Somewhere in the depths of North Yorkshire lies a storage facility housing many, many enormous containers. Six of them house every object the Badleys currently own. Or rather those that we felt we didn’t need with us for the next two years. Some years ago the contemporary artist Michael Landy famously turned all his possessions and the deliberate disposal of same into an art work. It seemed like madness at the time but I see what he was getting at now.
There is something altogether disturbing about packing your life away into so many boxes. Consumption takes on a new meaning when the volume is calculated and every item in every box is wrapped, packed, sealed and documented. Ownership becomes a responsibility and one that weighs heavy. So after weeks of preparation, when the van was packed and the load went on its way, it felt like we had finally tamed the beast and the path ahead was clear.
Actually the path ahead was surprisingly clear. Clean, empty rooms. So much space and so easy to pack what we really needed to take with us. Don’t get the idea we were travelling light, though. As if. Two enormous suitcases each, plus the biggest, niftiest hand luggage known to man– thanks Rohan.
We thought we were so clever, whittling it all down to the essentials. Ha! The day before the big departure from Heathrow we had a pang. Maybe we ought to get the luggage weighed so we are prepared for the cost in case we are a few kilos over the limit? Ouch.
I was ten kilos over, natch, but hey, the casual packer in the partnership notched up a whopping 15 kilos excess baggage. To add insult to injury, at check-in, on different scales, it turns out the original calculation was out by five kilos, so even more to pay on top. There are no bargains here. The charges were eye watering. If the relocation had been at our expense, trust me we would have wept.
It was a sobering moment though and one that signalled we would have to leave the Yorkshire thrift mentality behind – we were after all heading towards Dubai – the economic equivalent of cloud cuckoo land.