Boots in Box

Everyone tells me it is extremely stressful moving house – it is meant to be the equivalent of a major car accident. How was that ever calculated?

I am wondering if a major part of the stress is simply the reconsidering of Everything that Previously did not Need to be Considered.


Most of what we now own is either in a box or in a recycling depot of some kind. A small part is in drawers and on walls and the kind of environment those objects call home. For the next few months when I need something I envisage where it was in our old house, recall the moment of packing it and go in search of that box. It is like looking for things in an unfamiliar supermarket. The smoked salmon is not going to be very far from the… Humous? Or maybe fish? Perhaps blinis? There have to be some universal rules.

So I am looking, for instance for my hiking boots. I find the wellies. No boots. I find the ski stuff (woo dusty). No boots. I find the tennis racquets. No. I find the box marked “kitchen jumble”. There. Oh yes.

I curse the movers for two days for losing my essential kitchen equipment. I cannot cut an onion with a SPOON. I refuse to buy any of it again. Any part of it. I refuse very loudly. With a plate. The children go quiet and helpful. The missing things were in a drawer. Which? The drawer in the side of the dresser. This? That. Look.

And the essential kitchen items jangle a bit as I open the full empty drawer.

The difficulty is that the drawer is no longer in the kitchen so I could not conceive of its containing the same objects once it had moved. It simply is not the same drawer. I suffered an Expectation Shift Breakdown. They are everywhere.

They are actually everywhere everyday. When I write a short story I expect it to build to a punchy end. When I get to Act Three of The Seagull I expect to finish it tired. When I get to the beginning of my second glass of Cava I expect to finish it sober.

Did you get that? Hiking boots. Another reason I don’t know where anything is, is simply because I am distracted by views like this:


My Life in Art has a whole new meaning.


4 thoughts on “Boots in Box

  1. Thank you Federay. I will keep this post to remind myself never to consider moving house EVER again.

    I like your concept of an Expectation Shift Breakdown. I get that a lot with writing. (Paul Weller also put it well when he said about his own songwriting: “wanting it to be perfect but settling for good”.)

    Have another glass of Cava. x

  2. Hurrah. Good to see you back on the blog.
    I don’t want to move, but one day, before long, I will have to. Last time was from a tiny flat to this (still) wonderful house, two DIY trips in a small van, with about one piece of furniture to put in each gloriously empty new room, laughing children running upstairs and down. Next time the process will reverse, I’ll be choosing one piece from each room to take with me, asking some house clearance company to swallow the rest, saying goodbye to 30 years plus of my life…

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