One week before our move from Normandy to Andalucia the removals company we had booked disappeared. With no warning they became unreachable and the search for an alternative began. Hemmed in by a fixed departure and arrival date, few options were available. After countless phone calls and desperate Internet searches, it became clear it would cost significantly more than we had planned and might be impossible to arrange in such a short time. Colin answered the phone in person.
There was no need to describe our situation in detail to an uncomprehending secretary. He grasped the problem immediately and wasted no time before he offered a solution. Yes he would do the date, and yes he would make the greatest effort possible to keep the cost reasonable. His manner was calm and reassuring and we accepted his offer. There was no time to send a detailed inventory, or even to fully describe the house contents. We assured Colin that the previous removals company had checked the access and estimated the total volume to be moved.
Colin and Reg arrived earlier than we had expected with an enormous road train 19m long. The access to the house was not as they had been promised. A solution was found and half the road train was deposited in an industrial park 10 minutes away. The next problem was a garage filled with furniture at the back of the house which involved many more journeys over a larger distance than expected. Both Colin and Reg remained calm and uncomplaining. Colin’s dry sense of humour and Reg’s gentle smile eased my anxiety. Rarely stopping for a break they worked steadily and methodically, taking great care to pack every item, like a jigsaw puzzle, into every nook and cranny of the lorry, wrapped and roped, secure for its long journey. Their good humour and patience were unshakeable, even when presented with the attic. “When you said big, I didn’t think you meant this big”; even when they saw how many glass cases of dead birds and dining room chairs; even when the children and dog got underfoot, licking anyone who bent down (the dog that is). They filled and carried boxes relentlessly for three days, when the estimated packing time had been 1 and a half to 2 days. They slept little and were appreciative of every coffee or tea, sandwich, or cold drink. As the house emptied and became dismally forlorn, Colin’s anecdotes cheered us up and his experience built my confidence that eventually we would be on our way. I left them to finish and set off for Spain.
Two days later, after a delay due to a car breakdown we arrived in Seville, exhausted and excited. Colin and Reg arrived the next day, again earlier than expected, still in good humour, still reassuring. We found some local help and the unloading began. Like a Russian doll, layer upon layer of familiar items poured out of the lorry. Despite the fact the helpers spoke no English, Colin commanded them with authority and everything, everything was in the house within 5 hours, a world record we believe, particularly in temperatures of 35 degrees. After a quick supper, where again we were entertained by Colin’s stories and charmed by Reg’s quiet friendliness, they slept for a few hours and set off for the next job, to find more solutions and help other people through one of life’s most stressful moments.