Category Archives: life

Bank holidays

In wanting to update everything about the sticky work situation, I have neglected to write about the lovely bank holiday weekend we had, and lovely it most certainly was. For a start, this was the first year I’ve been able to fully appreciate a four day weekend for what it is, being the first year I’ve been working full time either side! It just seemed to go on forever, despite being filled with enjoyable stuff!

I made it down to London late on Thursday night, and on Friday we spent the day with Chris’ older brother and family, chatting, eating, drinking and all that stuff. As well as a rather entertaining trip to the Natural History Museum at Tring. Think lots of stuffed animals and you’re about there. Very odd to see all sorts of animals we encountered in Kenya stuffed and behind glass. Friday evening saw us return to London to meet Never Conforming and her missus, have a nice dinner in the crypt at St Martin in the Fields, and then a trip out to Greenwich on Saturday. A good amount of time to chat and catch up on the various happenings in each of our lives, of which there seem to be many! Nice to have a few days to chew the fat when recently we’ve only had one or even just an evening.

Saturday evening some of us, along with some other friendly folkie types went to see our favourite Barnsley lass in a rather nice venue. Kate was on good form, but also well matched by the accompanying Red Skies string ensemble. Difficult to find a website for them, but suffice to say, if you get a chance, they’re worth a listen.

After Easter Sunday service at Hinde Street we headed out on our travels again, this time in the direction of Leamington Spa for Chris’ brother’s 21st birthday. One night staying in a student house reminded me just how long it was since I was one, and that single beds are definitely only made for one. On Monday, Joe’s actual birthday, we went out for a rather posh meal at a restaurant nearby. You can tell its posh when you have luncheon not lunch. But the place was quiet and sophisticated, the boys (mostly) wore jackets, and some had fun trying to decipher the menu! French speakers are handy to have around. The food was lovely, the setting very pretty, and the company wonderful. Some photos in the grounds while the sun was shining to show the gallivanting parents that their sons do scrub up well when pushed!

All in all, a jam packed but relaxed and easy weekend. A perfect introduction to the delights of double bank holidays!

Reviewed

A little while back I wrote about a friend of mine at work who had gone through a not very nice redundancy process.

Well, on Friday I found out that I am now essentially going to go through the same process. Our team is being ‘reviewed’, which is a nice way of saying they can’t afford to keep us all on, and so something (or someone) has to give. Not a very nice thing to read on a Friday lunchtime, but then, when is a good time come to that?

Having had a weekend to let it settle in, to talk about our options and to work out as much of a strategy as is possible with this many unknowns, I feel at least a little more prepared, and a little more able to think and talk about it.

Firstly, we don’t know if it’ll be me or not, but looking at the criteria that they use to decide, I think I can make a pretty safe guess that it will. Then there’s what ‘options’ I get given, which I’ll find out on Wednesday at the consultation meeting. Yes, its all that quick. They reckon three weeks and it’ll be pretty much there.

Secondly, there’s other jobs. The one I had the interview for the other week is not lost yet. I was told at the time it would be a few weeks, so still waiting on that one. Was trying not to pin too many hopes on it, but I think now thats gone out the window. If I get that one, all will be well, or at least, it will be a lot sooner. If not, there’ll be others. And meanwhile we’ll manage for a bit on a combination of payoffs and savings, I’ll blitz temping agencies and whatever else in London, and keep at it with the ‘real jobs’ till I get somewhere.

Also, one thing that struck me straight away with this is that, even though its pretty crappy, I’m in a far better position than many of the others. Among this group of people many have mortgages, children, one has a child on the way in the summer, and another, my colleague here, is getting married on Saturday and then off on honeymoon for two weeks. Not to mention being settled here where his wife-to-be has a steady job and where both their families live. And if the jobs market isn’t great at the moment, its probably none existant round this way.

I think I’ll be ok, at least, at the moment I’m not too worried. This may well change if I find out tomorrow that I didn’t get the job and on Wednesday that the situation is worse than I thought. And last thing at night when I can’t sleep it doesn’t seem so easy. But it’ll be ok, and I know I’m not doing this on my own, this is a ‘we’ rather than a ‘me’ thing, and just that makes it all seem a whole lot less scary.

Although I am of course terribly disappointed that I may miss out on a whole lot of newting 😉

Bits and pieces

So that last post was inspired by (and has inspired) thoughts for my sermon this weekend. But to go back to the more mundane stuff thats also been going on..

This weekend just gone was the SCM annual conference, always a thought-provoking experience, and this year was no exception. I’ll come back to that sometime. Aside from the ‘official’ bit of the conference, its always good to see people. New friends and old friends, getting together again and chatting in the pub or singing till the small hours, and then realising that two nights of little sleep is not a good way to start a new working week!

The heating problems continue, three visits of the manufacturers engineers down, still no  better. |Apparently after three visits they send out a ‘lead engineer’. Which means what? Is that jargon for ‘someone who knows what they’re doing’? In which case why didn’t they send them first?! The mind boggles.

Last night I spent a happy, err, while, organising my posts and adding categories (sermon which needed writing might have had something to do with this sudden urge!). Hoorah for another form of organisational procrastination! I’ve decided tagging will be restricted to newer posts, or I may never post again for spending all my time tagging. Which would somewhat defeat the point.

Job hunting continues, jobs come up and I think will continue to do so, we’ll see where that takes us. Hoping and praying that sometime soon something will change and this half-life will be transformed. Although the idea of that is so mythical and far off that in some ways it doesn’t quite seem real.

And talking of which, I should draw your attention to a new wibber who has appeared this week, who I now can’t refer to simply as Mr RF. Some of you have spotted him already, but if not, wander over and say hello.

Lovely weekends

Despite having spent quite a few weekends in London now, we seem to have mostly had ‘stuff to do’- before Christmas this mostly involved Christmas shopping. The last two weekends were the first we’ve had there since Christmas, and we’ve made a start on the ‘going places and seeing things’. You see, I don’t really know London, so I wanted to get out to some of those places I’d always heard of but never seen.

Last weekend we had a lovely wander over a snowy Hampstead Heath, with proper wintry weather (he thinks I’m a bit mad to love winter so much!). We walked and talked, stopped to sit down, and walked again when we got cold. And warmed ourselves up with cream tea in a little cafe on the way home. After church on Sunday we had a mad lunch of Dim Sum with a friend of mine, no idea what we ordered but it tasted good!

This Saturday, yes the 14th, we’d decided to make ourselves a scrummy dinner (rather than paying someone else for it), and so Saturday morning was spent happily mooching around looking for random ingredients- the favourite being a wonderful organic hippyish shop with nuts and seeds and all types of tea in big jars 🙂 Although apparently there are no chives in Camden just now. So now you know.

After the shopping we headed out to Greenwich for the afternoon, to a lovely pub for lunch (with very yummy beers), and then a wander through the park and up to the observatory. With my fix of science geekery we then wandered back down, past the maritime museum, to wend our way home.

The evening was spent in a contented kind of organised chaos as we tried to work out whether the carrots needed soaking before the aubergines had finished being pressed, how to tell if the sesame seeds were toasted sufficiently, and how on earth we would ever use the ‘small’ bunch of parsley we had bought! The end results were definately rather yummy, with the aubergine fritters and bread and butter pudding being the highlights.

Our Sunday lunch date cancelled, we headed to have lunch near Trafalgar Square, and had a wander around the national gallery. A pleasant discovery was an exhibition of the impressionist painter Sisley’s time in England and Wales, in which we learned that he was married in Cardiff and spent his honeymoon on the Gower. His paintings of Langland were rather special.

A rather nice valentines weekend in all. And no hint of the stress of booking restaurants, dealing with stroppy waiters, or long queues in sight. Sorry bimble.

Christmas comes but once a year..

Long time no blog. Not because I haven’t meant to, or wanted to, or even because I didn’t have anything to say. But more because I couldn’t quite seem to get round to saying it. I think I’ve said this before, the problem with blogging is that when you have things to blog you don’t have time to.  Anyway, I thought I should catch up, before I head off into the wild blue yonder.

Due to being away for Christmas (the first time ever I’ve not been at home, I would have to go to extremes and be on a different continent!) we had Christmas early this year. Twice in fact. Two weeks ago was Christmas number one with my parents. We had Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding, crackers, the tree was up (slightly early especially for us!), we exchanged presents, the whole works. I was thinking it was going to be odd trying to have it early, kinda like forcing it. But it made me realise, its not about what the date is on the calendar, but how you spend the time. That day, for us, was as much Christmas as it could have been. And this year we had cards, and presents, for *us*, together. A real milestone, and the feeling that this was something real, something lasting.

Christmas number two was last weekend, in London, just the two of us. This time we had presents for each other, although not all of Chris’ present made it to London- the entire West Wing box set is a little heavy, so he made do with one seasons worth! For me, the first series of Life on Mars J and some pretty necklaces from Accessorize, as well as some rather yummy posh chocolates infused with Earl Grey tea!!! Tea and chocolate, all in one! I think that was a ‘saw this and thought of you’ moment.. no idea why. With the presents we had mulled wine and Christmas music (which wasn’t quite the same as carols round the piano in Swansea, but was nice all the same), and then a nice meal Ask down the road with bubbly and everything. All in all, I think we’ve done quite well for Christmas so far.

And then tomorrow we fly, quite literally off into the wild blue yonder. Arriving in Nairobi, travelling through the Masai Mara, down to Lake Nakuru in the Rift Valley, and to Amboseli in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, ending on the coast at Mombasa. I’m off to London tonight, and then we fly tomorrow evening, back after New Year. So excited, its just sunk in, I think, particularly when packing last night. I can’t believe any of it, that its finally arrived, this trip we’ve been talking about for so long, that I’m going to Africa. And that I’m going as part of their family, just cos. It still amazes me, that they’re happy to take me with them, to let me be part of it all.

After all this, all that is left is to wish you all a very happy Christmas, whatever you do and wherever you may be. We’ll see you in the new year, and hopefully bring back some photos to share!

Irony

I always knew God had a sense of humour.

I’ve been thinking for a while I needed to clean my car. Driving to and from work down country lanes doesn’t do a lot for the cleanliness, and there’s been extra mud recently cos of lots of tractors going here and there. So, yesterday I cleaned it. And my lovely little car was all shiny again 🙂

This morning when I came out to drive to work, I find a bird has left me a little present on the window. This hadn’t happened in the whole of the last month or so. But as soon as its clean.. I’m really not that fussy about my car being spotless. I just smiled to myself and appreciated the timing!

The bible tells us of several times when ‘Jesus wept’. This morning, ‘God chuckled’.

Haircuts and Christmas cards

I’ve been wondering, how does one go about locating a non-scary type of hairdresser in a town one doesn’t know?

The sort where I won’t go in thinking ‘this is a big mistake’ and come out still not being sure. Where I won’t feel out of place for not already having perfect hair and not really having an answer when they ask how I usually style it other than ‘erm, I wash it and let it dry?’

Working in a more or less totally male office has its downside in this kind of dilemma. I know a few people through church, but unless I’m looking for a perm and a blue rinse they might not be able to help.

Like I said, just wondering. In other news, this week I have been writing a sermon and some Christmas cards. Not together, and not with the same material. Neither intended audiences would thank me for that! But its a bit like it might be Christmas soon. I’m preaching on Advent Sunday, so there really is no escape from it now. And on Saturday last week, we heard Christmas music on in a shop for the first time. At least they waited till November.

Lists

In one of the interviews I had I was asked the standard ‘how do you organise your time with tight deadlines’ question (or something similar). My answer was, emphatically, “Lists!”. “I write lists for everything” I went on, as they seemed to be going with it. Then it was an example of the fact that I am, and enjoy being, an organised sort of person. I feel good when I have all the things I need to do written down in an orderly fashion, and when I know that there’s nothing else going to sneak up on me that I forgot to do. And thats before you get to the ‘being able to cross things off’ bit.

Yes, I know I’m sad. Last weekend, prompted by Pippa (sorry, not figured out links yet), we did this online Myers Briggs style personality test, surprisingly I came out as 100% judging (this being the ‘do you need to have everything organised or just go with the flow’ part). Hmm.

Anyway, the last few weeks, with service writing, working, job applications and so on, I’ve been going a little list-crazy. Since the last interview there have been no more applications. I had a month or so till the next service, and I thought I’d have a break from the ‘to do’ and just relax a bit. Hmm, not so much.

There’s this little matter of Christmas which just seems to be sneaking up on me, and the being away for it has meant all things like shopping and card writing are forced a little earlier. Although this year there’s the excitement of joint shopping and card writing, which just makes it all that little bit more fun! It makes it slightly harder cos of the living so far apart thing, working out where the presents end up, when/how/to who we write cards, and having to do all this earlier cos of only having weekends, but its fun nevertheless.

I’m not sure where I was going with this. I started feeling the need to vent about the lists and the many things that aren’t done on them. But then I seem to have got kinda distracted with the happy Christmas stuff (I think I shall be coming back to that, the next service I have is Advent Sunday).

Another reason why I like this blogging lark. I’ve managed to cheer myself up just by writing. Thank you for listening. Oh, and if you read any of that first bit and found yourself nodding and thinking ‘sure, that makes sense’, then you’re one too. I am sorry.

Checking in

Wow. Well here it is, brand new wibsite. Kinda feels like I should have something particular to say when posting here, at least for the first time.. sorry, no such luck today. I kinda just wanted to post to check it out!

Anyway, I’m sure some things have happened that are blog-worthy.

Since the last post I have;

-been to stay with the parents for a weekend with Chris, and bought a sofa. Well, ok, he did the buying of the sofa, and we don’t have it yet. And there’s the small matter of us not actually having a place together yet either. But hey, it was nice and comfy, and reduced, and its the first thing we’d decided we need when we do.

-preached another service, this time in a ickle methodist chapel outside of Shrewsbury, middle of farming country where I was warned that post-service conversations can be about pigs. Something tells me Oscar Romero wasn’t really the bit they latched on to. Although there was a young couple (NB this is rural methodism, for ‘young’ read 50’s) who were *very* enthusiastic- obviously something different went down well in some ways

-been to London (not for an interview!) at the weekend, done some Christmas shopping (woo hoo, get us!), been to visit a friend of mine who I’ve not seen for ages, and generally relaxed. Oh, and got a little freaked by a cat in the pulpit on Sunday. Slightly odd when the guy walked in with it, and the mewing made the rememberance day silence a little interesting. But when it was happily sitting on the pulpit while we had tea afterwards, I was a little concerned.

So there we are, thats me. I’m still here, promise.

Decisions.

What do you do…

…when you only have tonight, cos tomorrow and the night after you’re going to be up all night working. When you know you should get on with some of the things that need doing, cos then you’ll feel more productive come the end of the night/tomorrow. When you know you should make something good for you for dinner, cos you have food in the fridge and tomorrow and the night after you’re away and its going to be pub food.

But actually, if this is the time you get, then all the sensible ‘I should eat sensibly and get on with the to do list’ thinking isn’t really that tempting. What you really want to do is put a pizza in the oven, open a bottle of wine and put a film on.

The likelihood of situation A happening in comparison to situation B? Sometimes what you need to do is veg out. Maybe that should be on the to do list.