Phew. Moving house is hard work. And I haven't even done the lifting and loading and packing/unpacking yet. I'm still just phoning around talking to people who tell me impossible things, which I then have to talk them out of before I can get my move sorted. For instance, my removal people say it will take five hours for four people to load my stuff into a van... even though I did it in about that time without help before. And believe me, I'm not fast at carrying both ends of a mattress all by myself. But the disparity, I'm told, comes from the fact that they pack the van so much more carefully than I would have done. Riiigghhht. Then I spoke to Orange, who had processed my change of address (hooray!) but couldn't help me with my other query which related to a recent upgrade I'd arranged via the Carphone Warehouse. I was told that no such upgrade existed, Carphone Warehouse would never have cold-called me to arrange such an upgrade, and that I must have been dealing with some third-party who were deceiving me. Wow. The fact that this third-party had sent me an Orange phone and sim card, and then updated my records on the Orange database cut no ice. They must have a 'contact' at Orange I was told. Very surreal and unsettling, and it took fifteen minutes of reasoning to get them to answer the question I was asking - and even then I had to replace the name 'Carphone Warehouse' with the name 'Orange' so that the lady I was speaking to would believe me. Then I talked to BT who told me that there was no spare capacity in the wiring that links the area I'll be living in to the local exchange, so there was no way for me to have a phone line until they could free up some wires. To be fair, they were incredibly nice about it, but it was still a little difficult to accept. I asked why the existing wiring couldn't be used, but was told there was no record of a phone at that address. Funny, the same thing happened when I moved into my last place, and then, just as now, in arranging to buy the place I'd actually spoken to the previous owner on his nonexistent phone line. So, eventually I tracked down the actual phone number of the previous owner and made the case that if the last tenant had been making calls from that address only last week, then the wires were very probably still attached to the telephone poles and perhaps I could make use of them too. It took several hours of calls - and we had to book an engineer to visit the house - and then cancel the booking - and then make and cancel it again - but we got there in the end. Yes, it's all been very difficult. Not to mention eye-wateringly, wooze-makingly expensive. And I've come to see this long struggle as nothing less than a conflict between competing ideologies. I just have to believe strongly enough that a house move is possible while all about try to persuade me that such a thing can never be. The trouble is that occasionally I find my faith weakening. Perhaps there is no wiring. Perhaps I have so many boxes of books that no mere removal firm can ever shift them. Perhaps fraudsters really do hand out new mobile phones for free as part of some strange, loss-making scam. But then I think of the screaming mopeds and thumping bass of North Woolwich, and I picture the tiny little ponies who live in the field next to my new house, and once again my bloodyminded resolve to move is renewed.
Actual nearby mini-ponies