Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

One week countdown for my departure for Spain begins

This time next week I shall just be about an hour and a half away from my departure for Spain (I wrote about my detailed itinerary for this trip a few weeks ago here). Most of my pre-departure preparations are made, but a task I will do today (or just possibly tomorrow) is to do a dummy-run of packing up the car. One of the rooms in my apartment has all of the suitcases and bags laid out in it, and some are even already packed, with most of what is still to go in the bags laid out there, too. My visual checks seem to show that everything I want to take can physically be accommodated in the car, and I am normally pretty good at estimating this kind of thing, but I want to make sure - I don't want to find, next Monday evening (or even worse, next Tuesday morning!) that a door or the boot-lid of the car won't close.

Although I am buying all of the furniture and most of the equipment for my house in Spain there, there are certain things I want to take with me from here, either because I couldn't find precisely what I want there, but more usually because I have duplicates, triplicates or quadruplicates of certain things here in Scotland and I don't want to acquire yet another set of something or other in Spain. The two best examples of the latter are china-ware and cutlery. I have something of a 'fetish', I must confess, for both and as a result I have over the years bought a lot more than I can make use of regularly so it seemed only sensible to transfer one set of both to do duty in Spain; even after I have taken a 12-setting dinner service and cutlery with me I will stil have at least two similar sets of both here in Scotland. My 'problem' is possibly even worse with cutlery; a year or so back I bought additional sets, but decided later that I didn't particularly like them so whilst I do very occasionally use them I've never enjoyed this, so more recently I bought another set of cutlery that is much more to my taste, so that is part of what is coming along with me. Over the past couple of weeks I have become an expert at using bubble-wrap [for the china-ware] and tie-grips to make sure everything I have packed is secure and rattle-free; there's no point in taking a lot of china-ware if a lot of it is going to be broken when I get there!

Now a bit of a diversion, if you'll bear with me. I first learned about tie-grips when I was still involved in party politics as one of the jobs I used to assist with was going around Inverness, Nairn and Grantown-on-Spey with one of my political-junkie friends equipped with a step-ladder, piles of plastic signs (pre-punched with holes, using a hole-punch acquired from the local farm-supplies outlet as it was designed for use in marking livestock) and loads of tie-grips so we could fix the signs on lamp-posts; the trick was to get around before one's political rivals so you could get the best locations, but if there were already signs up on a pole we had to position our own signs without physically touching another party's signs; electoral law and local regulations are quite strict about such things, also about the need to avoid lamp-posts or other poles in specific locations (those bearing traffic signs, minimum height above the road/pavement, for example - although some parties seem to ignore such niceties, we always tried to obey the rules scrupulously.

OK diversion over! As for my furniture and equipment (i.e. 'white goods') for the house in Spain, it is all ordered and should be delivered soon after my arrival there in a couple of weeks. However, as I wrote here (in my other 'casabill' blog), although my contacts with furniture shops there show most items ordered are on-track for delivery, there is a hitch with certain items of living-room furniture (wall units, etc), so I will have to identify and order alternatives when I get there. Since then I've been in touch a couple of times with both the carpenter and the metal-worker who are doing work for me and they assure me that their jobs at my house will be completed by Wednesday or Thursday this week; I spoke with one of them on the telephone yesterday evening and he confirms they have already made arrangements to get the keys from the key-holder (and the kep-holder confirms this, too) so I am hoping it will all be done for my arrival. The only other places I have still to contact are the bathroom shop (for the shower screen and certain other bathroom fittings) and the curtain shop for the blinds ('venetian' and 'roller') I have ordered - I have to some extent been putting this off because their English is pretty rudimentary, as is my Spanish - however, I'll get that done today or tomorrow as well, just to re-confirm to them when I am scheduled to arrive.

Now I must get back to the real, practical world! Me typing about this, laptop on my lap as I sit up in bed listening to the 'Today' programme on BBC Radio4, isn't going to get the dummy-run of loading up the car accomplished, which I referred to above. I must steel myself to get out of bed, get showered, shaved, dressed and get some breakfast!

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