Sunday, 13 September 2015

My summer holidays 2015, part 1

 The most exciting, touching and uplifting moment of my summer was my eldest son’s graduation ceremony at Whitworth Hall in Manchester. The ceremony was simple and beautiful, my son was happy and pleased of his achievements. We were all incredibly proud of him. I must say, it was a big moment for the whole family. My parents and parents in law were there as well, we took a lot of photos, kept smiling and congratulating him. We were overjoyed, maybe looking a little silly but it didn’t bother us.

After the ceremony we went to celebrate in an Italian restaurant, Al Bacio, in the centre of Manchester along with the family of my son’s girlfriend. We had great fun and ate so much food. We started with almost all the antipasti available (except soup), that is fritto misto, caprese, bruschetta, aubergines, squids, salami and cheese. Then we chose a main dish each, lasagne, cannelloni, gnocchi, linguine and/or steak, veal, fillet. We had plenty of side dishes and desserts of course, and a surprise from the chef: a pineapple cut in the shape of a swan soaked in sambuca. Everything was delicious. Old Italian songs were wafting around, all pre-WW II songs, or just after it, my parents’ time songs. It created an atmosphere of old times that I was not sure my children were aware of, except from what they’d seen in films like The Godfather. It was a great day and my son clearly appreciated it.
After the graduation, my parents and parents in law were with us for about a week. We couldn’t go sightseeing as we were already busy packing and preparing for the imminent move. They helped us of course and we took them around Lancaster for some shopping. Even if it was only for a week they were very happy to see us and to attend their first grandson’s graduation.

We had started packing our stuff more than a year before the move but very slowly. During the last week we rushed things up and boxes suddenly started piling up in the lounge and in the garage, the only places we didn’t need for our daily life. The night before the first official moving day we worked till exhaustion. At the end my husband and I felt so tired that we left my son and daughter to do the last bit and went to bed.
The day the movers arrived (a team of eight sturdy guys who emptied our house in about four hours) we grouped in the kitchen to sort the last things out. More and more things came out from cupboards and drawers. All coats, dresses, trousers and suits were moved from wardrobes to wardrobe boxes (we filled ten of them!). On the whole it was quick and efficient, which left no time to think or regret. Finally we cleaned the house (it was easy to vacuum empty rooms and wipe clear cupboards). In the afternoon I drove south with my daughter. My husband came the following day with the rest of the family.

On the third day all the stuff arrived in the new house in Surrey (a huge truck completely packed with our belongings). It was a cold and rainy day, I mainly looked after my autistic daughter Valentina who was quite unsettled, which was understandable as she hates changing places and routines. The kitchen was again the only safe place we could find. The rest of the house was in the hands of the moving company’s staff (only two of them this time) and the rest of the family, who helped them for the whole day in and out in the rain. At the end they were wet, cold and drained.
We found ourselves surrounded by a huge amount of boxes and half assembled furniture. And the best part would still be to come. The following two-three weeks was an unpacking ordeal, at a certain point I thought it would never end. I remember sometimes I would take a quick break and rest on a half unpacked box before starting on again after a while. Too much stuff was my conclusion, we accumulated things without being aware of it and this was the price.
While I am writing, there are still a few boxes in the lounge. Some of them will be soon placed in the shed that will be ready in a few days, the remaining ones are full of my collection of dolls and puppets that I need to set in cupboards and glass cabinets, and last but not least photos and paintings. There’s no hurry, we’ll finish well before Christmas.

It’s great to be in the new house. It’s a town house in a beautiful gated compound with a small park for children and a pond. It’s peaceful and green. The nearby village is lovely with nice shops and all the necessities we need but I’m relieved the move is finally over.

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