So, I receive a text message from Find My Man and Van, a house move in East London and it's time for Driver Dan (and his little white van) to burst into action!
I load the van with all my removals equipment, pick up my trusty help and arrive early to ensure that parking, access and egress are not going to be problematic. A quick recon of the premises reveals no problems - this should be a straightforward job, just the way it should be :)
Now bear in mind that, at Find My Man and Van, we want everything about your house move to go perfectly so, along with a booking receipt, we send out a Moving Check List (how to pack, utilities to inform, redirect your post and so forth) so that the moving day itself will go without a hitch.
Anyhow, I'm there and give the door bell a quick buzz. My trusty helper has already run through his pre-moving warm up: a few squat thrusts, star jumps, and a little jog around the block. After due pause the door bell is rung once more, no answer. This is strange.
"Why not ring the customer?" a slightly red-cheeked helper suggests.
"Good idea batman," I reply. A phone is accessed, the number found, and the customer called.
...then a voice, a slightly croaky one but a voice nonetheless!
"Hello? It's Sam," they say.
"Good morning, it’s Find My Man and Van."
"Ah, is it? yes it's time, erm, well, come in..."
We enter, and are met by an a young man, in his underpants, with a bottle of Becks in one hand. A quick glance around reveals a number of such youths in various states of slumber and dishevelment
"We had a moving out party last night," Sam explains as he swigs from the bottle in his hand.
By the looks of the flat it would seem as if the party had not quite finished.
"Oh yeah, we are moving today," says a voice from beneath a duvet. Over a period of about 5 minutes various tipsy and slightly less tipsy males emerge from various corners with much scratching of chins and ruffling of hair. When mankind first emerged from the caves it must have been something like the sight that was unfolding before me. Their faces turned from half-awake to half-shocked as brains cells fired up and they suddenly remembered that today was indeed the day they were to move on.
"All packed and ready to go?" I enquire.
"Packed, yeah. Well not quite. Not quite at all. Erm, no, not at all actually," Sam tells us.
Now this situation is not unknown to the good people at Find your Man and Van. The moving of students can be sometimes be a disordered affair, but we were all young once and we are here to help. So I gather all those who are moving, along with my helper, for a group hug in the middle of the front room.
"Well lads, we have five people moving, little if anything packed. This is going to be a group effort - gentleman, start your engines!"
The helper is dispatched back to the van and returns with a selection of flat packed boxes, black bags, sticky tape and other packing materials.
Boxes are opened and precious goods stashed carefully the into boxes. Soon the stairs are thundering to the footfalls of busy students. Boxes are stacked, furniture conveyed and all stored securely in the van like some giant Teris puzzle.
I take stock. We have made good progress; all the main rooms are empty, furniture placed in the van, all that is left are the bedrooms.
The Golden rule when moving is to be prepared, a lesson from the Boy Scouts! Clearly few, if any, of these young men earned their preparedness badges. Clothes are thrown from cupboards, and stuffed into black bags - of the very thin, tissue-paper like variety. The lad who's hangover was the most incapacitating had been dispatched to the local supermarket to fetch these wafer-thin marvels of the modern petrochemical industry.
I offer some friendly advice, "Remember chaps, don’t overfill the bags."
Time passes, bags are filled, the hour arrives and the bags are ready to go in the van. It soon become apparent that my good advice fell upon deaf ears. The few bags that are half-filled make the trip from the flat to the van. The majority (which have been filled to bursting, trouser legs and jumper arms spilling forth like octopus tentacles) do not.
"Not again!" is the repeated refrain as a black bags parts, it's contents cacasding across carpet, stairs or concrete depending upon how far it survived. A few of the shiny black cocoons make it to the van, most however are disembowelled en-route; scattering their innards across the floor, the stairs, and the car park.
After much ado the van is full, the flat emptied and the slowly sobering students successfully moved.
The main lesson learnt from this is to pack or not to pack? Methinks it is nobler to pack before the moving van arriveth!
In all seriousness - a little time spent before the Find My Man and Van team arrives packing your belongings into a boxes and strong plastic bags allows for easy movement to the moving van and easy unloading at your destination, the secure and safe passage our your items is our priority :)