The Boxtrolls

Last week, I took my youngest son to see the family movie The Boxtrolls. It’s a story about a group of ingenious creatures who live in boxes and fashion all their needs from the cast-offs of others. If you’ve ever seen The Wombles, you’ll have a general idea of what it’s about.

This week, in a classic example of life imitating art, it seems my family is attempting to emulate the boxtrolls’ lifestyle following the disappearance of 99% of our belongings into a container bound for Canberra.

A container mounted onto a truck.

Our possessions head off to Canberra in a container.

For our final few days in Denmark, we are living in an empty house with only our airline luggage and a bunch of stuff we intend to discard to keep us functional.

We’ve already had a few face-palm moments, as we realised:

  • The kettle is still here. But it should have gone into the container
  • The office wastepaper basket is not here. This should not have gone into the container lest its grubby interior fails the border inspection in Australia
  • We have no knife with a serrated edge, which makes cutting bread something of a random shape-making exercise
  • We have no potato peeler. This, according to my wife, makes us basically vagrants
  • The clothes we have now will be worn  to within an inch of their lives by mid-December
  • We have no way of ironing them, so we are destined to look shabby until then

On the bright side, our limited collection of belongings has inspired some fun creativity.

My new office workspace has been fashioned from a garden chair that we’ll be leaving for the purchasers of our house, and a box left behind by the removals men.

A garden chair and an upturned box.

My new office furniture.

Meanwhile, our temporary home entertainment system is an old portable TV that only picks up four channels, propped on another discarded removals box.

A portable TV on a box.

Our multimedia entertainment system, complete with cabinet.

This is seriously minimalist living. For now, the kids think it’s a big adventure — especially the sleeping bags on the floor and the pillows stuffed with clothes, but it can’t last, and we’ve already had the first cry of “I’m bored”.

I should stress that this boredom is relative, since we have an outdoor play area opposite our house, iPads indoors, and a laptop with instant access to streaming movies. Not to mention a collections of several books on the iPad’s Kindle app. Still, in the kids’ world, this is roughing it to the extreme.

Suddenly, the fast approaching flight to Australia seems like an enticing welcome into a world of unimaginable pleasures — a seat-back media system offering games, movies and TV shows; a regular meal service that may well include vegetables; cushioned seats; and, perhaps most alluring of all, the promise of a soft hotel bed at the other end, if only for a night.


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