A move by moonlight

The big deliv­ery van races across the sea bed. The lit­tle boy turns the wheel with shiny eyes. With his arms out­stretched he can just reach it. Far too soon he has to go back into his car seat. It is only when we get out of the Euro­tun­nel that we can ful­ly believe it: we have crossed the border.

Nine days ago it looked like we would have to can­cel our move to the Nether­lands. France closed the bor­der to all traf­fic from the Unit­ed King­dom. When a few days lat­er we heard the news that you could cross the bor­der with a neg­a­tive coro­na test, we quick­ly booked a test. On Box­ing Day, we got to get our ton­sils tick­led at Heathrow.

The results came back two days ago. We were coro­na-free and could go on to pack the last box­es. This morn­ing, two amaz­ing friends came to help load the bus. Y.’s local grand­par­ents took care of tod­dler enter­tain­ment. French cus­toms also coop­er­at­ed, and so, with com­bined efforts, we end­ed up on the oth­er side of the chan­nel. A small miracle.

Day­light soon los­es out to the heavy clouds on the hori­zon. But then a dif­fer­ent light appears. The full moon care­ful­ly creeps out from behind a cloud. It is still low in the sky and is a warm orange. We can’t take our eyes off it. For Y. it is a dai­ly rit­u­al: “There moon!”

Despite the coro­na cri­sis and Brex­it, the move doesn’t feel like an escape for me. Dur­ing the past eight years I have found a sec­ond home coun­try. From Stone­henge to Per­cy Shel­ley, from Doc­tor Who to Radio 4, from old drafty hous­es to the sweep­ing south coast, a part of me will always be there. And of course we stay in touch with friends.

While we zoom across Bel­gium, the moon dances fur­ther and fur­ther upwards, swing­ing in her cloud dress. The clouds dis­ap­pear when we enter the Nether­lands. Y. is sleep­ing in his car seat and the moon now shines like a bea­con direct­ly above our des­ti­na­tion. We slow­ly roll into the street. Ready for a new chapter.

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