A number of years ago I was asked to imagine my life five, ten and twenty years ahead and jot down some notes on what I envisaged. In one of those time categories I wrote, ‘Own a house overseas’.
It just popped out and, from that moment, the idea existed, in the manner of something that would simply come to pass. I lightly and briefly wondered how it would happen but did not badger it with questions nor attempt to create this future. Perhaps it was an offering from my unconscious to lift my spirits at the time. Whatever, I felt a frisson of excitement as I noted the unexpected addition to my life.
And now that future has become the present. The Big Bloke (my husband) and I have an apartment awaiting us in Zurich. We don’t own it but we’re going to live there for a while.
I have been in a state of high excitement about this for a year. However, a week or two, before departure, I began to feel as if I was trying to stuff a large number of things through a small hole of diminishing diameter, rather like loading a front washer with the component parts of a tractor. Obviously some bits are more compliant than others. So it was with the many things that had to be done before I left.
The size of my to-do list waxed and waned. I am a lover of lists, having learnt the art at my mother’s knee. They keep me on track, urging me to do those things about which I feel a little sluggish and then they sing an aria of my achievements. A list, when strategically placed, may have the additional benefit of eliciting applause or even assistance from compassionate passers-by.
I’ve brought work-related matters to a tidy end and handed over, I’ve set up a new compost bin so the existing one can complete the metamorphosis of its contents in my absence, I’ve sealed windows against the rain and cleared the video camera of the Oscar-worthy wonders of the last few years. I’ve vacuumed suitcases, planted spring colour and cleaned carpets. All this whilst maintaining sumptuously oiled skin.
It’s the basic domino effect. Moving house, giving birth and having relatives to stay are time-honoured methods of turning a normally complacent and content householder into a slavering beast set on finishing things that have long been deemed not worth bothering with. The taps to replace our cruddy old bathroom ones had been lying under our bed for months. Their installation necessitated the removal of the contents of the bathroom cupboard. Said cupboard revealed some interesting items, some of archaeological value. Amongst the items were several bottles of oil, expiry date whilst I’m away. It was the impetus I needed to finally make myself take daily care of my skin instead of relying solely on grandmother’s genes. I seem to remember Deepak Chopra once suggesting to wipe a little sesame oil inside the nostrils and massage it into the soles of the feet. Divine. My sleek feet glide over the ground. While I was at it, I decided to slather up and soften the knees, elbows, calves, hands, thighs, arms and belly. Lest roasts of pork spring to the reader’s mind, think instead ‘cherished antique’ – smooth and glowing. (Well, perhaps less of an antique, more of a treasured possession). Anyway, just what one needs to get through the rigours of pre-departure.
So now I’m ready to leave. That diminishing hole is expanding again. I can bask in the excitement of this adventure, marvel at how wonderfully unexpected life can be and hope the house-sitters can follow my to-do list.