In the rear-view mirror, a journey

Our last day in Lyngby, Denmark, was spent with friends, as it should be. It was also spent with the emergency people from 112 (999 for UK readers), which was rather unexpected. Having cleared out the house the week before, we had decided to hold an ultra minimalist farewell party, with many (but not too many, on account of the lack of glasses) of our friends from the North.

It was an eclectic evening, punctuated by laughter and general merriment, until it was interrupted by vivid screaming and sirens – one of the guest’s children had dislocated her shoulder on the patio. Her father was so shocked that we were tempted to send him to hospital as well, but in the end we could cure him with the remaining vodka. All in all, it was a warm and memorable night.

On the next day, we were in such a hurry to leave our abode for the last two years that we threw all our keys into the mailbox, including the one for the mailbox. But then, this was only the last installment of a great move. Great, as in great misery. We call it poncily the transportus horribilis. 

We are pro house-movers by now, having gone from place for more than ten years, so it came as a bit of a shock that even our rather untrained Iranian moving company was miles ahead in terms of quality of the German team we had hired; or rather, the subcontractor of the subcontractor whose umbrella company had sent us such a tempting and professional offer.

The three guys that arrived came one and a half days late, smelling distinctly of a ferry lounge bar. They had no common language, no sense of direction or urgency, were unspoiled by rational thought or professionalism, and had not prepared for anything: no money, no working phones, no food, and no idea about time management. They did one, and only one thing properly: stock up our compilation of anecdotes, but that big time.

They didn’t label a single box. This would have been useless anyway since their cartons already carried useful notes from two previous families, which meant that we found items for “cellar” (we don’t have one) happily joining those for “children” (we do have some, but they don’t own adult tool sets or blenders). They had no idea – none! – why screws should be held together with the cupboards they initially belonged to. They said encouraging things like: ‘Madam, it looks like we don’t have enough space in the truck, why don’t we just take your expensive things and leave the cheap ones here.’ They were simply mind-boggling.

This set-back triggered a maddening chain reaction on all our other planning; including Alex having to fly to Austria before the movers ever arrived in Denmark, to open the door to our new place for these brutes as they had not organised storage as we requested. In consequence, Georgina and the children had to pack until darkness set in – it was July, after all, so that means at least midnight in Denmark – while the blokes huffed and puffed and pushed books by the armload from shelves into oversized boxes meant to transport bedding.