Rather a lot of progress over the Easter weekend, as you can see from this week’s photos. So, after a couple of weeks living away from home (and having to go through all the usual grief of moving into a new flat, such as getting the cooker to work, working out which box has got your shoes in, and guessing which day the rubbish is collected on – and guessing wrong), I was reunited with home and hifi like a rabbit with a persecution complex diving for its its burrow, and basically refused to come out all weekend.
There are a mere 55 steps leading up to my flat, and I’ve discovered the best way to deal with this is to make base camp somewhere between the first and second floors, and lay in a store of oxygen cylinders for the rest of the ascent. They say we normally use just 5% of our lungs, but I’m definitely pushing the other 95% on the last flight, I can tell you; the sound of my ragged wheezing is so loud the other occupants sometimes come out to see who’s sawing through a giant redwood on their landing.
I’m adjusting to life in the city quite well, as I live a mere 15 minutes’ walk from the National Archives where I work, and in the morning can stop for a coffee to take with me if I choose. Sure we haven’t got computers or a phone yet so no one can get hold of us, but I’m not complaining as that way no one can get hold of us.
The highlight of last week was going back to my former employers, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in Birmingham, for a meeting of the four home nations’ museums, libraries and archives agencies. Obviously they thought they’d seen the last of me when they decided to “let me go” in their recent restructure, so the looks on their faces when I walked in the door (“What, uh, what are, uh, YOU doing here?”) paid for much and will cheer me through the long winter nights – a look like they’d caught me engaging in unnatural sexual acts with a hamster.
So, anyway, a few days of Mahler and Bob Dylan has worked wonders for the gansey. Partly this is the inevitable consequence of dividing front and back, and also of putting the gussets on hold. Starting the gussets is a bit like walking through clayey soil, the further you step the more clay sticks to your boots and the slower you go; but when you get to the end and change your boots you’re off like a cork out of a bottle. Same with me. But for how long?