Sunday, 31 October 2010

A nice break

We actually had a proper 'weekend' for the first time in ages! The occasion was the wedding of an old friend of Ian's in the New Forest. We decided to make a little break of it and stay in a hotel on Saturday night. Unable to find a reasonably priced bed and breakfast in the area we decided to look further afield and ended up doing an Internet search for hotel rooms in Bournemouth. We were amazed to find a very good deal at The Chine Hotel in Boscombe, where we got a room and breakfast for two for £52.95. It was almost too good to believe and we turned up expecting a catch and expecting one of the poorer rooms in the hotel but too our surprise, this was the view from our window.

The service was good, the room comfortable, the breakfast was good and all  in all we were very satisfied.

Ian used to live in Boscombe in the 1980s and had a small house there. It was his first house, he had no money, and learnt most of his D.I.Y skills renovating it. We couldn't resist driving by to have a look and Ian was surprised to see that the gate that he repaired 23 years ago was still there!

Ian remembered Boscombe as being the rougher end of Bournemouth and was surprised to see how much improved it was. The beach is a surfers paradise (but colder and greyer!) and the seafront itself quite unspoilt.

The weekend concluded with a visit to a friend on Ian's in Wimborne and a pub lunch. All in all a much appreciated break from D.I.Y.!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Ridding myself of possessions

I remember now why I haven't moved house very often; at least not since I started acquiring things! I actually find the process of sorting, packing and moving quite stressful, and not being one for creating lists, I wake up at odd hours with a long list of must do's circulating around my brain and hence find myself blogging at 4.45 a.m. in a vain attempt to make myself feel sleepy again! I suspect that today it is not going to work! Just to add to my sense of unreality it just worked out that this highly complicated and stressful move coincides with Ian and I finally living in the same house at the same time! For me, at the age of 51, this is a first! How mad is that! Actually, I think I might quite enjoy that bit if we weren't having to focus on a whole other life project at the same time! So, this is a time of massive transition for me and maybe I need to allow myself a few sleepless nights to help me cope!

The end effect of all this sorting and packing and trips to the dump is that my life should be lighter and less full of clutter. That's what I said last time I moved 8 years ago and I made a resolution not to acquire so many things and to be more organised. I must have forgotten that somewhere along the way!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

It's all there in black and white

It's been five days since I left work and I have never been busier! I soon realised that the weekend is no longer a relevant concept as we continued packing, cleaning,decorating, repairing etc. We are progressing and the new kitchen is almost finished! It is very monochrome! I think Ian is very clever!


Saturday, 23 October 2010

You can have your cake and eat it

This was my farewell bespoke cake, made for me by another of my talented colleagues who, as well as having a full time job as a lecturer, two children to look after, studying for her PhD, also runs her own cake business! Thank you Tania!

Parting gift

This is a picture of Simone- The contortionist llama, mentioned in my previous post. I feel quite honoured to have her as she was made for part of an exhibition of circus animals by my colleague Victoria. She was a gift to mark my leaving and my colleagues thought she was appropriate obviously because of the llama connection but also because apparently I always stand with my legs twisted around each other!

Friday, 22 October 2010

The leaving

Well, my last day at work has been and gone. All in all, leaving work was actually very pleasant, and not in a negative way. I spurned the idea of an official leaving event, with presentations and speeches and organised something myself that involved maximum activity and minimum opportunity for discussion. And so it was, 16 of us went to our local bowling alley and together we did two games of bowling, ate a meal in a basket and then had a go at Laser Quest; where grown men and women put on belts with flashing lights and carry laser guns and try to shoot each other in a dark room with scary music playing! I enjoyed every minute!

Earlier that day my colleagues had presented me with a clay llama, made by Victoria, the pottery teacher. I will post a picture of it and more information later. Similarly, my colleague who makes fantastic cakes made me a big cake of 'the house on the hill', complete with mountain bikers and a French flag ribbon.

When I arrived at work yesterday there was a large bouquet of flowers on my desk and throughout the day, I did various little jobs that I had saved up interspersed with farewells to different people. It all felt very positive.

At 3.30 my colleagues came down and helped me transfer my possessions to my car, using the opportunity to remove any office furniture that was better than they had into their own offices like vultures pouncing on the dying! I returned by office key, made one final defiant gesture and left my unwashed mugs in sink, waved goodbye to everyone and left! It felt good.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Last week

Today is the first day of my last week at work. This morning it was cold and crisp as I left the house and got on my bike. I could see the sea from the top of my street and the horizon was a deep blue line against the paler sky. The leaves are falling from the trees in earnest. I am feeling quite content with no sign of panic and I am actually looking forward to the rest of the week.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Progress notes

I am still without a kitchen, but work is progressing and Ian is working hard at home while I finish my last few days at work. I am currently clearing out my office, which is as bad as my home for being full of junk and unsorted bits of paper!


Yesterday I found myself totally glued to the television or to the Internet, watching the rescue of the Chilean Miners. I saw almost every one of the 33 step out of the rescue capsule that had pulled them some 700 metres from below the the ground, and step into the arms of their families, friends and waiting dignitaries.  I can't remember a time when a news story has gripped me so much, except perhaps watching the events unfold on 9/11. This was totally different.  It was a wonderful positive story of people working together to save other people with a happy outcome.  I know that after this initial euphoria, it won't all end happily ever after for them all (one wife discovered that her husband had a mistress for years while he was missing in the mine!); life is not really like that. The cynic in me also noted that the politicians were there, and milking the event for their own gain; but yesterday my cynical side was pushed very much to the background. Someone commented on Facebook that it was the best reality TV show they had ever seen!

Monday, 4 October 2010


I have no kitchen at the moment as we ripped out the old one at the weekend. As usual once we had stripped everything out we realised that there was more to than we had hoped. C'est la vie! Plugs needed replacing, walls re-plastering, floors levelling. The most peculiar thing we found were some pipes buried in the floor, wrapped in old plastic bags. Unfortunately these seemed to be still connected to the heating system and Ian was for once stumped! We called my friendly plumber but no reply!

Tonight we went to Screwfix and B and Q to buy the rest of the bits we needed to finish the kitchen and who's van should I see parked outside but the Plumber's! I hid behind it until he left and pounced! I stood between him and his van until he agreed to come round next week and remove the wayward heating pipes! In fairness to him he said he was very busy as everyone had switched on their heating systems and found them broken!