Friday, 22 August 2014

Relocation Update No. 4 - Well we made it: and other news too!

Hello Everyone - and to echo the title of this post,  Cy Bear and I have made it!

We now reside in a quiet, residential complex for mature folk in the small Nottinghamshire town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, some 25 miles north of Nottingham itself.  We're two weeks into our new surroundings, although I only moved in myself at the beginning of this week (August 18th to be precise).  Cy Bear, together with all the Cuddlies, moved away from Wiltshire on August 11th and were duly deposited in their new home on August 12th

To say the experience was breath-taking is an accurate description.  The removal crew were so quick and so efficient, that things got packed away before I could tell them they should remain in situ - for others to remove after my departure. The result - first thing next day, was a cry for help to Alan's father for his assistance in removing one double mattress to the local dump.  It had been  rejected on the grounds that the important fire retardant label had been removed (seem to recall Peter got fed up with it scratching his legs everytime he passed by it and used a convenient pair of scissors to remove it!)  The British Heart Foundation benefitted from the other one and the North American style, three foot wide 3-drawer steel filing cabinet which had accompanied Peter and I in our various moves since it's purchase in the early 1980's (with hardly a scratch to show for it's adventures!). Those items, together with a working washing machine (which  was sold!) were the only things that could not be fitted into my current dwelling.  The result admittedly is a tight squeeze, but there's room enough for me to move around - or there will be when everything is in it's correct place eventually!

The whole moving experience lasted a total of  six and one quarter hours - 3.5 hours packing everything into two vans the first day,  and 2.75 hours unpacking the next.  The task was undertaken by two fathers and their respective sons, who were obviously used to each other's reactions in such situations and the task was accomplished with very little chit-chat between them.  Nothing was broken, and they even took the trouble to leave pathways in the living room in my present abode to enable one to move between the piled up boxes during the unpacking process - while they placed the furniture in the bedroom, living room and kitchen areas according to the floor plan I had created.

Clare and Alan, having just moved home themselves, were still in relocation mode themselves.  This resulted in all the many boxes - I lost count after about 30! - being unpacked and the contents distributed somewhere into the nearest convenient place (for me to sort out over the following days). All the packing cases had been taken to the dump by the Thursday morning!  I don't move as fast as heretofore - and fitting a two-bed flat into one living room and one bedroom has taken a bit of doing. The process is on-going - but we're getting there.  Hopefully, this will explain the gap in publishing posts here over the past few weeks. We will try to do better - soon!

One thing emerged during the packing up process however - once all the other unbreakable objects had been packed by me.  My fabric stash was, and still is MASSIVE.  I was not prepared to sacrifice much of it given the quality of plush fur accumulated - not to mention all the other plush, tweeds, velvets etc that had accumulated during the 4 years since starting COLDHAMCUDDLIES in February 2010.

This was just the bottom half of the fabric store cupboard.  There was a canvas travelling case semi-full which normally resided under my former double bed, coupled with that stored in the upper shelves above the cupboard, shown below:

Here all the fleeces, some leathers and felts were kept, and then there was all the sewing equipment and sewing machine to packed too.  As I  packed, a sinking feeling started and the thought occurred that I might be biting off a bit more than I could chew, but nevertheless having started, the process one carried on.

The result was that the fabrics alone looked like this when awaiting relocation into a removal van -

to be followed by the "Body Bag" (the family description after they had been purchased before we returned from Canada in 1987!) containing all the Cuddlies in their various plastic bags on top of the pile.

At the Nottinghamshire end, my fears were pretty well realised when, after finding spaces for rest of my stuff, the three of us faced the prospect of fitting that pile into the one big cupboard in the flat, next door to the front cupboard - usually housing vacuum cleaners etc in any other normal person's home!  The result is now like this:

Cy Bear sitting on top of the Body Bag containing his fellow Cuddlies, which is on top of one of the fabric Body Bags in my bedroom.  The rest of the Cuddlies raw materials are unceremoniously stuffed into the cupboard like this.

and the top of the same cupboard:

So how are we contemplating solving the seemingly unsolvable?  Someone - I think it could have been Philippa - suggested acquiring vacuum bags and these have accordingly been purchased.  They arrived earlier today, and the process of housing the plush will begin tomorrow.  We do have some leeway however:  the two canvas suitcases are destined for Clare and Alan's home - to be used in the not too distant future by them - if they choose to.  They contain baby clothes that I have saved - and are still in good condition.  They have been worn  by every family baby since Philippa - the oldest cousin - was born. (Clare and Alan received the good news that they have been approved as prospective Adoptive Parents this very day (having passed their Adoption Panel last week after a pretty stressful few months).  Together with the space the cases have occupied since Cy Bear and I arrived, and the two shelves in the next door front cupboard - I'm hoping the vacuum bags will prove my "salvation". (An update on that will come in the next post or two!)

The uppermost shelf here is currently occupied by painting material left behind by the maintenance staff who only managed to redecorate the living room before we all arrived on August 12th.  Their materials will remain for them to complete redoing the hallway (the bedroom really doesn't need it) during the few days I am going away to stay with Philippa at the end of next week, so that shelf will be available eventually as well.

Cy Bear has recovered his equanimity after being unceremoniously pushed into a very convenient corner in one of the boxes which contained books and house linen.

He was not a happy Bear to begin with, because he had to perch on top of the travelling case containing all the Cuddlies  in the new bedroom. 

 (That is still where he is put each night when I hit the hay, as the new - very comfortable - single bed is now not large enough to accommodate the two of us.  Not that he did before - I'm a very restless sleeper, and I don't think Cy Bear is the sort who would appreciate being uncermoniously removed in my sleep!!!)

Until the next time - as I look forward to the next stage in the life of  COLDHAMCUDDLIES, which  is beginning to look very promising - on all fronts.  

Good night - and God bless you all  Isobel.

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic

Sunday, 3 August 2014

An unexpected Patient visits + Relocation Update No.3

Hello there everyone:  just proving I'm still around, and giving Cy Bear a break from posting!
As our title implies, we had a definite change in routine this week.  It's been a while since we had a Patient in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing: 79124185).  The therapy required - and provided - was not a major drain on resources (nor my time!) and it all began last Monday morning as I was returning home from getting my daily newspaper.
Just before reaching the front gate at The Hospital of St. John - my home for another 8 days - I heard my name being called and saw MrsNW - to whom erstwhile patients The Wagstaff Bears belong** - coming out of her front door on the Village Main Street with a large - very large - Dinosaur in her arms.  Now a week or so ago, she'd told me that she would be bringing him around for a quick consultation, but time had gone by and frankly I'd forgotten about him. (I also thought he was a normal-sized Dinosaur!)  However, she had espied me walking along on the other side of the road and asked me to give Dino an investigation.  His head was drooping and he very evidently needed some extra stuffing. (**The Treatment of the Wagstaff Bears - there were three of them - were described in our posts dated 19/12, 28/12 and 31/12/2012 should anyone like to visit them on the blog.)

So, having handed him over - at the same time expressing concern that I might be worried who would see me carrying a very large Dinosaur along the village street! - we parted company with my promising her that his treatment would not take long. 
You can see what I mean by Dino being a Big Chap!  My circular dining table is a 3ft 6 ins one (108cms) and his nose and tail dropped off the edge on both sides.  Apparently he had been acquired by one of her sons, BW, as a Fairground prize, and his neck had become somewhat floppy since his arrival in their home.
Homewards I went, hoping like made that I WOULD meet folks with such an unusual patient in my arms - and guess what, there wasn't a soul around for me to "advertise" the Clinic's services!  Typical - because on a normal day, there are at least a couple of people who are prepared to pass the time of day with one.
Here you can see his problem.  While it's OK to have a slightly floppy tail - which Dino did not have incidentally - it's another thing for a Dinosaur to be unable to hold his head up high!.  So, it was out with the "Quic-unpic" and a speedy disection of  the first available neck seam - without necessarily undoing the whole toy.  Sometimes, the stitching is such that it can prove a real problem to cut the thread half way along a seam - but on this occasion that  was not the case.   The interlocking stitching used by industrial sewing machines may be good for keeping seams together, but are not meant to be cut in the middle!

Dino's existing stuffing was a mixture of polystyrene pellets - and you know just how much I loathe them - and polyester fibre - so making sure that not too many of the pellets took flight, I began to put some more polyester fibre into his neck. (Ideally, I'd like to have taken out his insides and re-stuffed him, but size alone decreed that this was not the time nor place).  While doing so, it became obvious that the problem had begun because not enough stuffing had been provided around his shoulders, so a lot more stuffing was needed than had been evident to begin with.  His front legs were very floppy as well - and certainly not capable of withstanding Dino's weight when still, let alone had he been required to walk, run or whatever gait his particular species might normally move with.
After about three-quarters of an hour's work, Dino was able to hold his head up high.  A speedy telephone call resulted in MrsNW and son BW, together with an un-named friend, all coming round to collect him.  After payment for services rendered, Dino was returned to BW's arms and off he went home with his young friends.

Here Dino is, proving that he can hold his head high once more - and that he has rather a nice, happy expression on his face as well.  I did think of stuffing his feet too, but it quickly became apparent that the pattern did not call for that.  His front limbs were obviously more wings than legs, so the limbs were left  floppy!
Before leaving the Clinic, though, he was introduced to Cy Bear - who looks rather a small Bear in comparison.
Cy Bear's normal position is sitting down with a pillow behind him for comfort:  but by leaning him against Dino and perching him on his feet, you can see how big the patient was!  And the bed on which both are perched is a double one as well!

Relocation Update:  there are now twelve cartons fully loaded with a mixture of books and household linen taking up the space in our living room, where the table you see in this post was previously located. 
(When we purchased it nearly ten years' ago, Peter had it specially designed so that it could be folded and placed against a wall easily - which is what happened earlier in the week.  I'm now pic-nicing, having my meals on a lap-tray!)    
There are another two and a half shelves of books to pack (a further 16 cartons were delivered this morning) and by this time next week, I hope to have all the unbreakable items, including all the books, securely packed in them.  (The daily timetable is that early each day, the boxes are made up and  between 3-4 boxes at a time are packed - I'm not seeking to break any records.  Then I get on with my normal daily routine, which now requires a lot more dusting of cupboards etc!!).  
With the second armchair, a side table, a book case and a Persian rug all now safely ensconced with Philippa in High Wycombe, not only do I have somewhere comfortable to sit when I go to say with her - scheduled for the last week-end of this month! - but she will be able to use it when I'm not there too!  It also means I've moved my chair over and given myself more working space for carton-packing.          
 (When working in a limited space, strategic decisions are required in order to achieve the final objective!! )

The filing cabinet is now empty - and I've shredded enough material to fill three large bin bags.  The contents are destined as nesting material for my next-door neighbour's chickens.  Two bags have already been delivered and the third will accompany me when I go round for a quick bite to eat at lunchtime on Tuesday (after my last Zumba session down here).  Some of the files related to events as far back as 1992!
(I attended a Zumba class in Kirkby-in-Ashfield last year while staying with Clare for five weeks to celebrate her 40th birthday, and other family occasions, so expect I shall continue my weekly sessions once I've got my bearings in the new place.)
Another, last post from Heytesbury is planned before we all leave on August 11 - however, one never knows what may happen in the intervening 7 days. I plan to take photographs of the Cuddlies being prepared for their travels northwards, and maybe that could form the basis of  the next installment.  
Until then, or until the next time, Good night and Good Bye from both Cy Bear and myself.  Isobel

Coldham Cuddlies Clinic