed). In fact, the Landlords have given us a much better matress, and a really nice new fridge freezer, and a front door that works properly and doesn’t have to be door-whisperered into closing is due next week. Almost everything else is fixed up too, apart from the Forgotten Garage and the fact there doesn’t appear to be a stopcock anywhere in the building.

Dissapointingly, the washing machine did work, so I couldn’t call Premier and tell them it was broke.

Still, since most of the things got either fixed or slated-to-be-fixed, the place has been coming along nicely, and I rather think it feels like home, although the unpacking bit is still kind of a pain. We delayed unpacking initially by more or less living out of bags the first week because we left most of our stuff back in Aber rather than try to transport everything in Miriam (which would have been a Bad Thing). Consequently we hired a Transit Van Raptor with which to shuttle our belongings about the shop, and we duly nipped back to Aber for a final Aber-based Troma Night last Friday and to load things into the van and get everything to Earth on Saturday.

Mostly, Dan loaded things into the van, whilst I tried to pack without moving anything (seriously, I wasn’t kidding when I said the matress on Earth was bad, it really did do a number on me). We also swung by CRAFT to pick up the various bits of furniture which we’d bought there the previous week (a very nice wall cabinet for £7.50, and a fantastic umbrella stand / hall seat which looks to be at least pre-war, if not better.

It became fairly apparent, around Saturday afternoon, that it was not going to be possible to get everything into the Raptor. Dan did amazing work packing things into corners, and stuffing up the furniture full of other things that needed to be transported, but even full to the ceiling, it wasn’t going to be enough – every time I declared a room to be “almost done” it turned out there were another five boxes of oddments still needing to be packed up.

So Ruth and I headed out of town on Saturday evening, with a revised plan: drive to Earth, jettison everything, sleep a bit, and then come back the next day (via Newport, where I’d arranged to collect my grandparent’s sofa bed, which would do for the Snug [It would do better for the snug if it wasn’t getting saggy in the middle, but I think stuffing a couple of pine boards in there will help with that]). We decided in advance that, since neither of us had actually driven a van before then, we’d work in strict shifts: one hour on, one hour off. I heartily recommend this to anyone undertaking a long journey after a tiring day in an unfamilar vehicle – knowing that you have to swap over is a damn good defence against thinking you’ll just go another forty miles to the next services, and is actually more restful because you can take a quick nap when it’s your break.

We’d planned to go via the Motorways, but that was sunk somewhat by a big oil spill outside Llandinam, so we backtracked to Llangurig and cut down the A44 to Worcester before we hit the M5. We returned to Earth about 02:00, and managed to unload everything – mostly into the garage, which does at least open from the inside – by around 03:30, at which point we went to sleep on out awesome new matress, which Premier had left in the hall. (We didn’t sleep in the hall, obviously, we took it upstairs first, but it was worth it all the same).

Sunday we were up at 08:00 (ugh) and hit the road about half past. We were considerably slowed down by IKEA, where we were purchasing book shelves in exchange for the aforementioned sofa, because we’d forgotten how bloody hard it is to get through IKEA without being slowed down by the chicanes and the hidden everything that makes it such a challenge to find what you’re after. But we made it to Newport anyway, and I was proved right that a transit van will go up our drive (I knew, because I’d seen ’em do it, but it was still nice to work out the mechanics), and then we got back to Aber about 16:00 and continued to load the van until we left, at 22:30. It would have been much, much, later but Paul was awesome and volunteered to do the actual cleaning.

So we brought the Raptor back in shifts, and arrived about 03:00 Monday, and unloaded and got four hours sleep, and then I went and took the Raptor back to Thifty, had bacon-egg-and-chips with a mug of sweet tea at Mick’s Cafe (which Statto introduced me to, and which is awesome) and, duly fortified, started getting shelves in place and emptying boxes onto them.

Emptying boxes is, in fact, just about all I’ve done this week, although I did get the Internet set up yesterday (which was pleasingly easy) and moved my computer up to my room today (which I didn’t before because of Watching Things, but next time I’m here there will be a television). O, and I’ve been trying to install the dishwasher, but I can’t because of the lack of a stopcock – to fit a dishwasher I have to put an adaptor on the pipe, and to do that I have to remove the supply to the washing machine, and to do that I really need a stopcock because there isn’t a tap on the feeder pipe, so if I remove the supply there’ll be water everywhere. Not even the Landlords know where the stopcock is, apparently, so that will be interesting (and possibly involve a lot of towels and turning on all the other taps, which I guess could work…

Anyway, the supply of yet-un-unpacked boxes is considerably reduced, and the few that remain un-unpacked can be shifted into the Snug for safekeeping, just in time for the living room to be once again re-filled with Boxes. But these will belong to Dan and Paul and will therefore Not Be My Responsibility, which is much nicer, and will leave me time to work out where all my clothes are going to go.

Anyway, I should go ensure that said boxes are duly hoiked over a couple of rooms, otherwise we shalln’t be able to leave for Wales on time.

Man, having the Internet again is nice. Now if I can only catch up on my 4,972 (+, because one indivudual feed is giving me nowt more specific than 1,000) Unread Items in my RSS feeds I might feel settled in…

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  1. On June 10, 2010 The Pacifist says:

    Is the snug still damp, then?


  2. On June 10, 2010 Statto says:

    How bizarre that you were at the end of my road on Monday morning.

    I guess I’ll have to get used to this. In a good way.

  3. On June 10, 2010 Stattosdad says:

    I don’t think turning on all the taps, and even an infinite supply of towels will work…I think you need a pipe freezing kit. Or a plumber.

  4. On June 11, 2010 Sarah says:

    My old house had the stop cock in the street, in houses that tends to be where it is. So, if you havent looked there yet I’d suggest that. Mine is in the ceiling, which always struck me as an odd place. Although I guess if water is rising the only way you can go is up….

  5. On June 13, 2010 Mister JTA says:

    I have also checked the street. On both sides of the pavement, and some way along the house each way. What is a pipe freezing kit, and where do I get one?

  6. On June 13, 2010 Sarah says:

    Thats really odd! Dont the letting agents know? The landlord should of been given a book with all that info in when he brought the property (its all my HIP). You could basically freeze off the system so that you can do work on it without turning off the system, they use that a lot in hospitals and places with big water systems. I’ve never tried it, to be honest I try doing DIY when I can, but I haven’t had any problems with my water supply touch wood so far. I suspect you can get one online, but you might want a plumbers opinion, or at least turn the electrics off. Seriously, I need to get some plumber/electrician friends.

    I changed some light fittings yesterday, and the locks, I impressed myself :)

  7. On June 14, 2010 Stattosdad says:

    Have a look here :

    you wrap the foam tube around the pipe, squirt the contents of the aerosol inside the foam, wait 10 mins, and a plug of ice forms inside the pipe, stopping water flow and giving you time to do whatever you need to do – in your case it might be smart to spend the time fitting a stopcock!

    Your local builders merchant or DIY store should have these in stock.

  8. On June 14, 2010 Mister JTA says:

    Ah! That might do it, actually, cheers!

    The letting agents should know where a stopcock is, yes, but they didn’t. So they rang the landlord, and he doesn’t know. As a last resort they tried the contractor who did the PAT tests and things, and he guessed the garage, which I think means he mixed it up with the gas tap (the garage is full now, but it wasn’t when I looked, so I think the whole thing has gone AWOL.

    I’ll take a look next time I end up in Homebase (shouldn’t be too long; Ruth has decided that since we’ve got a garden, we’re going to do things to it!)

  9. On June 16, 2010 Stattosdad says:

    Just be aware that messing with mains pressure water is not for the faint hearted – depending on how strong the pressure is with you, the ice plug may only hold it for a short time, and if it fails, you’re gonna get very wet!

    I’d have thought this really ought to be a job for the landlord. It must be in his interests to have a working stopcock – without one any failure in the internal plumbing is going to be much more disasterous than otherwise.

  10. On June 16, 2010 Stattosdad says:

    Oh, and if you do decide to have a go yourself, there must be NO flow in the pipe when you freeze it, cos that’ll stop any plug forming, so ALL taps off!

  11. On June 16, 2010 Statto says:

    The brilliant thing about this is, if it goes horribly wrong, JTA will have to write a ’blog post entitled ‘In which JTA is entirely surrounded by water’…

  12. On June 18, 2010 Ruth says:

    I’m so afraid for my lovely new home… I’m pro-boat, as everyone knows, but I don’t want one in my living room.

  13. […] the bit of the plan where that happened had gone wrong). It turns out that with all the business of moving to Earth, I’d managed to miss a re-matching service, where people who hadn’t got gifts could […]