‘Little Boxes All the Same’ but What a Difference 2 Years Make, 1st July 2016

Orange packing crates scattered around Church High, 2014.

Anyone who has ever moved house knows you can’t have too many boxes.  They will also know the difficulty trying to find things at the other end.  For those boxes, little boxes, they all look just the same.

‘There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same’.

Thus sang Malvina Reynolds in 1962 to a catchy little tune.  She was making ironic reference to modern housing, but the little boxes I’m focusing on here are of a very different kind.  I mean packing crates, of course.  It’s funny how much of a difference two years can make to one’s attitude.  Although we moved an entire school in 2015, if you flick through all the photographs I took at that time (many featured in the video slideshows on the Heritage website) there is hardly a packing case in sight.  This was intentional, of course, because looking at them made me feel sick to the core.  This wasn’t how I wanted to remember Church High.  They actually appear in only two photos, one of which opens this post.  It was no mean feat to have avoided them, for they were everywhere and very hard to miss.  Yes, those crates we moved to Eskdale in were very orange.

A skip is now positioned behind Eskdale.

A Friday was not my usual camera day, as you know, but Friday July 1st was special.  This was when the skips would arrive.  Knowing how long it had taken to pack up Church High, we were scratching our heads by the lateness of this date.  But then we’d had to clear our building by the end of the first week of the summer holiday.  This time round, the buildings we were leaving would be technically accessible until January 2017.  I’d brought my camera to work to capture a skip image for the blog, but my trip round the back of the building that day was very well-timed.  Joy of joys!  A Quicksilver storage van had already arrived.  Now we really were in business!

A Quicksilver van could mean only one thing – packing crates!

Indeed, on entering the side door to escape the drizzling rain, the first thing I saw on the bottom corridor was a pile of packing crates.  It was oddly pleasing to discover that they weren’t orange this time.

Grey crates this time felt suitably appropriate.

Do you remember all those stairs which did my knees in?  Well, they weren’t appreciated by the guys from Quicksilver Storage either!

The ‘Stairs from Hell’ in the Eskdale building.
My excitement at the arrival of the crates at long last contrasted greatly with the huffing and puffing of the Quicksilver removal team.
Stairs, stairs and yet more stairs to negotiate.

By the end of the afternoon, there were crates on every corridor.

A line of empty crates in place all along the main corridor.
And a pile for me outside the HoY Office too.

I arrived in three crates, so immediately appropriated three of the red ones for my own use.  Red is so much more my style than grey.

As in 2014, there was a time-consuming process of sorting out and throwing away of paper standing between me and packed crates, but what a difference two years made.  I didn’t mind a bit this time.

‘Chez Christine’ at Eskdale: barricaded in by piles of paper.

The Head of Year Office on the second floor (though up three flights of stairs) was very Spartan when we first arrived, but gradually I introduced more colour to it.  I can’t work any other way.  That room ultimately served as a safe bolt hole during some very testing times.  The following shots give you a feel of Eskdale from my point of view.

The chair I sat on for the whole two years came from the ICT Suite at Church High, as did the under-desk cabinet on the right hand side; this was always some comfort to know.
The pictures all came with me from the Pastoral Room, the ornaments from the Staff ICT Suite and the ‘wire people’ followed later, having been evacuated by me from the Art Room.
The picture of cat was drawn by the talented Zoe Robinson.

Giuseppe’s photos taken on that same day show that ‘up-the-road’, deep within the warm red-brick walls of the ‘Old Girl’, my new classroom (formerly the Senior Staffroom) was now being decorated.

Room 18: another step nearer to receiving me.

This was just as well, because the one surviving plant from my old classroom, which had undergone the whole journey with me, was now looking very much worse for wear.  A visual metaphor for me.

Still alive – just! – within ‘The Purple Palace’.


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