I spent my first two months in Solo HQ without a table. I’d ordered a dining table from Made.com, and the website indicated daily, via pictogram, that it was shipping. With pessimism appropriate to the times, I interpreted this to mean stuck in the Brexit container backlog in Southampton.
At the same time, while yearning for my table-in-transit, I fretted about the logistics of its eventual arrival. My previous Made.com purchase, a sofa bed, was a nightmare: because of the risk of encountering virus-ridden ‘members of the public’ on the stair, the assigned couriers would not deliver to the third floor but declared via email that they would merely deposit (dump) the goods in the ‘communal ground floor area’. If you’re going to offer a delivery service, I feel very strongly that this means delivering, otherwise you’re just fly-tipping.
I discovered that local man & van businesses have a burgeoning COVID-era sideline in completing the delivery of furniture and heavy items abandoned by couriers.
At 20kg, the table didn’t quite merit its own van & man service, but it was going to be a dead weight for a small woman with a dodgy back. I planned to unpack it and carry it up piecemeal.
‘Anyone else at home, pal?’ asked Mr DPD, when the day came.
Meaning, I assume, a man who could take over the fundamental masculine duty of carrying heavy things upstairs, or perhaps Bobbie Draper from The Expanse.
I replied, more or less, that I did not keep a man on the premises for porterage services.
Bless him, Mr DPD carried the box all the way up.
A shortfall in home-based human resources aside, living alone has many disadvantages for the excessively anxious. I am reluctant to go up a ladder with nobody else present, in case I fall, break my neck and lie undiscovered until my mortgage defaults and the bank comes to repossess my flat. I have watched YouTube clips on how to self-administer the Heimlich manoeuvre.
The other day, after heavy snow, I went out running, slipped on ice and cracked my head on the asphalt path. (I recommend avoiding the riverside path under the Gibson St bridge until spring.) Shocked and a little woozy, I made it home. I retained the cognitive ability to Google ‘concussion’ and to worry creatively about my symptoms.
According to the NHS website, you shouldn’t be alone for 48 hours after a minor head injury. Just typing the phrase minor head injury makes me feel woozy all over again.
I rang Bear and asked him to ring me in the morning to check that I could wake up.