Word of the Week: Ampers

Many of you won’t know what this word means. It’s an Afrikaans word and it means ‘almost or nearly’. Ampers is just so much more expressive than ‘almost’ or ‘nearly’ and it resonates more with how I’m feeling right now than the English words. So what I am on about?

My mother’s furniture and a lot of her other ‘stuff’ has been moved to her new cottage at the retirement home. And the once spacious cottage suddenly looks awfully cramped. My mother ignored all advice and decided to take almost everything she has to her new place. For example, she took a wardrobe and two chests of drawers despite having built in cupboards that span an entire wall in the bedroom. She took two kitchen cupboards, despite the fact that she need only cook when the food served by the home doesn’t take her fancy.

I felt really sorry for the movers! My cousin and his son arrived in the morning to move all her personal belongings. Because there were a lot of small bags and boxes, we walked back and forth firstly to pack the van and then back and forth to empty the van. I congratulated myself on my decision to get a removals company to move the big pieces of furniture. They were a team of four and they just kept going. I was exhausted just from moving the smaller pieces. I made sure to tip them well!

Once all the furniture was placed where we had planned, of course some adjustments had to be made. Both armchairs don’t fit into the spaces next to the chest of drawers, so we had to move the smaller one into the bedroom. Now my mother did want it in her bedroom, but it just makes the bedroom more cramped. But somehow, it fits – sort of. There is really no space for the bookcase, “to display my photos”. But this can be more easily moved later than say an armchair! The linen kist doesn’t fit at the bottom of the bed (I didn’t think it would) but because she decided at the very last minute to take the smaller headboard, the sewing machine fits neatly next to her bed and the kist could be placed by the window.

So although we managed to sort of fit everything in, it’s very full and very cramped. I still think that she doesn’t need the tall grocery cupboard, or the second chest of drawers or even the lounge suite. I understand the wardrobe, it’s the one thing that belonged to my father and I guess she wants to hang onto it. But, it’s her life and another new beginning for her. And if having all of her stuff squashed into her cottage makes her feel comfortable and more at home, well I suppose that’s what matters. To be fair, she has left her imbuia bedroom suite behind in its entirety. Well, she had no choice. Imbuia furniture from 50 years ago was solidly built and are big and heavy. I managed to break one of the legs of an armchair so perhaps she’ll throw it out as I’ve suggested and gain a little extra space. But if I know her, she’ll get my cousin to glue the leg together and just make sure that nobody sits on the chair!

Tomorrow we will continue to unpack boxes into the now multitude of cupboards. But I’m told that my mother hasn’t packed her groceries or her crockery or her pots and pans yet. Heaven alone knows what is in all the boxes that we moved then! This has been an exhausting day and I feel like I need to rest tomorrow. But we are nearly, nearly, nearly there! Or to my word of the week, ampers – ampers daar!

My mother’s bedroom. Besides a double bed, there is also a wardrobe, chest of drawers, linen kist, sewing machine and an armchair
In the living room, a lounge suite, rocking chair, coffee table, chest of drawers and crescent table. The living room has been divided by a counter top cupboard. Other kitchen furniture is a tall grocery cupboard, fridge and a kitchen table and chairs.

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