I wonder if, in the history of housing, anyone has ever been able to move residence in a calm and coordinated manner? It certainly wasn’t the case for me over the last week, as I finally said goodbye to my tiny bedsit and upgraded to a slightly less tiny cottage.
The first problem that I was presented with was going from fully furnished accommodation to completely unfurnished. As luck would have it, though, an Australian was leaving Swaziland last Sunday so all I needed to do was find a way to transport her furniture on that day and it was mine. So, I set forth with a faultless plan: I arranged to borrow the work bakkie (ute), recruited a helpful moving participant, and informed my future landlord that I would be moving furniture a week early. What could go wrong?
The move went something like this:
- (10am) Landlord informs me, on the day, that she’s in Johannesburg and no-one will be home to let me in until later at night.
- Collect bakkie and helper anyway in preparation.
- Bakkie has canopy so won’t fit furniture
- Purchase tools to remove canopy
- Tools aren’t working
- Go to mechanic to unbolt the canopy (for a fee)
- Drive through Manzini with canopy unbolted so that I can drop it at a friend’s place for safekeeping.
- Canopy is too cumbersome to take off so recruit help from neighbours.
- Go to apartment and try to carry furniture down a flight of stairs.
- Recruit security guard to help (for a fee)
- Say goodbye to helper in Manzini and drive furniture to eZulwini to await Landlord’s return.
- Find new helper in eZulwini – fortunately I had recently made friends with my neighbour’s helper, Chippo, and her husband, Orbit, and I knew they would be too polite to say no.
- Landlord’s car breaks down and has to wait for mechanic.
- Landlord arrives at 6pm, so Orbit and I do a quick unload.
- Drive to Manzini with Orbit to reattach canopy.
- Canopy won’t go on.
- Fortunately, Australian friends arrive, so between 6 of us we can bend the end of the canopy to make it fit.
- Try to reattach bolts, but so rusted they won’t screw up.
- Drive to Malkerns to drop car off with canopy loosely bolted
- Frantically text work colleague to bring tools to work the following morning to help (9pm).
So, after 11 long hours, and the help of 11 unsuspecting friends, I am now settled in my new abode. Still in the eZulwini area, my new home is a couple of kilometres and one less hill closer to work, around the corner from a great coffee shop, and a stones’ throw away from the infamous Gables Shopping Centre (and pub). I share the block with a bourgeois Swazi lady, her two young sons (the youngest of whom, aged 4, is currently sporting a very cool Mohawk) and a dozen inquisitive chickens. It contains a single bedroom and separate lounge (with sofa bed) so I no longer have to eat, drink, sleep, work and read on my bed. My bathroom looks like a brothel with a bright red light, the pink paisley curtains clash with the green and brown tiles, and after two nights of cold water I finally found the geyser switch. I’m pleased to say that Hotel d’Isabel is now open to visitors. Book in now!