So anyway, suffice it to say, I had a moving experience yesterday. In fact it almost moved me to tears. I certainly felt like crying at one point. And not just when I got hit in the face with a wardrobe. But by the end of the day, Lisa's Mum was successfully settled into her new flat. When I say 'settled', I obviously mean 'surrounded by boxes and unable to get within three feet of her bed', but I didn't hear her complain. Mainly because I was half a mile away within five minutes of unloading the last box.
The highlight of the day for me, was getting to know Lisa's cousin. I met him briefly at their aunt's funeral in April last year, but a ten-second chat outside a crematorium really doesn't do the man justice. By 2pm yesterday afternoon I had enough material for a book, a play and a TV mini-series. To say the man's a character would be an understatement. I'd add that he's the kind of bloke you can't fail to like, but judging by some of the stories he told me, that doesn't appear to be true. I certainly warmed to him though. He's like Del-Boy Trotter crossed with Arthur Daly. Only slightly more dodgy.
It all made for a very interesting day, and by mid-afternoon the two of us were firm friends. He even gave me his views on women as we drove over to the new flat. And may I say, I learnt a thing or two. Although I couldn't repeat it in public.
Anyway, the man's biggest contribution was that he hired a van for us (I say hired - it could have been stolen), leaving me and my Dad free to do all the heavy lifting while he chatted to Lisa over a can of Coke. I was a bit concerned about asking my Dad to help move stuff into a sheltered unit for the elderly, in case they thought he was a resident and refused to let him leave, but fortunately we got away with it.
So we spent the morning up-lifting, down-sizing, and trying to get large items of furniture into a van without breaking anything expensive. It was a timeless experience. Mainly because my watch broke when I got it trapped between a door jamb and a sofa. With all the clocks packed, I was forced to tell the time from the position of the sun. Which isn't easy on a cloudy day. It's no wonder I didn't have lunch until three.
Lisa's cousin departed about one-thirty, but to be honest, we'd pretty much finished by then. Admittedly, the entire contents of Lisa's Mum's flat was still sitting on the pavement in the rain, and we were blocking the fire exit with an upturned sofa, but he obviously had somewhere to go. In a hurry. I expect he needed to get the van back before the owners missed it.
Fortunately, my Dad and I are expert removal men. Well, we look like Laurel & Hardy. So by 3pm we had all the furniture up to the fifth floor, and were heading back across town to fill our cars with boxes. Well, my Dad was filling his car; I was filling my stomach. I'd only just realised I'd missed lunch.
Anyhoo, the good thing about sheltered housing units is that they have plenty of panic buttons. I should know - I've pressed most of them. My favourite was the one situated on the wall of the lift, about six inches off the floor, in case you find yourself lying there in a pool of blood, wanting to chat to someone. Needless to say, I didn't. But I did keep knocking it with cardboard boxes. By the end of the afternoon I'd formed a close bond with the bloke who comes over the tannoy asking if you need an ambulance. He'd never had such a busy day.
But all of that aside, I think the day was a success. By which I mean I only broke one chest of drawers and a watch. Having finished all the removals, I can look back and say that I had a good day with Lisa's relatives. Or to put it another way, I enjoyed meeting Lisa's first cousin, once removed.