Realising your limitations

As I mentioned in my previous post, we had put an offer on some office furniture, around the same time as buying the new chair.  We had thought that it would be relatively easy, getting a small company to collect these items, and deliver them to us in Beetley. There are lots of people advertising such services, mostly under the catchy title of ‘Man and A Van’. They supply the vehicle, and someone with some experience in the field, and you have to be the helper. The other alternative is to hire a self-drive van, get some help, and do the job yourself. In reality, neither are that easy to arrange, and both options come at a price.

When you have saved a huge amount of money searching out a used bargain, it goes against the grain somewhat, to have to pay top dollar for delivery. Some of the prices quoted for the ubiquitous Man plus Van would not have been out of place for moving a grand piano two hundred miles. I had some bookcases, and a desk, admittedly both large, and a round trip of under fifty miles. It looked as if I was going to have to go down the self-drive route. For a one day hire, the van seemed reasonable, at under £70. But then I had to get to the van place, arrange a helper, who might justifiably expect some financial remuneration, and get back home again after dropping the vehicle off. Add the extra collision insurance, the taxi fares to and from the van base, (buses are sparse here) and the gratuity to my helper, and we are talking almost as much as some of the quotes.

Julie kept trawling the Internet small ads, and eventually turned up someone who could do it reasonably cheaply. But they couldn’t do it when we needed it done, so that was out. I resorted to a local Internet community forum, called StreetLife. It allows you to raise any issue, seek or give recommendations for trades and services, or just have a general moan about things. Naturally, I am a regular. The downside is that it covers a very small area, so my message requesting a Man and Van at reasonable prices only went out to a potential audience of less than four hundred people. I have to confess, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope, but then I am naturally pessimistic. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an offer of help from a local man, within an hour of posting the request. He was not in the business of light removals, but owned a suitable vehicle, and lived nearby. We agreed a reasonable price, and arranged for him to collect me that afternoon.

He was very personable, and his van was clean, and just sufficiently large to take the required load. We travelled over in pleasant weather, and arrived in good time.  I had realised that the units we had bought were substantial, but I was unaware just how heavy they were. As we began to move them, it was immediately apparent that we were not going to be able to manage them. What strength I once possessed, seems to have diminished alarmingly, and even with the help of a fit young man in his early 20s, it was not going to happen. Luckily, a middle-aged neighbour there offered to assist. With the help of a folding trolley, two on the heavy end, and one inside the vehicle, we got everything in. It was not without considerable effort on the part of all involved though, and I was aware that I had really stretched myself.

Arriving home, we asked for help from our own next-door neighbour. He was happy to assist, but the narrow hallway would only allow two of us to manage each unit into the house. At least having three of us available made getting it out of the van easier, and allowed us to get it all in without any damage being caused. We are also fortunate to have a large living room, as we have to store all this stuff at one end of it, until we get around to painting the small room next week. We got it all arranged without any disruption to our normal living arrangements, other than the sight of it all piled at one end.

I made a new contact, and will use the helpful young man again, should I have any need to move things in the future. I also got a serious warning about my physical limitations, and aching muscles today reminded me that I am not as young, or as strong, as I used to be.



10 thoughts on “Realising your limitations

    1. Indeed Arlene, it comes to us all. My problem is muscle wastage, a side effect of years of taking Statins. I have been advised to stop them now, but I fear that the damage is irreparable.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  1. Two summers ago, we were at China Ranch Date Farm ( just across the border in California, and the nice folks there wanted to give us a baby date palm. Sure, why not? But then the man arrived with the palm on a…forklift! He gently pushed the little monster (horizontally) into the back of my pickup truck. At this point, I already was wondering how I would ever get it out of the back of the truck once we arrived home, and, of course, how to move and plant something so heavy. Back in Las Vegas, I called several tree services, and one finally agreed to find time in its busy schedule to plant the tree, which I had laboriously dragged out of the truck, and which was lying on the driveway, where I kept it watered by draping gunny sacks over it and letting the garden hose run low. Three days passed, and despite phone calls, the tree service still hadn’t found time for us. Finally, on the fourth day, seeing that the tree’s fronds were showing advanced signs of decay under a hot summer sun, I decided it was too late to save it, and spent several hours chopping it into pieces small enough that I could lift and load into the truck. Since it was late, and I was sore, exhausted, and blistered, I decided to wait until the following day to dump the date in the desert. Wouldn’t you know it? The next day, a large truck outfitted to lift and swing into place large palm trees showed up at the house. After a bitter “thank you for coming,” I told them the tree had been reduced to chunks and chips, and that it was in the back of my truck. I don’t think they even checked. Today, somewhere in the Mojave Desert, a hack job lies rotting. Of course, we never told the China Ranch Date Farm that we killed their baby.


    1. That sounds like a story from my life David!
      I checked out the China ranch link, and it looks like a real oasis in the desert. Appropriate that they should grow date palms then…
      Best wishes, Pete.


      1. Pete, it truly is an oasis tucked away in the desert. Tecopa Hot Springs is only a few miles away, and Death Valley is up the road a bit. There are some good pictures of the China Ranch Date Farm on the site’s Film Location link. We want to return, but will wait a bit longer. We don’t want them to recognize us, because they are bound to ask, “How’s the baby date palm?”


  2. Two friends of mine and I came to the conclusion that we were getting too old to move heavy things as we were removing a washing machine (mine) from a 2nd floor apartment. We came to that conclusion in the middle of the stairs and had to stop for 20 minutes for a good laugh, a rest and a reality check. We got the washer moved (with difficulty) and from now on, we seek out younger people to help us with such things. It’s good to have younger friends!

    Glad you got your furniture, hope it gives you years of pleasure and service.


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