Putting Down Roots Down South

I bet you’re all on tenterhooks to find out how the move went! I’ve been online a lot less frequently than before we moved, simply because there’s so much else to do (and also because we didn’t actually have internet in the cottage for the first two weeks). However, this evening it is raining outside, Naomi is studying statistics, the cat is in the garden, the dog is asleep and I am catching up on blogging.

That sentence gives you a peek into some of the things I’ve been busy with: we’ve got a garden! And a dog! Both of those are worthy of their own introduction, so I will write proper posts on each, but for now let’s recap how the move went. Continue reading


Facing the Future

It’s been something of a whirlwind few weeks. Actually, it’s been something of a whirlwind year!

July 2nd was the anniversary of Naomi and I meeting. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year, and hard to believe that it’s only been a year. So much has happened, some of which I’ve blogged about, and we both feel that in many ways it has accelerated our relationship by testing it in nearly every conceivable way.

More tests loom: in August, we will be moving house. Not only will this be the first time we’ve lived together, we’re also moving over 100 miles (or 135, depending whether or not you can fly) to a place where neither of us knows anyone yet. The process of finding ourselves somewhere to live has felt little short of miraculous. Only a few days after I had posted a desperate plea for ideas as we were struggling to find anywhere suitable in East Sussex, we received an email responding to our similar plea on Gumtree. The sender had a cottage in East Sussex, and she was moving for work. The bathroom was on the ground floor and she would be very happy for a cat and even a dog to live with us there. Were we interested in renting it? Continue reading

Boing, boing, boing, bouncing around the country!

Greetings from… Cambridge, again! A lot has happened since my last post. First, the family who I had been nannying for all year decided to fire me for reasons I continue to think were unfair and baseless (I won’t go into details, but I felt very hurt and betrayed about it for quite a long time). Then the nanny share fell through, as the first family decided to send their child to nursery instead and the second family, after initially wanting to continue without a share, eventually backtracked and found a childminder.

I carried on looking for nannying work but I also started looking at other jobs, mainly along the lines of being a family support worker. I hadn’t known this kind of job existed! Essentially it combines what I most loved about midwifery (working in the community to support families) with a lot of the skills I’ve gained through nannying, and also uses my law degree a little bit and essentially sounds like my ideal job.

At the start of July, I went down to Cambridge with my friend Nicola to help her get her electric wheelchair serviced, and she invited a few friends to dinner while we were there. One was a woman called Naomi, who Nicola had mentioned she thought I would get along well with. Continue reading

Moving… again

When I first moved into this flat, I wrote about how excited I was that I wouldn’t have to move house for at least the next three years. I was really looking forward to having my own space, and knowing that it would be mine until I chose to move. I knew it was possible I might decide to move on sooner than three years, but I didn’t have to.

It was lovely, and I have enjoyed living in my tiny flat. It’s a bit like living in a dolls’ house, but a rather noisy dolls’ house with not quite enough space. Eventually, I decided it was probably time to look for somewhere bigger. Continue reading

I’m in my new flat!

The internet is being VERY dodgy (I can’t get the router to work at all, I’m connected using BT Fon at the moment) so I’m off to buy a cable in the morning – stupidly I left mine at uni thinking I wouldn’t need it. I was very pleased to discover the previous tenant has left his microwave, along with a bunch of utensils, a set of pans and some cutlery, and various other bits and pieces that are quite useful. The downside is that it’s fairly noisy downstairs and upstairs, which may be just how Saturday night is. I’ve got earplugs in and I’m used to having to sleep in them so that’s fine. I was hoping not to need them any more once I moved away from the demon death rattle radiator, but no such luck. Perhaps weekdays will be quieter.

Off to bed now, I’m going to wander to the next village/town/bit of the city (no idea how to classify these things!) to the supermarket in the morning and then go on a bit of an explore. The landlord told me how to find the big Co-op when he was giving me the keys to the flat, so I went and stocked up on things like bedding and mushrooms. Public service announcement: the Co-operative’s bedding is the worst quality I have ever seen.

The End of the Gap Year

Well, it hasn’t been quite a whole year but it’s certainly felt like one! Today I’ll be moving back into college, ready to start the new term on Tuesday.

I’m excited, definitely, and I’ve been anxious to get there for days – I was in Cambridge at the weekend for a choir thing, and having to leave for a week was very frustrating! I caught a train across to Cardiff, where my dad and Gill were visiting Gill’s family, and we’ve been pottering around visiting people and places for the last few days. But this evening we’ll arrive at college and I’ll finally get to move into my new room.

I went to have a look at it on Saturday, and was pleased, it’s a nice room with plenty of light. But no bed, oddly. I’m assuming there will be one there by now. Hopefully they won’t have taken out either of the two comfortable-looking armchairs to make space for it. And I’ve got a table! Just a small one but it’ll be so good not to have to eat my meals sitting on my bed or at my desk.

This coming year will be interesting and busy. As well as the choir, which will take around 10 hours a week (plus singing lessons), I’ll hopefully be tutoring at least one person in english. I had originally agreed to tutor a five year old for four hours a week, but I realised it would just be too much of a time commitment. The alternatives are much less time-consuming – one is two one-hour sessions, ten minutes away from college, and the other is one hour every fortnight, fifteen minutes away. I don’t know for sure if either or both will definitely happen but I think I could manage both if they do. And having an income will be very useful.

It’s a very hot day again. I only packed winter clothes for this week, and everything else is inaccessible in the boot of the van. There’s a strong possibility I might melt before we arrive.

Two Weeks in Limbo

I hate packing. I seem to have done quite a lot of it in the last few years but it hasn’t got any more fun.

Packing to go away on holiday, even if it’s several weeks of holiday, is fine. I’m a very efficient clothes-packer and I travel light, so it’s never more than one bag and it’s done in twenty minutes.

But packing to move? Horrible.

At the moment I’m very gradually packing up and moving boxes into the garage, ready for when my dad comes to collect them and take them down to uni. Thankfully I didn’t really unpack most of my stuff when I came back here in November – who needs a second set of saucepans in a house already well stocked with utensils? – but even so, my room is littered with things that will, or might be, essential, or at least useful, when I’m living on my own again.

I feel as though I’ve forgotten what sort of things I’ll need to take. I’d totally forgotten about bedding, which is daft since I change my own bedding whether I’m at home or at uni, and I probably wouldn’t have packed any if my mum hadn’t reminded me. I’ve packed up my kitchen stuff and gathered up towels and stationery, and now I can’t think what else I need to take. I know there’s got to be a lot more, because the car was full when we brought it all home, but I can’t remember what it all was.

Part of the problem is probably that I can’t quite believe I’m going back. I still haven’t heard back from the college about whether or not I’m officially allowed to – it’s getting ridiculous now, I sent the medical forms to them two months ago. I know in theory that there are only ten days left before I get on a coach and head down for Commem, joined a few days later by dad, Gill, and a van full of my possessions, but today feels exactly like all the other days since April. I’ve lost my sense of urgency, because I haven’t had to meet a deadline since November.

On the positive side, repacking the boxes of kitchen things to save space gave me the chance to see what was in them and look forwards to cooking again. When mum and John go away on Friday (yes, they are leaving me and not coming back until I’ve gone), I’m going to have a festival of cooking and try out half a dozen new recipes while there’s no one here to complain about the results. Can’t wait to use my cast-iron skillet and my shiny new kitchen knives.

Unexpected Productivity

Ever since I got back from Scotland I’ve been struggling with what is colloquially called “brain fog”. I’ve forgotten things that happened minutes before, I’ve had trouble reading (not just concentrating, but actually working out what the words say), I’ve mostly lain around reading or on the computer until my headache got too bad and I had to have a nap.

But today, when I woke up and waved my brother off to catch his train, I discovered that the fog had cleared a little. My head still aches and I am still having moments of “where did I put the… what was I looking for? Oh, it’s there… why did I need this?”, but instead of staring vacantly at Terry Pratchett books I’m doing useful things!

So far I’ve rung National Express about the duplicate ticket I don’t need; college about whether or not I’m allowed to go back (jury’s still out), whether or not I can have a room in college (yes!), which room I can have (one in the building I wanted! Success!), when I can move in (five days later than I need to arrive… problem), and whether my stuff can move in without me (no); various Cambridge hospitals about various non-medical things; and I think I rang someone else too but I can’t remember.

It is very odd to have this sort of productivity wave after so many days of being a bit useless. It isn’t so much that I haven’t done anything for the last few weeks, it’s just that everything, including standing up from a chair or drying up after a meal, has been exhausting. Today an unexpected surge of energy has carried me through. I’ll probably pay for it tomorrow, but at least I’ve got a lot done today!

Tomorrow… tomorrow John’s son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren arrive to visit. Four children under the age of 12 in my house. Overnight. I hope my headache can cope. I’ll be sleeping on a campbed in the back living room, which is an improvement on the initial suggestion of a tent in the garden.

It’s been a visitor-heavy week, with my brother here since we got back from Scotland (he was planning on staying for a week, but we persuaded him to stay for two), my mum’s sister and brother-in-law here for two days leaving this morning, a distant relative of John’s here for lunch at the weekend and now the six visitors tomorrow. I think we’re all feeling a bit exhausted and I don’t even want to think about how much bedding we’ve washed.

Next week I’m off to Bath and then Whitby, which I’ve been looking forwards to for ages! It’s a bit of a packing nightmare, but I suppose it’s good practice for the sheer hell that will be trying to get all my stuff back to university. I won’t go into details since it’s far too complex for anyone to care about, but basically I have to be in two places at once on October 1st, I have to be in Cambridge before I can move in, my stuff can’t get there without me and it’s all spread across two counties.

What I really need is a personal assistant. Then I could lie in a darkened room with a damp cloth on my head until this constant headache goes away.