• Ships Into The West

    by  •  • Bristol


    Ever tried to rent a large van in central London? It takes hours.

    The woman behind the counter was typing for about five minutes just to add a sat nav to my order. Beside me was a Frenchman arguing over his bill and complaining that -not only was it double what was agreed this morning- it took the company two hours to actually hand them the keys.

    I belabour this point because it’s necessary to understand my state of growing anxiety.

    In just one day I had to check out a van (they opened at 8am and no earlier), singlehandedly pack out our Islington house (James was at work), drive from central London -avoiding the congestion charges I couldn’t afford to pay- all the way to Bristol where I was to unpack our five cubic metres of pure crap (got help at that end), drive the van back into central London before the rental place closed at 6pm (it’s 2.5 hours one way) and then hop a train and a bus back to Bristol in order to start work at the BBC the very next day.

    Anyway I managed to do all these things awesomely and sweatily. England’s green and pleasant lands were looking especially green and pleasant that morning as well.

    Those of you who knew me when may remember that I spent six months basically packing in/out venues and driving vans as a staging tech.

    It was very reminiscent of my times at Multi. I also remember how I managed to get so hot back then…. It’s fucking hard work.

    The sense memory of driving a large van through crowded streets and motorways was quite beneficial for my rapidly improving mental health.

    Thing about being shot down for 30 jobs in an industry that is collapsing around you is -after a while- you start to think you are shit at everything. It’s part of the spiral of temporary depression. You literally cannot remember if you were good at anything.

    So whilst I was sore and limping a little on my first day at least my brain was starting to remember that I am, in fact, good at some things.

    Pity about the limping, of course. Could be worse… I collapsed in the toilets on my first day at the Herald. The night before my third day my throat closed over and I had to be hospitalised.


    Now I know that I am looking at this having spent the last five years in a country with truly the worst and most angry drivers in the First World… But British drivers are so polite!

    And not just in London where you have to be because nobody knows where they are going.

    Even on the motorway.

    So now we’re here. And James starts working in Bristol on Thursday. I’m moving all our stuff in and it’s a lovely sunny (cold) morning.

    Actually I thought I might take a break and do a bit of blogging… Live from Camelot.

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