Bye bye I.

Esther and co. have finally achieved the move.

Moving day was a Friday, but the removal men had another job that morning, so they decided to split the job into two halves, packing the worldly goods into their van on the Thursday afternoon, and delivering them next day.

We agreed that I would take the boy Thursday morning, and transport him and the cat to ours, while Esther and the philosopher finished packing. Then she would come over, and she, I. and the cat would stay the night, and possibly the following night as well, depending on how the move had gone, while the philosopher would go on ahead and get things ready.

I was about to set out on Thursday morning when the phone rang: Esther, sounding panicked. The philosopher was out of action. He’d done his back in leaning over something to reach something else, and had hobbled painfully off to A&E leaving Esther to woman the fort alone. They’d been up since 5.30, none of the kitchen packing was done, none was doable while she had the boy to look after, and the removal men were due after lunch. I told her I was on my way.

Just under an hour later I was at her door, and a quarter of an hour after that, she, I. in his buggy with his bag of necessaries, self, the cat in his bag and the cat’s toilet cave were on the street looking for a taxi. I’d suggested calling a minicab but she said they didn’t have child seats, and weren’t tall enough to take the buggy, which is the other legal way to transport a small child. It was all very unlike my own rather relaxed attitude to such questions when she was an infant.  I used to just bung the carrycot onto the back seat (I remember her rolling out of it into the gutter one day when I mistimed a transfer: I rolled her straight back in, and she didn’t notice a thing.) Later we did have a child-seat. But in this situation I’d simply have sat her on my knee without a second thought. And here she still is. But she is extra-pernickety on this score, and wouldn’t allow anything so irresponsible.

Esther assured me there were always plentiful taxis on the Fulham Palace Road, and indeed I’d crossed several free ones on my way from West Brompton station. Inevitably, however, they melted away once we started looking. There were lots of taxis all right, but all occupied. After a fruitless ten minutes we decided to make our burdened way up towards Hammersmith, where there’s a cab rank. Just past the Charing Cross Hospital we spotted a free one, but before I could disentangle a hand to wave it turned down a side street. Then, however, one appeared, a gift from the gods. We piled in, and Esther rushed off home to continue packing. By then she was feeling better: the philosopher had texted to say the A&E people had diagnosed not a slipped disc, as he’d dreaded, but a trapped nerve, which is painful but not fatal. They’d given him a course of heavy-duty painkillers and relaxants, and said that by the time he finished them he should be better.and I spent an uneventful day and Esther, who arrived soon after he awoke from his nap, confirmed that everything had been safely removed, though as she’d been effectively single-handed and the movers had arrived at 11.30 rather than (as expected) at 2.00, they’d had to twiddle their thumbs a bit while she filled the remaining boxes. Fortunately the philosopher, even though disabled, had been able to exchange man-chat about football, which kept them all cheerful.and I spent an uneventful day and Esther, who arrived soon after he awoke from his nap, confirmed that everything had been safely removed, though as she’d been effectively single-handed and the movers had arrived at 11.30 rather than (as expected) at 2.00, they’d had to twiddle their thumbs a bit while she filled the remaining boxes. Fortunately the philosopher, even though disabled, had been able to exchange man-chat about football, which kept them all cheerful.

I. and I spent an uneventful day and Esther, who arrived soon after he awoke from his nap, confirmed that everything had been safely removed, though as she’d been effectively single-handed and the movers had arrived at 11.30 rather than (as expected) at 2.00, they’d had to twiddle their thumbs a bit while she filled the remaining boxes. Fortunately the philosopher, even though disabled, had been able to exchange man-chat about football, which kept them all cheerful.

Next morning was hot and sunny. I’d promised to accompany them to the station, to help with the numerous bits and pieces (not including the cat’s lav, which did not make the journey – it was showing its age, and Esther kindly left it for us to dispose of.) We packed into the car – the two of them and me, the cat, their overnight bag, the buggy, and three or four other, subsidiary bags of this and that.

At the station, I. had a tantrum. Esther bought him a banana, which she peeled down a few inches – it was huge, she knew he’d never eat it all, and wanted to save some for the train. But he desired all of it! All! Now! No, NOT that broken-off bit! (Broken food, oh, no!) All! ALL! Eventually she gave in: he stuffed it into his mouth – and ate half. Ah, well. We burst out laughing at the utter predictability of it, while some ladies drinking coffee at a nearby table looked across pityingly. As my friend Leslie likes to say to businessmen on planes who disapprove of infant disturbances: Believe it or not, you too were a baby once.

And then I was waving them goodbye, watching as Esther’s figure receded down the platform. She looked very small, and I couldn’t believe she was ever going to hoick all that onto the train unaided. But she did: there went I. in his buggy, and the cat in his bag, and there she went after them, into their new life.

I heaved a little sigh, brushed away a tear, and took myself off to catch the bus back home.

 

 

 

 

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