Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Moving Stories #1 - The Dish


August 1977 - My first teaching post, and I was going to Hemel Hempstead. Still called a "New Town" - and consequently teachers, nurses and other key workers were offered good accommodation at a subsidised rent. I had a neat unfurnished one bedroomed flat, first floor, small balcony, tiny bathroom, smaller kitchen - but all I needed back then. Dad and I had been able to measure up, and he had built me [in his Norfolk garage] a wall unit incorporating cupboards and bookshelves to go in the lounge. Then he dismantled it, to travel "flat-pack" to Hertfordshire. [no one in the UK had heard of IKEA back then] He rented a van from a bloke in Dereham - and we loaded it with all my stuff, the precut bits of wood, my bed and a cheap dining set. 

We arrived early and I set about unpacking whilst Dad screwed the unit together. Jean, from down the road, a member of the local Baptist Church, turned up unexpectedly with home-made soup and sandwiches for us, fruit, cake, and fresh milk for our tea ..she remained a good friend for so many years. 

Then when it was all sorted, Dad took me to the supermarket so I could stock my food cupboard. That was when we discovered it...in a dark corner at the back, on the bottom shelf - a dish of dirty, smelly beef dripping. What to do? I didn't have my own dustbin- rubbish had to be dropped down a central chute into a huge communal wheelie bin below. I wasn't sure if it was wise or safe to put this glass and food waste down there. "Don't worry" said Dad, wrapping it in a bit of newspaper,"I will take it home and deal with it later" He hugged me, and drove back to Norfolk - and completely forgot about the dish.

Two days later, he was having his lunch when Van-bloke turned up at his front door. "Reverend, you left this in my van. My missus washed it up, but she thought you'd want the Pyrex back" And to this day I have that oval Pyrex dish!

Sunday was amazing, but emotional. Monday went fine. My little Toyota and one big van load of stuff got to Norfolk OK. We were both exhausted but slept very well. Today we will unload, and take the van back for load #2. Full details later....


  1. Glad you had a safe journey. Hope today's journey will go equally well. Cute story about the dish!

  2. I worry for you both doing all that yourselves.I can hardly drive 40 miles without feeling exhausted and stressed with the traffic flow. Good luck with it all. xxx

  3. Take it slowly. Praying for your safe travel.

  4. Hope the week goes smoothly x

  5. I still use my 1970's Pyrex pie dish, just like that one, regularly. Glad all is going well. X

  6. Oh my - you are both going to need a real rest after this week is done!
    Loved the story - too funny.
    Take care on the roads.

  7. And breathe.... Thanks for the moving stories - terrific. Enjoy yourselves. Am a bit jealous - in a generous way

    1. I'm sure that when you retire, things will fall into place beautifully. You're just in a complex situation now sandwiched between two generations needing your support.


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