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I booked a week off for the move, thinking that we'd be done by Wednesday and I'd have a couple of days to relax in the new house after the move. I underestimated a little...

We spent Saturday and Sunday tidying and packing bags (and finishing Tales of Vesperia once we got bored). Come Monday, we picked up the keys at half-twelve and entered our new house for the first time - it felt really strange to just be handed keys and told "it's all yours", rather than to be shown around by a landlord or rental agent! Armed with floorplan measurements, we set off to buy some furniture...

Handily, there is a British Heart Foundation furniture store on the Falkirk high street. Even more handily, they had a half price sale on. We had been planning on getting rid of our old sofa, which had a ripped cover and broken springs in the middle which created a dip that was nigh-impossible to get out of once you'd sat down, even when filled with duvets. We ended up picking a lovely cream-coloured suite of one two-seater sofa and one three-seater - according to our floorplan, they would fit in the living room, even if they made it a bit small. We also picked up a sofabed for the back room. They would be delivered on Thursday.

In one fell swoop we'd completed half of our planned shopping. We'd decided to hire a van for two reasons: one, we reckoned we'd end up buying sofas from IKEA, who don't ship to Falkirk due to it being exactly halfway between two stores and out of delivery range of both; and two, we couldn't fit our mattress and single bed into the car. With the first reason gone, and the single bed replaced by a sofabed, the only remaining reason was the mattress, and Nate convinced me that we could probably lift it between us...

So when we started our move on Monday afternoon, our moving equipment consisted of a bunch of bags and boxes, two people, and a Renault Clio. At least we were only moving two streets away, and we only needed to get down one flight and back up one flight of stairs... right?

We started with the books we'd packed, and established a routine that would become very familiar over the next few days: fill the car until its suspension was groaning, drive two streets over, unload, drive back. It seemed to take forever to fill a square meter of the back room with bags and boxes - perhaps I'd underestimated the task. Well, we'd be done by Wednesday rather than Tuesday then...

We spent our last night in the old flat, then woke up early Tuesday morning and disassembled our bed. Without a van, moving the mattress was interesting: turns out that while thick double-sprung double bed mattresses are technically liftable by two people, and while two streets is not that far to walk, going two streets while trying to keep a very heavy mattress upright and off the ground is fairly challenging. I think we surprised a few learner drivers on the test route that goes past our flat! The rest of the bed at least fitted in the Clio in one dimension - the long sides poked out the back of the boot, so I ended up driving very slowly while Nate jogged alongside to make sure they didn't start slipping out.

By the time my mum and cousin arrived for lunch, we'd managed to get a few more loads across, and the back room floor in the new flat was slowly disappearing under a creeping tide of assorted stuff. The extra hands were most welcome, as was the lunch, but once they left a few hours later we were back on our own. The rest of the day passed in a blur of lifting, climbing down stairs, loading, driving, unloading, climbing up stairs, setting down...

It was just as well we'd assembled our bed that morning, because by Tuesday night we were in no fit state to wield tools safely let alone put furniture together in a lasting fashion. We celebrated the move in true chaotic mid-move style: a pack of donuts and a couple of glasses of rum and lemon Fanta, eaten sitting on the floor in a small space cleared between towering piles of assorted stuff.

Wednesday morning, we were too tired to continue the grind, so we headed to IKEA to pick up some bookshelves - I was planning to bring up all the books I'd left at my parents' when I moved in with Nate. As is the way of IKEA, we ended up with tons of stuff: some chunky 'EXPEDIT' storage units for the bedroom, a TV unit, a mirror, curtains for the living room, and some funky kitchen stuff. When we got home we realised that we had not in fact bought any bookshelves...

We spent the rest of Wednesday packing and transporting, interspersed with bouts of furniture-assembling whenever we got too tired or bored. My parents and cousin came over for dinner - the latter bearing a pot of awesome chicken cacciatore he'd cooked, much appreciated by two very tired and sore house-movers. After they left we resumed the grind, and by Wednesday night, we reckoned we'd got almost everything across.

The furniture from the BHF was meant to be delivered on Thursday morning, and Virgin were to fit cable on Thursday afternoon. I spent an hour or so in the morning nervously checking the window every time something sounding like a van approached. When it finally did arrive, I went out happily to receive our new furniture... only to run into a problem.

You see, we're a first floor flat. Our narrow stairwell runs alongside the downstairs flat, which means it takes a right-angle as soon as you go through the door, then a second right-angle further up. Some well-meaning soul had situated the electricity meter cabinet at that second right-angle, making the stairs even narrower.

The delivery guys brought the three-seater couch up to the door, looked at the stairwell, looked at the three-seater, and started laughing. When I looked puzzled, they flipped it up on end: stood up, the sofa was at least a foot higher than the door, and they demonstrated the impossibility of fitting more than half of it into the stairwell at any one time. So back in the van it went, and we were told to get back to the shop and choose a different - and shorter - sofa. On the plus side, they did manage to get the sofa bed up, so at least we had something to sit on.

Post delivery, Nate went off to the old house to start cleaning in preparation for Friday's inspection, while I waited on the Virgin guy. He wasn't long in arriving, and brought with him a V+ box, new cable modem and new wireless router - great timing, since our old ones had started flaking out a few months previous. When he left I schlepped round to join Nate.

It took until Thursday night to finish the old place - cleaning, hoovering, taking junk to the dump, bumping our old sofa, armchair and single bed down the stairs to await council pickup, and somehow still finding another few carloads of belongings to take to the new flat.

I dreamed of lifting and loading boxes that night.

On Friday morning, we woke up to the joyous realisation that finally there was nothing left to move. We headed round for the inspection - it was strange to see the flat completely bare, as we'd first seen it almost two years ago. Our agent looked around and seemed happy with the state of the flat - although she did note with amusement that the items "one purple mug" and "one green towel" were missing from her inventory. We'd always wondered where the strangely mismatched mug and towel had come from! Luckily, she promised not to hold it against us when it came to returning our deposit.

In the afternoon, we headed back to the BHF store to try and find a replacement couch. This time we were armed with not only the floorplan, but also the measurements of the sofa bed which had successfully fitted up the stairs. The BHF staff were very understanding, and even let us browse through their under-store warehouse for suites which hadn't been put out on the shop floor yet. Unfortunately, because the half-price sale had ended, they couldn't let us do a straight swap and take another suite for the same price - but when we picked out a pair of light red two-seater sofas, we still got a substantial discount. Given that they could have reasonably refused to even take the original suite back - "you bought it, it's your problem" - we were pretty happy.

Back at the flat... while technically we had managed to move everything, it was all sitting in one huge pile in the back room. We obviously weren't quite done yet. I put in a holiday request for Monday and Tuesday off.

We (and when I say 'we', Nate did all the planning and an awful lot of the work: I'm not very good at organising things) spent the next few days shifting things around, shelving books and clothes, unpacking boxes, and searching through every box and bag to find certain items only to find them right next to where we started two hours later. The sofas were delivered on Monday and proved to be both stairwell-safe and a good match for the living room. I tested them out by sitting on them and engaging in the many pieces of paperwork and web forms that need to be sent off when one changes address.

I went back to work on Wednesday with some relief at the eventual return of normality. The house is still slightly jumbled, but it already feels like home to an extent that the old flat never really did, despite having lived here only a couple of weeks to the old flat's couple of years. I'm looking forward to spending my next few years here :)

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