I know many of you will be wondering where I’ve been, why there have been no entertaining posts to read and absorb over morning coffee for most of the past week. My apologies; I take my coffee duties seriously and promise to get back on track.
After dropping the Captain at Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport earlier in the week I returned home a little distracted as, for the first time in recorded history, my spouse had headed overseas without his mobile phone. With no time to retrieve it he had headed off phone-less to Singapore.
Driving my car into our secure underground garage (the Dutch are incredibly gifted at making use of all available space) using a personally coded swipe card, I was mentally planning how to get the Captain’s phone to him by the quickest possible route. I recall thinking how glad I was the Captain’s car, his pride and joy, was not going to be sat in the garage all week.
The reason is interesting, so bear with me.
We are in the process of changing the insurance company for our cars. The new company requires a certificate proving a security tracking system is in place and working in the Captain’s car.
His car was equipped with a tracking device some years ago but it now appears that despite having paid an exorbitant amount to have it installed, plus a yearly service fee every year since, it has never been fitted. Allegedly. Nor has a tracking certificate has ever been issued; it seems we have been driving on voidable insurance for years.
Which is why the Captain’s car is off at the dealership, but the clock is ticking down to current insurance expiring and no new cover available for either car until the problem is resolved. The security company insist the garage is at fault, the garage blame the security company. We’re keeping out of it but the last we heard there may have been a system installed after all but no one can find it. Whatever.
Which is why I swung my car so easily into our garage without having to avoid damaging the Captain’s low-slung, silver machine. Sliding out of my vehicle I made sure to remote lock it – twice – and check the door handle because I’m verging on OCD when it comes to keys and door locks. Other things too, if I’m honest.
The following morning it was a hectic start getting Harry off to school (OCD again, he can look after himself but I stress about the time on his behalf ) and walk the dog before a 9.30 meeting.
Running a tad late, arms full with computer bag, purse, several other bags and the end of a leash connected to a bouncing dog, I headed for our garage. I managed a hasty and breathless good morning as I passed Kees, the concierge for our building. He is a kind, caring man who speaks as much English as I do Dutch. We get by.
I was breathless, not because Kees has that effect on me, but because I was being dragged by my canine, excited to be heading out. We arrived at our garage, opened the side door and tumbled inside reaching for the light switch.
The interior is not the envy of our neighbours.
It resembles the back room of a church hall where items are stored before a jumble sale. It is filled to capacity with over-sized storage boxes full of paraphernalia which may come in useful – one day.
Excess garden furniture is stacked precariously, ready for the garden at our next house. Because there will be another house. One day. Crates of empty beer bottles from Harry’s lizard lounge party back in June still wait to be returned, gathering dust and cobwebs.
Several shelves are full of catering equipment ready for the next party – warming trays, seven dozen boxed wine glasses, unopened packs of plastic cups and paper plates – all bought with us from the USA and rarely used here. Boxes of Christmas decorations. A large plastic storage box each for the older kids who have nowhere (yet) to store their childhood belongings.
Three sets of golf clubs, including one ruined and damaged set in a mouldy bag wrecked after Hurricane Katrina which the Captain has been unable to bring himself to throw out. A jumble of bikes and bike related items, a full-size inflatable dinghy with paddles, two plastic and one traditional wooden sledge. A spare coffee table I plan to re-stain. The dog-bed belonging to our dear departed Sable and a broken vacuum cleaner. Remember that?
Let’s face it, most of it is junk. But junk with an emotional attachment which is a lethal combination. It means getting rid of it will be a Herculean task. There have been occasions we’ve tried, half-heartedly to ‘have a clear out’ with little success. So there it all sits, jammed and packed around the edges of our concrete box making the parking of vehicles a nightmare.
In the bright glare of the solitary naked light bulb the detritus of our life was plain to see. What was glaringly obvious after a few seconds of mental computation was that something was missing from the picture.
To be continued . . .