The vast (and I don't use the word lightly here!) majority of our belongings are now on a dockside waiting for a bunch of alpha males to stop strutting and preening around Brisbane, before taking to the high seas. Our house has been cleaned within an inch of its life – the “Juliette is a phooey bum bum bum” scrubbed off Lydia's wall, the remnants of thousands of blue-tack spots scrubbed off Juliette's wall (ghosts of Justin Beiber past).
We are now free to ponder the next stage in our big adventure – and sort through all the issues of winding up tax and business's etc (groan...) – and, as I sit on our mattress in my cousin's playroom and look at our mountain of cases in the corner, I feel a sense of wonder and disgust at myself.
I don't consider myself to be particularly materialistic. Maybe I need to rephrase that. I didn't consider myself to be particularly materialistic. I have few material possessions I really care about save for sentimental purposes. I am not one of those women who loves shopping – when I have to go shopping, my asparagus side comes out and I find myself running around as quickly as I can, grabbing what I need and getting-the-hell-out-of-there as soon as I can. Rupert is the same, though he does have a weird penchant for keeping stacks of receipts for items bought thirty years ago and thrown away twenty years ago; Sam is obsessed merely with his iPod and his weights, Juliette with her iPod and her guitar/ukelele, Lydia with her iPod and any reading materials she can lay her hands on, though, admittedly, she did insist on shipping about 1000 stuffed animals which do nothing but collect dust on her bedroom floor. We don't have a play station or an X box – are they the same thing? - or a wii or a TV.
Every school holiday, I sort through piles of “stuff” and we give bags of clothes away to Meg, bags and boxes of clothes and books to St Vinnies.
So why has our shipping container been filled with 196 boxes of “stuff”? Why have we spent the last few weeks taking more carloads of “stuff” to St Vinnies, the dump, other people's houses? Why are we still left with so much “stuff”?
For the remainder of our stay in Brisbane, and for the first two months or so in the SUK, we needed to keep a certain amount of "stuff" with us. Lydia was the most complicated, as she needs uniforms for school, ballet and two choirs and a trip to Canberra. The rest of us just need clothes for summer and for arrival in the English winter. Beyond that, I packed some special Christmas decorations which mean a lot to the kids (told you I was sentimental!), Christmas music we can't do without, both sheetwise and on CD, string quartet music I need for a couple of gigs, some recorders, as we won't have a piano to begin with. And I have my violin of course.
And I am left wondering why on earth we need those 196 other boxes and what the hell we are going to do with them in a house that's half the size of the one here?