PICKFORDS … Around the Corner Around the World
- Thursday, 22 November to Monday, 26 November 2007
I know that quite a few Doing Lifers started to wonder whether the Fouries have survived their relocation to Gauteng … Yes, we are still kicking, but just just.
Pickfords’ mini drop-off van arrived just after 9am on Thursday last week at Sandlea, off loading their packing trio (Frans, Maureen and Virginia) along with packaging material assigned to pack our worldly belongings. Things did not start off on a bright note. I wondered into the kitchen after monitoring the off-loading of all the packaging materials and discovered that Maureen had asked Rose a knife to unscrew her heavy duty craft knife. I got hot under the collar as I noticed that Rose has given her one of our cutlery set knives and Maureen has already bent the tip of the knife trying to unscrew a star headed screw. I gave her one of our own star screw drivers to do the job and just could not believe that Pickfords did not supply their workers with a basic tool kit instead of them utilising the clients’ tools.
The Dining and Family rooms were first targeted with a vengeance by the trio. The first item packaged was a dining room chair. Yours truly stood around nervously verbalizing several caution warnings … realizing that our sentimental attachments to our belongings are not necessarily honoured by strangers. Thursday dragged along with me supervising with hawk eyes and Rose cleaning emptied furniture before they were wrapped.
Our mini step ladder was also summonsed to assist the packers in reaching goods in top shelves of cupboards. Another example of Pickfords not supply their staff with basic equipment.
Conroy arrived just before 8pm and I think we were both a bit touched seeing our furniture being boxed and wrapped and reality was suddenly hitting us. We went to Butchers’ Boys in Hillcrest for a sumptuous dinner trying to distance ourselves from what was happening back at home.
The Trio arrived at 10am on Friday morning with additional packaging and started to target the blue room (which took two full days to pack) and the bedrooms. Once again the urge to distance ourselves from reality kicked in and we left for a late breakfast at Café Vanille just behind Woollies in Kloof. Unfortunately we were bombarded with a serious noise factor by builders removing a sink roof from an extension to the Café right next to where we were having brunch. With stress already running rampant amongst ourselves we were even more aggravated when no apologies were coming forth from management apart from on our departure we were told: ‘it seems like you really got the bum seats this morning …’.
We returned home to some more packing chaos and tried to distance ourselves by hiding in the study, which we have requested to be packed last. The Trio left just before 5pm still having to pack the blue room (which was not even packed 50%), the study, kitchen, garage, servants’ quarters and main bedroom. We were quite worried about how much still had to be packed on the last day, Saturday when the Big Truck arrives.
We stayed at the Goss B&B in Kloof Friday night … once again the distancing factor rank supreme … We had another lovely supper at La Pizza Pazza in Kloof accompanied by a bottle of red wine easing stressed muscles.
After a very disappointing stay at the Goss House B&B i.e. the bath was never cleaned before our arrival (some hairs and dirt ring still evident) and the bar fridge very unstocked … not a chocolate in sight for the chocoholics … even though the bar fridge list stated chocolates. Conroy even searched every little bakkie which had a lid, in case a choccie may have been hidden. Breakfast was served with seriously old condiments … when we opened the jam bottle (yes, the jam is served in an old bottle as purchased from the shop) it kind of exploded … so old was the jam that it started fermenting. The salt and pepper was served in two little open bakkies … the salt grey with years of dust and rock hard. And one did not dare touch the tomato and other sauces. [Sorry Paula … did not mean to insult you.] The Goss House does have a beautiful serene setting with a relatively full natural stream running through the property and the ducks, geese, swans and huge koi fish mingling in the adjacent pond. It’s a pitty because the setting poses so much potential … if there were just some more personal touches from the owners.
We arrived for the very last day on Saturday morning at our Kloof home awaiting the Big Truck’s arrival which was just after 10:30am (a bit late we thought to ourselves). Whilst the trio was still packing the remainder 40% of our home, additional packers were carrying out the already packed goods to be loaded on a trolley and taken to the truck stationed outside Sandlea’s main gate, in Coghill Avenue. Mid day we suddenly noticed numerous key furniture pieces being carried out and put on the tar outside the garage without having been carefully packaged and wrapped … it seemed like they were rushing the job … even furniture with glass and mirrors were not packaged at all and wheeled down to the truck and laid down on wet dirty grass and soil. This is the point where I probably lost it. Especially when our bedroom suite of 16 years, was just left to the elements in Coghill Avenue with rain eminent any moment. We insisted on every furniture piece being packaged properly and off course this pushed their time boundaries.
The heavens opened at midday as well, resulting in everything going into slow motion. We again noticed that none of Pickfords’ workers had rain coats and were fetching and carrying goods to the truck a few 100 metres away getting soaking wet … this is not how you treat staff members.
As if this was not enough, there was a serious hiccup with the collection of my car by the subcontractors who called to say that their trailer had a breakdown at Mooiriver and it could take 4 to 5 hours to sort out. Fortunately, Conroy was around and he got on the phone and insisted that Pickfords sort this problem out. At first they made the problem our problem … forgetting that ‘the client is always right’ and you look after your client not matter what. A suggestion came up that someone’s uncle’s, brother’s, cousin would come and collect the car and drive it to Pickfords’ depot near Durban Airport. Conroy nearly blew a gasket … and could not believe what he heard … first of all the insurance wont pay out if this ‘far off relative’ crashes the car. In the end Conroy cancelled our lift to the airport and said that we will drive the car ourselves to Pickfords’ depot, but insisted on Pickfords transporting us to the airport from their depot.
Whilst frantic packing was still taking place one of the packers asked Conroy whether he would assist them packaging glass shelves from one of our display cabinets. Can you believe the audacity … wasn’t this which we paid Pickfords a load of money for?
While Conroy was on the phone revving up his stress levels even more, sorting out my car’s pickup, he sat down on the window sill in our bedroom and broke the fixed glass pane of the bay window. The window cracked all over, but fortunately he was not hurt. So another frantic call was made, this time to PG Glass to have the broken glass fixed before the new owners moved in. In the meantime we taped some black bags and Pickfords bubble wrap over the window pane to keep the still pouring rain at bay. Of course this gave the house a squatter camp ambience.
As the very last goods i.e. the patio pot plants, were loaded Conroy took me by the arm and said I must come and walk with him around the house so that we could savour for the last time our beloved Kloof garden mentioning that we will probably not have such a nice garden in the near future. Both of us were quite emotional with shedding a tear or two. Kloof was a village where we to date probably had the nicest stay. I did not realize that Conroy was so attached to our Kloof home and had become quite sentimental … this he definitely inherited from his mum.
We handed the house keys to Rose who was now officially the house’s keeper until the new owners, Peter and Janet Dirksen, moved in on Wednesday, 28 November 2007. We dropped Rose off at the bus stop and said our sad goodbyes. Then sped off to Pickford’s depot where we had to drop the car for pickup by a trailor en route to Fourways, Johannesburg. We were dropped at Durban airport at 5:55, just in time to book in for our 6:40pm flight to Johannesburg … which was miraculously on time. We slept at Conroy’s apartment Saturday night.
We went for an early breakfast at our recently discovered favourite breakfast spot at Broadacres Spar’s Restaurant after which we went to our new Fernridge Estate home for the official handover of the keys by the builder and the estate agent. After handover we started cleaning the house from top to bottom, washing all the floors and cupboards which were seriously filthy with dust. My knees have never been as sore after washing quite a few square meters of flooring on all fours. My car arrived on its trailer Sunday afternoon and we both sighed in relief. We left the clean empty house just after 9pm to stay at Conroy’s Bryanston apartment.
Pickfords’ truck arrived just after 9am on Monday, 26 November and off-loading took place in a lightning fast manner. I started to flap as it was expected from me to unpack everything in one day … that after three plus packers took 3 full days packing everything. Well, what could I do? I had a Pickfords helper assisting me and we started unpacking all the kitchen and dining room crockery. As the helper was unpacking there was later not enough space to put everything because I could not just stack everything into the cupboards. Fortunately we managed to unpack the whole of the kitchen and dining room in one day, with me finishing off just before 9pm that evening.
Whilst off-loading, once again Pickfords helped themselves to Conroy’s tools in his tool box without asking - another situation where Pickfords’ should have supplied their staff with basic tools.
In the process two of our table glass tops were shattered due to inferior packaging.
Pickfords send two more helpers to assist for a few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On the whole we felt that we had a very unprofessional Pickfords experience and will definitely not recommend them to potential movers.
The house is still in a state of stacked piles of goods, but at least the main bedroom, kitchen, dining room, family room and studio are in a manageable state.
At the moment we are awaiting Telkom, the DSTV installation, the plumbers to connect the washing machine and dishwasher, the electrician to sort out problems, the alarm guy to finalise the alarm system, the curtain people to come and hang the curtains. Fortunately the wooden Venetian blinds (in all the windows) were installed on Monday and Tuesday, yes whilst Pickfords were offloading … so you can just imagine the chaos. We also still don’t have a fridge … we had to leave our old fridge of nearly 20 years for Rose as it did not fit in our new home. So we did go shopping for a new fridge, but the fridges that we want and will fit are all out of stock. So we still need to do some more fridge shopping. MacDonalds, Wimpy and numerous restaurants are making a fortune from us at the moment.
It was our 23rd wedding anniversary today, 30 November 2007. We spent the day just chilling after 8 long days of packing and unpacking, etc. I will probably continue with some more unpacking and sorting out on Monday.
A big thank you to all of you who have sms’d, emailed and phoned us to wish us everything of the best. Your thoughts and interest have helped keeping us going and motivated and made the move seemed more worthwhile.
- Mover and Shaker Signing Off