Thursday, 11 December 2003

Old News - Newsletter December 2003

I am very settled into my new home, and most of the decorating is complete, although I still seem to spending plenty of money on it! I went ahead with a new bathroom last month, and I am thrilled with the results – very light and clean and classy. I have ordered new carpets for January, and have started looking at curtains… this homemaking thing is expensive but fun! I’m very happy with it anyway, and walking through the front door lifts my spirits. It’s small, but cosy and comfortable, and all MINE. Fabulous. I’m now frantically trying to finish painting the skirting boards before the new carpets come!

Work is going well, and we are busy with a new release of our main product. It’s nice to be busy for a change ;-). Things are winding down for Xmas of course, but there is still enough to make the day speed past. I’m still happy working here, and the team is great.

I’m still single, and loving it. I’ve made friends with a couple of girls from work, and some girls in my walking club, who live near me, so I have people to go for a drink with locally at last. Actually, I’ve had to avoid my walking club for a while, as my ex who belongs to it has been harassing me, and he goes on all the walks and to all the socials. Luckily there are about 7 other groups in the area that I can also walk with, so it’s not stopping me walking! I joined another group last Sunday for a 10-mile walk, and had a lovely time. (Luckily it was an easy walk, as I haven’t walked since Sicily! My dodgy knee was a bit sore the next day, but not too bad.)

This Xmas is going to be quiet, as I’m broke and all my mates seem to be busy doing family duties or are in SA. My Mom has now moved to the Isle of Mann, and I can’t afford to get there for Xmas, so we had a little early Xmas celebration before she left, with crackers and hats and all the goodies ;-). On Xmas Eve I will be joining some friends for a festive evening and sleep over, and then I plan to have a nice day at home in front of the fire recovering! I’m really looking forward to it.

Friday, 31 October 2003

Old News - Newsletter October 2003

Things have been pretty mad since my house purchase went through, and I have spent the last couple of weeks doing DIY with Mom and B. Nothing too major, just repainting and a new kitchen floor, but it is still amazing how much effort it takes! Then there is the packing, dismantling, moving etc. And the buying of furniture… this homemaking is an expensive exercise! It’s a lot of fun having a place that is all my own at last though, and being able to rip up floors or repaint ;-). I am looking into replacing the bathroom too, but that might have to wait until I have some money again! I will be moved in properly from today. My fridge and washing machine came on Tuesday, and my lounge suite comes next week. Lotsa fun! I've chosen a warm bright palette of colours for my little home, and the place feels lovely and cosy, especially as it is well below freezing most nights now.

I am single again. Things went pear-shaped with The Dour Scot in Sicily, and although I managed to make it back without breaking up (a first for me, perhaps) it was definitely on the rocks from that point, and is now over. At least it means I don’t have to go to Edinburgh for his family gathering over xmas, which I was dreading! Speaking of which, is anyone doing anything interesting at Xmas and New Year, as I might be at a loose end?

Apart from bloke difficulties Sicily was great. The weather was hot and humid, and the scenery fantastic. We spent a day walking on lava fields around Etna, and walked on the lip of a couple of craters, which are still smoking! The rest of the time was spent walking up and down mountains. Unfortunately I seem to have wrenched my knee on the first day, and it got progressively more painful with each day’s hike. I ended up only doing 3 walks out of 5, but was quite happy to go off sightseeing instead ;-).

Since then I have had a couple of dinner parties, and have spent some time with D and T who are sadly heading back to SA. We all went to Bath for a weekend, which was lovely as always. T and I have finalized our plans for New Zealand next year, and have bought our tickets for March. Hopefully I will have some funds again by then!

Mom and B are with me again at the moment, while they decide what to do next. They’ll be going to stay with B’s sister soon though, as my new home is a bit too small! In the meantime we’re having lots of fun redecorating ;-)! I get home each night to a pair of creaking and bruised people!

Wednesday, 24 September 2003

Old News - Newsletter September 2003

My house buying is progressing slowly. I can't wait to get into my new home and start customizing it! Of course it is autumn here so I won't be able to do much in the garden except plant bulbs and perhaps remove a large conifer that takes up most of it. I hope to move in next month, but I don't have a date yet. Then I have to get a washing machine, fridge, lounge suite... it's going to be an expensive time!

Work is ok. We are tweaking the product, which is in beta testing at the client. So things are mostly laid back, especially for me, as I don't have much to do. A bit boring in fact... there doesn't seem to be a middle ground!

The Dour Scot is still treating me well, spoiling me in fact; it's nice to be on a pedestal again after so many years ;-). We've been together for about 6 weeks now, and are still happy. I think I'm falling in love, and it's rather nice. A bit scary too after being independent for a long time, and some days I miss being selfish. Just call me fussy!

Things have been pretty busy, and I look forward to the occasional early night. I’ve had work do’s, a Lord of the Rings movie marathon at T and J’s, J and D’s housewarming, an open BBQ at The Dour Scot, R and S’s birthday river trip, C’s farewell, a couple of pub quizzes and various nights out. And there are many other people I just haven’t had a chance to see – we should remedy that ;-).

I haven't done much walking lately, as life is getting in the way. In fact, I think the last proper walk I went on was on the August bank holiday, nearly a month ago! This coming weekend I am off to Sicily with some of the walking group, including The Dour Scot, for a walking week. I'm a little worried that I'm unfit, but it looks like it is hot there so that should even things out as these Rooinekke can't handle the heat. I also plan to take a couple of days off from walking to go sightseeing, as there is some fab stuff to see... why not? It’s already paid for, so what I actually do is up to me!

The diet is going surprisingly well, considering that I don’t stick to it much and I’ve been slack with exercise! Perhaps it just keeps me in check, as I haven’t lost or gained anything over the past 4 weeks. I am now 1kg above where I finally want to be, which is fine, and I have lost a total of 5kg. My bum has shrunk the most, although it’s been an allover thing. All my trousers are now too baggy, and I’m going to have to go shopping soon ;-) hee hee.

What else? I’m slowly beginning to pack, and I’m going through cupboards doing a clearout. Although my last move was only a year ago, so there isn’t much to discard yet. I’m giving away most of my furniture as it’s too big to fit in the new home, and have found takers for most of it. My Mom should be back around the middle of next month, and I’m hoping she can find an alternative storage place for all her stuff, as I can’t keep it. I’m also hoping she’ll help me pack and move! Bleah – I am so tired of moving! This will be my eighth move in 5 years. Hopefully the last for a bit though.

Friday, 22 August 2003

Old News - Newsletter August 2003

Guess what? I am actually having an exciting life at the moment! I have a new boyfriend, and I’ve just bought a house.

In order of expense ;-), my new man is The Dour Scot. He’s 37, Scottish, an IT project manager, lives and works in Bracknell (where I currently live), has his own home and car, is just under 6 foot, blondish and blue eyed, and has a lovely strong chin. Nice bum too. But that might be more than enough info for now… We met on the walking weekend I went on recently. He’s a member of my hiking club, which is great, but not into peak bagging, which is greater. Finally, someone who walks at my level! We really seemed to click on the weekend, and since then have got along like a house on fire. This could be the real thing – hold thumbs for me!

And the house… for those of you in SA it’s not really a house, because it is attached to others. It’s something they call a back-to-back terrace, where you have a quarter of a building. I have a strip of front garden open to the road outside the lounge (where I can have flowers and bird table), and a piece of back garden which is fenced off on its own and reached down a short alley (for braais and sunbathing). On the ground floor I have a small but airy lounge with a gas fireplace, and a little kitchen with a tiny breakfast bar. On the first floor is the bathroom and bedroom with built in cupboards. All rooms face west, so I’ll get afternoon sun. It’s a lot less than I am now renting, but at least I will get onto the property ladder. In a few years time I may be able to afford something bigger. My monthly expenses will hopefully drop in the meantime, as my current rent is barely affordable.

The house is in a village called Thatcham, which is west of Reading. It’s on the same train line as my workplace in Theale, and I will be able to walk to the station. There is a direct train to London Paddington, and it is a fast trip to Reading too. It’s also right next to the Kennet and Avon Canal, so I might be able to cycle along it to work when the mood takes me (once a summer). The village centre is walkable, and has some lovely old houses and a flint church, and a good selection of shops and pubs. I have bought in a newish area, so it’s very quiet and residential, but not too many kids in my street as the houses are small.

What else? Work is incredibly boring, as we are testing and installing at the client. I have made the mistake of writing no bugs in my software, so now I have nothing but documentation to do until we start new work. Bleah.

I have not been exercising much lately, as we had a bit of a heatwave (broke the UK record of 37deg or something). I am hiking more than usual though ;-). The diet is all over the place as my social life picks up, but I lost 2kg on the walking weekend and have been holding steady since – I am now 2kg off my goal weight! I started a jigsaw a couple of weeks ago, and haven’t touched it since, or watched any TV. The moment I get some free time I will have a bash at sketching again… or try and finish the book I started over a week ago.

Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Old News - Newsletter July 2003

Work is starting to come back to normal now, and we’re cutting back on the weekend work, so I am more inclined to boot up my PC when I get home and catch up on correspondence. So I’ll be writing back to those sweet souls who have been mailing into the void – and chasing up those who’ve as been as bad as me!

I have also balanced my budget on aforementioned PC for the first time in a month, and remembered why I normally do it more often. Last month got completely out of hand! I will be starting August in the red, and will have to curtail my London visits for a bit – wah! I have the next couple of weekends organised to go away too, which doesn’t help the budget either. Sigh – it’s going to be a long month. If anyone fancies visiting me for a cheap dinner or barbeque, c’mon over! I’ll even throw in a nice country walk for free. Or bring your cozzie and sunbathe in my pretty garden – sound good? You know you want to!

Next weekend I am heading to France with J and T to pick up booze and go to a cheese festival. They have friends near Liseux, with whom we will be staying. I’m really looking forward to it. The weekend after that I am going away with my walking club to the Wye Valley. We’ll be walking on the Saturday, followed by a medieval dinner in an old castle converted to a YHA!

As I mentioned, work is calming down. We missed the deadline, so I don’t know the bonus story. Seeing as I not yet ever received a bonus in my working life (unless you count redundancy payments), this does really affect me much as I wasn’t exactly banking on it. It would probably have only gone into the House fund anyway. Yes, that’s right, I’m thinking of launching into real debt for the first time later this year. I finally feel secure enough in my job, and settled enough in the UK, to think of buying property. Very scarey! Of course I can only afford a tiny place, but at least it will be mine.

What else? I’ve got the diet back on track (with the spectacular exception of this last weekend!), started exercising again, done a little sketching and finished Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I hope to get back into book reading, as I’ve become a little too hooked on TV. My Mom has been gone for just over a week, and I’ve almost remembered how to cook and clean again!

Still nothing on the boyfriend front, but I’m starting to get restless. I think the hermit phase might be drawing to a close, although I’m determined to be ultra-picky with the next one. So don’t hold your breath, as I haven’t seen anything worth perving lately, never mind to take home!

Friday, 4 July 2003

Old News - Newsletter July 2003

The past few weeks have been kinda hectic in a very uninteresting way. We are approaching our live deadline for the project at work, and everyone is working long hours and weekends. I have worked through the last two weekends, which makes it 19 days working without a break now. And some of the guys have missed more weekends than that! I don’t know how they do it. I am very glad I had such a relaxing holiday recently, as I am knackered in spite of it! There was a large bonus riding on us meeting a deadline last Monday, and as far as I can tell we missed it. So now they’ve moved the money incentive to the live date in 3 weeks time. This means we are expected to continue to work unpaid overtime until then… sigh. The worst part is that I really don’t have that much to do – my sections are finished or still untested, so I don’t even have bugfixing to do. I am picking up bugs to fix for other people, which is pretty deadly. In spite of this I am still expected to work late, and there are mutterings if I leave on time. Not a happy bunch at the mo – it’s going to be a long 3 weeks!

We’ve been given this weekend off (big whoop), and I am catching up with as many people as possible. I haven’t seen any of my mates since before Turkey! I’ve decided it doesn’t matter if I’m tired at work at the moment, and I’ll be trying to see people after work during the week as weekends are a bit of a mess. Who’s free?

Mom and B are still with me. They went to Spain for a week recently to give me some space – unfortunately in the week I was working very late – but I still had a breather! As the housekeeper market is proving a bit tough, and will be closing down completely over the summer, they are considering going to SA for a few months to eke out their money while being out of my hair. I don’t have a mother; I have a yoyo.

Well, no other news as I have done nothing but work since my last email. Booooring! My diet is shelved, my exercise doesn’t happen, I haven’t touched a sketchpad in months, and I can’t make the weekend hikes. Make that boring and fat! Whenever we work late we get free takeaways – I have eaten more junk food in the last 3 weeks than I did in the last 3 years!

Friday, 13 June 2003

Old News - Newsletter June 2003

I have just come back after a week in Turkey, sailing along the South West coast. Just me and 6 other single strangers, lolling in the sun, swimming in the sea and generally chilling out. It was lovely, and I strongly recommend it for a break in the sun. I did get a little restless after a couple of days though, and I probably would have preferred just a couple of days on the boat, and some more time spent sightseeing inland… but that’s just me! There are very few beaches, as the coast is extremely mountainous and plunges straight down into the sea, so I was limited to the boat most of the time.

I was very lucky with my boatload. The average age was 50, and there was no one I really clicked with, but they were very nice people. 3 other women and 3 men - all very independent, but not too pushy. No romances on board, although the other women seemed to be setting a pulling record with the locals and tourists. Not my scene, but fun to watch! The Brits deserve their reputation!

My day generally consisted of breakfast (fresh bread and honey, olives, cheese and salad), then an hour or two of sunbathing, a swim in the sea, then reading my book in the shade of an awning and a snooze before lunch (yummy traditional fare with lots of rice, bread, couscous and salad). More swimming and snorkelling and snoozing in the shade before having a shower before dinner (freshly caught fish, or barbequed kebabs, and more rice and salad). Several beers and a few games of backgammon, then stretching out in a sleeping bag on deck for some philosophical chat and falling asleep under the most amazing sky. Very sweet.

We were also in harbour for three nights, and then we’d go bar-hopping after dinner. I wasn’t wearing a watch and was startled to realise one night that I’d been dancing until 4am! I sure haven’t done that in a while! The next day I was not very well, but seeing that things were not demanding it was ok ;-). I found the Turkish to be very friendly and polite, and I felt perfectly safe wandering around town alone at the crack of dawn. I would not choose to stay in a resort town, but it’s very lively if you’re in the mood!

On two days I had the opportunity to head inland for a bit of sightseeing. I went to see a stunning deep gorge with meltwater gushing below a precarious walkway suspended from the cliff wall. On another day I went to see some famous mudbaths, where you immerse yourself in glutinous mud, let it dry, shower and then soak in a revolting sulphur bath. I’m pretty sure it is a conspiracy to see what tourists will do if you tell them it’s traditional!

That is the first holiday I have ever taken on my own. I quite enjoyed it, although it was a little lonely at times. It would have been nice to have someone to gossip about the others with! On the other hand I was completely free to do what I wanted to do, in my own time. Pretty cool. Now I’m itching to see Istanbul!

At home things are a little unsettled. My Mom has quit her job in the Dales and moved in with me, bringing her boyfriend B. It’s a longish story, but effectively he’d sold his house and was going to move in with her in the housekeepers flat, when the owners suddenly decided the staff have to be single! Seeing as the butler has had his girlfriend and their children living with him for the last six months this was a bit rich! Mom and B are now looking for work as a couple, and hopefully will be back on their feet soon. There is a rumour of a post in the Lake District, which would be nice! Luckily B and I get on OK, but it is still a little trying to have others in my little home. Although the cooking, washing, ironing, mowing etc is all getting done!

My routine has been suspended for the time being. I’m in Buffy withdrawal! Mom and B are going to be away for a week soon, and I plan to watch as many episodes as possible while they’re gone! And maybe do some more sketching – I actually sat down and did a bit a couple of weeks ago. One was stunning, and the next not great, but I am gaining confidence.

I went along to a club walk a few weeks ago, bit it was a bit of a disaster! I’d given blood the day before, and it was just like trying to hike at high altitude. Except that at high altitude everyone else is also struggling! After the first hill I was seeing spots with my lungs were on fire, so I gave up and turned back. I actually had a fair walk, as we had taken a lift to the start, and the cars were about 4 miles away. At least it was flat. I also met a lost chap who’d been at an open-air all-night rave nearby and had missed his lift home. He was walking to the nearest train station 10 miles away, so I gave him a lift once we reached my car. It was nice to have someone to walk with anyway!

Wednesday, 30 April 2003

Old News - Newsletter April 2003

I've had a rather nice month or so since I last wrote. Every weekend except the last one was spent visiting someone! This past weekend I was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home catching up on chores and sleep, and then got completely flattened by a cold... I managed the sleep part anyway! I really did want to go for a walk with my walking club too, as I have only been once and that was 6 weeks ago now. Ah well, maybe next time.

Lets see... about 4 weeks ago I drove through to N and N's in East Croydon on the Friday, and had a lovely evening of far too much food and wine. After a lazy start on Saturday we beetled off for a gentle walk along bridal paths and then a pub lunch, and then went back home for more wine and DVD's. On the Sunday I wended my way home to catch up on some gardening and so on.

The next Saturday I travelled to Hertford to stay with R and S. They took me for a super long walk in the surrounding countryside, and then a drink at their local. And then we had an evening of wine and DVD's. I'm seeing a theme here... And on the Sunday I shot home to catch up on more gardening and some sleep!

The following Friday I went into London and stayed with J and T. We went out for Vietnamese, which could be my latest food passion, and were joined by R and N. The end of the evening is very fuzzy... The following morning we had a slow start, and then T and I went into Bayswater and had a superb shopping spree. I hadn't actually meant to buy anything, but retail therapy is contagious! We had a great day, including Dim Sum for lunch and popping into most shops in Bayswater and Whiteleys. A lovely girly day - I haven't had one of those in a very long time! I caught the train home in the afternoon to - you guessed it - have some sleep and do housey stuff.

Then there was Easter, and I travelled to my Mom's in North Yorkshire. It is either 5 hours driving or 5 hours on the train, and as I hate long-distance driving I took the train. That was pretty much ok, except I had to go via London which is a bit of a pain. Anyway, I had a great 5 days with my Mom, involving lots of food and wine, a little walking, some sightseeing and non-stop chatter. A really nice break. Next time I might drive though, as I'd rather go direct from door to door than lift-train-tube-train-lift at each end!

As you might have noticed I am having fun with my garden. All the bulbs I planted last year came up - I currently have tulips and bluebells up! I've been growing things from seed and seedlings on my windowsills for the past few months, and gradually planting them out into pots, troughs and beds. I planted out linaria (sp?), geraniums and impatiens the week before last, and have now just planted out sweetpeas to grow on the fence. Luckily my garden is actually quite tiny by SA standards (about 4m by 10m I guess) so it's not too much of a bother. And not too bad to mow the lawn either! I'm having loads of fun, as this is really my first garden ever. I think when I buy a place it is going to have to have a garden or huge patio to play with ;-).

Hmm, what else. The weeks are pretty quiet, and I have settled into a routine in the evenings which is quite full. I'm addicted to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", which I am borrowing from a work mate, so I get home, change into gym togs and do a 40min workout on my cross-trainer in front of the TV watching an episode. Then shower, prepare dinner, and while it is cooking I do some jigsaw or email with a G&T. Then eat, while watching another episode. Then it is usually after 9pm, so I retire to bed with my book and read until about 10. I have never been so unstressed, rested and healthy! It probably sounds pretty dull to most of you (especially the ones with social lives), but at the moment it suits me! I'm hoping to get into a bit of sketching in place of the jigsaw now that the evenings are so light, but to be honest I'm scared! I just know that the first few attempts will be depressingly bad, so I'm avoiding it!

I met up with my neighbour the other day for a pub meal. She's a 50 something single-mum teacher, so we don't have very much in common! It was a pleasant evening though, and we have tentative plans to grab a movie sometime. I'm a little short of girlfriends in this neck of the woods, so it would be nice to make a new friend. Another reason to go for another walk with my club too!

Work is going really well. Now that I am happy in my job I realise that I have been unhappy for years! I can't actually get used to looking forward to going to work! It is amazing ;-). They seem to like me too, and I have hit my first deadline so far (and got a little bonus for it - woohoo!). I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship!

That's about it. The weather is warmish, wettish and sunnyish - perfect April and good for the garden.

Friday, 7 March 2003

Old News - Newsletter March 2003

Well, I am about a week into my new job. It’s not very exciting so far, as I am just reading documentation and manuals – really stupefying stuff.

I’m working with a slightly odd bunch of people, although they’re quite fun. Have you ever wondered what happened to the pale soft-bodied nerds in class who spent all their spare time playing computer games and watching Buffy? Well, they’ve grown up into balding pale soft-bodied blokes, who spend all their free time playing computer games online and watching Buffy DVDs, and work with me during the day. (And my line manager has worn a purple shirt every day since I started – I’m not sure what that means, but no-one else has mentioned it so I don’t know if I should!) The first hour of each day seems to be devoted to rehashing gaming strategy and last night’s kills, and the rest of the day involves a lot of non-pc banter. I’m not sure when work gets done, but anyway. At least everyone seems happy, which is a huge change from the last place I worked! My work is in one of those soulless business parks, but the pretty little village of Theale is very close by, and the Kennet and Avon Canal is 10 min away. I had a lovely walk along it yesterday at lunchtime.

Hmm what else? I have just worked out my budget taking into account my drop in income, and realised with horror that I’ll be netting £300 less per month, and now my rent is more than a third of that amount. So my recreation is going to involve low-cost pursuits if possible from now on. I have just joined the local Rambling association and intend to go along on one of their Sunday walks very soon. Hopefully this will help me meet some locals (who actually step away from the computer sometimes). The days are getting longer, and the clocks change at the end of the month and then I will have enough daylight after work to do some walking or cycling or gardening or sketching (I struggle to draw by artificial light). I was thinking of signing up for lessons in something, but now I am broke!

There is a direct train from where I work in Theale to Paddington and it takes an hour, so if any Londoners are planning stuff during the week give me a shout. I may not be able to afford to come every time, but I will try! And if anyone fancies a breath of country air you have a standing invite – bring your walking shoes!

Friday, 28 February 2003

Old News - Newsletter February 2003

I start work on the 3rd March. That suits me, and gives me a whole month 'off' before hitting the treadmill again! Very very nice, especially as my Mom is staying with me at the moment. She's just landed a job in the Yorkshire Dales, and starts in a couple of weeks, so we're having fun spending money we *will* have!

Florence was an interesting trip. The town is lovely, and the artwork stunning, but unfortunately 5 days living solidly with Northerner brought an abrupt end to a fading relationship. He's a lovely guy, but not for me perhaps... A great pity, but I hope he finds someone more suited.

That's about it really. I'm free now at weekends if anyone is doing anything interesting! And my new job location is more convenient for travelling into London easily I think, so please start inviting me for pub-quizzes and dinners again - I am back in society again!

Saturday, 8 February 2003

Old News - Newsletter February 2003

After nearly two months of searching I have finally landed a job!

It's just West of Reading, and takes about half an hour to get to from where I live, so I don't have to move, which is brilliant. I'll get to see my bulbs come up in the garden!

It's a Delphi developer position, in a tight-knit and friendly company, who seem to work flat-out in a structured way - just what I was looking for. They're using the latest versions of everything, and have already told me I'll be starting off with loads of training to come up to speed. If you know anything about IT you'll know this is rather unusual!

The money is a bit less than I was getting at my last job, but still well within market rates. I start in two weeks, and I'm quite excited! I'll be their fifth South African too, so we're slowly taking over the civilised world.

I haven't been up to much else, as I was battening down the hatches in anticipation of a long homeless job search. My Dad has gone home to SA and now my Mom is staying with me while she looks for housekeeper work. We've always enjoyed living together, so it's rather cool to be unemployed together! We've done plenty of walking around the area, which is quite rural and lovely if you haven't been to see me yet.

It was T and J's wedding two weeks ago, at which I had the honour of being bridesmaid with H and L. It was absolutely glorious and went like clockwork, and the reception was a jol. Definitely the wedding to measure others by ;-). T and J get back from Honeymoon in Thailand and Singapore tomorrow, and I'm sure their photos will make me green with envy!

I've had a most annoying cold for two weeks now (caught at the wedding I think!), which was completely debilitating for the first week and has had me coughing like a seal for the second. It is finally on the way out though, and I hope to get back into the gym on Monday. My interview suits were decidedly tight!

I'm being taken to Florence for Valentine's weekend by Northerner, and I'm really looking forward to it! Eat your hearts out girls! I'll post my own envy-making photo's when I get back :-p.

Hmm what else? I'm about to make up for the last two month's frugality with a terrific shopping spree... whee!

Wednesday, 15 January 2003

Old News - Newsletter January 2003

Happy New Year!

I had a lovely festive season. For Christmas Eve and Day Northerner and I went to my cousin’s in Reading, and it was extremely pleasant. On Boxing Day we drove north to spend a few days with his family, which was remarkably painless. For New Years Eve we met up with a bunch of friends in a Turkish restaurant in London, and had a very good time. Possibly the best New Years Eve I’ve had for years! The hangover the next day was a corker too…

There is not too much going on with me, otherwise. My Dad is visiting at the moment, which is very nice. I haven't had him to myself for such a long stretch in years, and he's keeping himself busy sorting out my car and furniture! I have cut right back on unnecessary spending in the expectation of being unemployed, so I’m not doing anything exciting! Long walks in the country followed by a beer while defrosting in front of a pub fire seems to be the extent of our extravagance at this time! My home is right on the edge of a 15-mile ramblers route, and I’ve worked out a 2-hour circular bit of it that ends up at my local pub… superb!

We had a bit of snow last week, which hung about for several days before finally melting. Very pretty – just like all the movies you see of American winters. It does make driving rather hair-raising though, and I was happy to see it melt off the roads! It was also really cold, with highs of freezing! It has warmed up again now though, and the high today is 8 degrees. Nice and mild…

I have no new job yet, but I am still at the fussy stage. If I get desperate there is work out there, but for now I'm holding on waiting for the dream job! I am going for a second interview this week for a job I really want, so hold thumbs! There is not much else out there right now, but I’m hoping jobs will start appearing as the year gets properly underway.

My present job is winding down, with us simply handing over all our work to the poor sod that’ll be maintaining it. Most of us are working half days, as there isn’t much to do.