Moving Day

Moving Day

After what has been an exhausting couple of months, I am fully engulfed in my new life. School has started, without me. I have moved into my new home, that I have dubbed Burton Cottage. I spent a weekend going racing, and another dealing with personal and professional issues. I spent two entire months sorting, cleaning, and packing up my life so I could move. Then, my truck’s brakes went out, and I walked a mile on one of the hottest days of summer to get home from the auto repair shop. Whew, that was a sweaty one!! Life has handed me all manner of blog post material, but I decided to narrow it all down to one thing: moving.

In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the Elliots…Sir Walter Elliot and his daughters…had to “retrench”, or move, though it seemed like it was more than just moving house. Merriam-Webster defines retrenchment as “reduction, curtailment; specifically: a cutting of expenses.” I did not move because I had to cut expenses. If anything, my expenses are now a bit more than what they were.

So, what did that move involve for Sir Walter? Did he declutter and get rid of things he no longer needed or wanted? Did he have a “downsizing auction” of sorts, as the people did whose house I bought? I am positive that he did sell what he could, or at least what he was willing to give up, which did not appear to be much. He owed money and had to pay it somehow. Simply moving to a new house in a new town would not help with that…would it? I wouldn’t think so, and yet, that appears to be what he did.

In another of Jane Austen’s novels, Mansfield Park, Fanny Price moves. First as a child when she moves from her parents’ home to her aunt’s and then as a young woman when she is punished for refusing an offer of marriage by being sent back for a time to her parents’ home. I know how upset I got at being uprooted…albeit willingly…from my customary routine and having to search for my familiar things amongst dozens of boxes. For poor Fanny, it happened twice within a short period of time. Granted, she did not move house and home—only her own personal effects—but it’s still a difficult thing to manage.

What I am most curious about is the actual method of moving during the Regency. I have a mental image of wagons pulled by teams of draft horses, piled high with all manner of furnishings and crates. Of course, servants would have done most of the work for the wealthy. Still, decisions about what to take and what to give or throw away needed to be made, and that can’t have been any easier then than it was for me.


joe and todd moving day
A couple of the guys working on my fridge.

The actual move would have taken longer, as well. With six pickup trucks, including mine, and at least one small trailer, it took six men and a teenage boy approximately four hours to move my stuff, inclusive of the heavy rain we had to sit out. I moved 7/10 of a mile…from the far west edge of the village in which I live to what amounts to the center of town….1/2 mile to S. Main St., turn right, go three car lengths and turn left and it’s down 2/10 of a mile. I’d imagine I had a whole lot more stuff to move than someone would have two hundred years ago. We had to make two or three trips back and forth. During the Regency, I can’t see that happening, even for such a short move. The horses would have had to be changed out or rested. So, their options would have been to have multiple wagons and meager amounts of items or take several days to accomplish the move. Dragging the process out would not have been fun!

In the end, I think that my moving experience was not really better than that of someone in the Regency, just more modern!

kitchen move
The kitchen on moving day.
The hutch fits! I’m so happy about that!!






23 Responses to Moving Day

  1. So good to see you happy and (almost) settled in Burton Cottage Zoe. Looking forward to seeing a lot more wonderful work from you. Thanks, by the way, for the sales that you, Rose and Leenie are having right now. I’m filling in some gaps in my collections!

    How much purple are you planning on putting in when you start to redecorate?

    The last time we moved house was just over ten years ago and involved the huge distance of about ten………yards. Yes, we moved next door! It was from a 1960s bungalow to a 1750s farmhouse which has been in hubby’s family for nearly a century. It’s not a farm any more, though we still have quite a large garden. Most of the land was sold off many years ago before we even met.

    I think fhe largest vehicles used were a wheelbarrow and a four wheeled pull-along trolley.

    But, the move took several months as we were settling my late mum-in-law’s estate and trying to sell our old house. Sometimes we were eating in one house and sleeping in the other. I think we knew we’d finally moved when we sent off the notification of the change of address for our TV licence. Do you have to have a TV licence in the USA or is it a peculiarly British thing?

    Many best wishes for the future.

    • You’re welcome about the sales. We just thought it would be a cool thing to do, especially since Leenie and I are no longer teachers and there are aspects of that life we kind of miss…in a very small way. 🙂

      When I redecorate, I can promise you there will be LOTS of purple. I already have plans to repaint the half-bath downstairs in a light purple…a lilac or lavender, probably. 😀 But long before I do, that rooster switchplate cover has Got.To.Go.!!!

      What an exciting thing to move into such an old house like you did! Is it all modernized or has it been restored to period looks? Of course, there has to be some modernization….I’m quite sure you don’t cook on a woodstove! 😉 But still….old houses have such character!! I bet it’s beautiful, even if it has never been touched!

      I laughed out loud at the image of moving with a wheelbarrow and trolley!

      I had thought about paying extra for another week in the apartment, but in the end, I’m too cheap to do so. I’m glad for it, too, because with all the headaches involved in moving, I think it would have been worse trying to sleep in one place with my stuff somewhere else.

      I’m not sure what a TV license is…I’m guessing you have to have government permission to have TV? We don’t do that here….and I’m glad. LOL I had just got my drivers’ license renewed in June. I think I’m supposed to go get a new one with my new address, but I am so not paying another $25 already. It’ll be fine until the next time I renew. Apparently, some of us Americans are still a bit rebellious, eh? LOL I did have to change my address with all my utilities…tv, water/sewer, electric, and phone/internet. Oh, and garbage…and then waited three weeks for a new can! It was a happy day when that arrived!! 😉

      Thanks so much for your kind response, and your wonderful moving-house story! <3

  2. Zoe, congratulations on the move. Burton Cottage…I love it. Oh, how absolutely cool. In your photos we can see the wallpaper, trim and window treatment and OMG wood floors. Aaaah it is lovely. And school has started…without you…woohoo. Once the dust settles, you will be on your way to doing your best writing. Remember, Jane Austen did her best writing after she relocated. Blessings on the new house.

    • Yes, it has the most lovely wood floors! Two rooms are carpeted, and some of the hardwood in the dining room had to be taken up to get the new furnace into the basement and was replaced with plywood, but the rest are absolutely gorgeous! The whole house is. It’s like my dream home. <3 Thanks so much for your well wishes! I do hope to be like Jane in this situation, and write my best now. The surroundings certainly are inspiring!! <3

  3. So happy your hutch fit! Moving would be such a pain. I wish I could just take some clothes and a few small items. But I am too sentimental!

    • That would be infinitely easier, wouldn’t it? I had worried about that hutch for weeks. My friend kept telling me she thought it would fit, but I was not so sure. Should have listened to her. 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting!! <3

  4. I think that with some exceptions, furnishings stayed with the house. Small tables or chairs that could be transported on a cart would be moved, but when you consider the expense of the horsepower to move a large piece of furniture, it was simply not practical, especially over a long distance. If you remember in Mansfield Park, having Mary Crawford’s harp moved actually disrupted the harvest because it commandeered carts that were needed for more practical endeavors. When Jane Austen’s family moved to Bath, her father was forced to sell or give away most of his library of 500 books – they couldn’t afford to transport them. In cases like the Bennet family, even the piano stool was part of the estate itself and would go to Mr. Collins when the family had to vacate. So as hard as it was to relocate your 50 boxes and all the furniture, we can be grateful that at least we get to keep whatever isn’t nailed down! Congratulations on your new home. 🙂

    • What you say makes total sense. I had forgotten about Mary Crawford’s harp, but yes, she did disrupt things by insisting on having it! I never knew that about Mr. Austen’s books…I can relate to his pain, because when I moved back to my hometown seven years ago, I had to get rid of books, as well, because the apartment had no room for them. I gave my ex-husband both of my 7-foot tall bookshelves. 🙁 Thankfully, Burton Cottage has plenty of room for books and bookshelves, and perhaps I can begin to rebuild my collection! 😀 Thanks for commenting!! 😀

  5. I am so pleased you are happy and settled in the new “Burton Cottage”, still waiting for the pics when you have time. I can relate to Sir Walter’s move to some degree, my condo was foreclosed and I had to sell it in a short sale after 20 years, I moved into one family’s home only to be rudely asked to leave after 5 weeks,( it was just as well, I was sleeping on a couch with no privacy) then into one of my best friends home who had to short sale their home until they moved and then into another close friends home (i had my own space/room in these two places) all in the space of 3 mos. I am here for a year now so that I can get back on my feet and I am so greatful 🙂

    Julie R

    • Oh,Julie, how awful for you!! I have experience living on other people’s couches and I know it’s not at all fun! I’m so glad you are getting back on your feet, though! 😀

    • Thanks!! I do love it!! From the Mistress’ Chambers (yes, I labeled the boxes and the room with that name 😉 ) to the Mistress’ Study, I adore it. It’s 106 years old and decorated beautifully and has more character than you can shake a stick at!! Hard wood floors, built-ins…~sigh~ It’s wonderful!! <3

  6. Re Sir Walter, “Did he declutter and get rid of things he no longer needed or wanted?” I got the distinct impression that one of the “things” he would have liked to have rid himself of was Anne. But then he screwed that up himself several years earlier.

    Moving … we moved eleven years ago from NYC area to Clemson, SC area. Sixteen hours on the Interstate, with three unhappy cats, a tortoise, and a huge begonia in our little Nissan, along with two suitcases.Took us another few months to get reimbursement for all the breakage and losses caused by the *&^%$#@! movers. Lived in an apartment for about eight months, with all moving boxes still packed, while our house was being built, then moved less than a half-hour away with the help of some friends and a redneck moving van — and no loss or damage. (Here’s an example of what I’m referring to as a redneck moving van: Been here over ten years now and, G0d willing, have no intention of ever moving again!

    Wishing you every happiness in your new home and your new life.

    • True about Anne…he should have let her marry Wentworth in the first place and then he’d not have had to concern himself with her…and I’m quite certain she could have been worked upon to share some of her husband’s wealth to save her family’s home, you know? 🙂

      After an experience like yours, I’d have been afraid to move!! I prayed a lot for a good experience, and I truly did have one on moving day. Now, unpacking and cleaning has been a challenge, as has finding my stuff in the 50 or so boxes…some of which are still not unpacked. I was just this morning crying over how I was going to write and still clean the downstairs bathroom cupboards and the built-ins in the living room. Then I ate and felt better, and decided that my sister in law will likely get another “please help me” text message. 😉

      Thanks for the well wishes and comments! 🙂

  7. Congratulations! I hope you love your new house and that you are inspired to write lots of JAFF in your new environment. I HATE moving and I can’t imagine doing it in the Regency even if someone did all of the packing and loaded the wagons. I wonder how it was for Jane Austen since we know that she lived in several locations. My son has an extra jobs working PT for Jeff’s Movers and he says that some of the places they have to load are really disgusting. The worse was when the guys got bitten by flees. Then there was one where the management wouldn’t allow the guys to use the elevator and the guys had to carry everything up three flights. All in all. I’m glad you’re finished. Have fun!

    • Thanks, Jen! I hate moving, too, and I have vowed that the next time I move, it will be feet first in a pine box! Thankfully, that won’t be far as I’m across the street from the town’s funeral home complex, and the cemetery is behind my house! 😉

      Your poor son!! That is not a job I would want, even part time! More power to him!! 😀

  8. I believe that Sis Walter did allow some of his precious things to be sold, but I believe small things he took with him and they probably rented a furnished group of rooms in Bath. Their estate was let – I believe with the furnishings and silver, etc in place – at least that is my feeling in reading about it – and so Sir Walter was able to retrench by spending less on an apartment with less servants, etc and gains an income from leasing out his estate, leaving many servants there too – so less expenses as he was not paying for the running of the estate itself any longer. I believe that was the plan at least – but knowing Sir Walter he may have spent more on himself in Bath!
    I think travel with various carts and carriages would be very complex – especially to allow the horses water, food and rest often – I imagine even short trips were long, bumpy, dusty and tiring.
    I hope your move brings you happiness and rest. Lovely wallpaper!

    • Oh heavens, the wallpaper!! I have vowed to live with it for a year, but I am not particularly fond of it. Of course, the thought of trying to take it down makes me shiver with fear, so perhaps I will learn to like it! 😉

      I can certainly see Sir Walter feeling like he could now spend more on himself! I hope he did not…no one likes to have creditors following them around…but given who he is I would not be surprised!

      Thank you so much for your comments! 😀

      • We also have a home built in 1903 – with glass door nobs, high ceilings, pocket door, woodstove, etc and enjoy the living history aspect. We live in town, but have a double sized lot with several gardens and even a flock of chickens! Our home is “cottage style” and it is easy to imagine it back 100 years with less city around it.
        I enjoyed visits to Europe and England to stay in much older homes and even an estate, but I’m glad I only have my older home to care for. We have been here over 30 years and I can’t imagine packing up my family antiques to move anywhere else – why they would never be in the “right” places in each room!

        My favorite places to visit were Lime Regis and walking on the Cobb – as well as seeing Jane’s grave in Winchester and Jane’s writing desk at Chawton – looking out her window to see the world much as she must have!

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