Moving House

Cotswolds Linseed Field
di Herry Lawford (Flickr: The Cotswolds) [CC-BY-2.0 (], attraverso Wikimedia Commons

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Moving House

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The upheaval of moving house often ranks high on lists of stressful experiences – not as emotionally gruelling as a bereavement or divorce but worse than Christmas or planning a wedding. Personally, I've moved so many times in the past 15 years that I'm fairly well over it, though I can't say I enjoy it. As a student I moved house at least once a year, then moved around a lot for work. The good thing about moving frequently is you don't accumulate many belongings, and packing is a good opportunity to declutter - you go through your stuff thoroughly and throw out all those old magazines, impulse buys and clothes you never wear. I quite like unpacking again - unwrapping all the odd-shaped packages makes it feel a bit like Christmas.

We've just moved house yet again – from the village in the Cotswolds where we found a house when we first moved back to England, to a beautiful spot on the outskirts of Oxford surrounded by trees and right next to the river Thames. From our front door we can see the boats moored in the marina, a little worrying when I recall the flooding we saw this winter, though the landlord assures me the water has never entered the property. The river is full of life - Canada geese who hiss at our dogs, ducks, moorhens and a heron are all regular visitors to the riverbank.

We moved in on a gorgeous sunny day, unseasonably hot for May in England. Having shifted all those boxes, stirred up all that dust and made all those trips back and forth in the car we decided to sit down and have a well-earned beer on the doorstep of our new home. This turned out to be easier said than done. We knew we had a beer somewhere, a cold one at that, which had been in the fridge until the last minute, but neither of us could remember which bag it had been slipped into. Having finally located the elusive beer, we realised we had no idea where the glasses were – my husband had packed those a few days previously, brought them over to the house and put them... put them... no, he had no idea where he'd put them. They eventually turned up in the back of the spare room. We didn't even bother looking for the bottle opener, but prised the lid off with the front door key. At least we knew where that was!


at that = Used to give emphasis when describing the characteristics of
something as proof of the speaker's point. E.g. “He might say he's got no money now, but he had enough money to go on holiday last month – to St Tropez at that!”

back and forth = To go to and from a place repeatedly

belongings = possessions

bereavement= A death in the family

bother = Make an effort. Usually used in the negative e.g. “I can't be bothered to clean the house today”, “Don't bother making dinner, we'll get a takeaway”.

declutter = Tidy up by disposing of things that are no longer needed. “Clutter” means mess and disorder.

easier said than done = Set phrase meaning it's easier to say something than to do it.

geese = Plural of goose, large white water bird

gruelling = Extremely difficult, exhausting

hiss = Make a sound like a snake “Ssssssss”

impulse buy = Something you bought impulsively that you don't need

moorhens = A type of black birds with a red beak that lives on rivers

moored = Of a boat, tied up

outskirts = The very edge of a city

over it = To recover from something unpleasant e.g. “She had a migraine yesterday but she seems to be over it now”, “He can't seem to get over the fact that Simon got the job instead of him”.

packing = Putting possessions in boxes ready to move, or in a suitcase to go on holiday

prise = To remove something with difficulty and caution

rank = To be of a certain level

riverbank = The land right next to a river

shift = move

stir up= To move something about, to agitate

thoroughly = Completely, meticulously

turn up = To be found e.g. “Have my keys turned up yet?”

unseasonably = Unusual for a certain period of the year

unwrap = To remove the packaging from something

upheaval = Disturbance

well-earned = Deserved, merited