Thursday, 30 October 2014

Moving Day Plus One

At 6pm last night after a twelve and a half hour day of sheer physicality and a good bit of noggin work. I surrendered and scurried to my new home, the campsite.  Yay! I parked the motorhome there earlier in the day so it was waiting to welcome me .  I brought beer and fish and chips to celebrate.  There's still about a couple of hours work left at Lovelygrey Cottage before I give the keys back to the letting agents. Then there's a van and a teeny Skoda to sort out.  Both my vehicles look as if they're inhabited by a crazed kleptomaniac.  Okay,  I exaggerate when it comes to the motorhome  (not the car!) but I'm really not a completely happy bunny unless things are in order. Salty Dog messaged me to ask how things  were going and see if I was enjoying myself.  I have to say that I'm not there yet  on the fun stakes but once everything is nice and shipshape I'm sure life will be good for me and the boy.

I know you lovely people want to see my pimped van but you'll have to be patient.  Let me get it to a rare few seconds of showhome gorgeousness before I do that. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments recently. They mean a lot to me.  Apologies that I haven't been replying as I might but, as I've been saying at work recently, I haven't got a broomstick up my arse.  Maybe this is  a totally valid solution to my multi-tasking needs! 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Into the Metaphorical Sunset

Today's the day!  In about eight hours time Lovelygrey Cottage will be emptied of my possessions and those that  aren't in the van or haven't been recycled, gifted and loaned to friends will be heading off into storage. Lord knows how that will be achieved. There's still a bit to pack from the kitchen and the spare room has not really been touched.  There's also a big IKEA shelf unit that I'm darned if I know how to dismantle.   I'm sure those removal dudes will have come across people that are way less organised than me.  At least I hope that's the case. The only thing for it is to have faith that it will all come out in the wash.

The end  of a very hectic and strenuous few days, that has left every part of my body aching, is in sight.   But I'm not quite there yet. There's lots of cleaning to do including shampooing carpets.  I'm hoping to get that all done today but Thursday evening's been kept free in case it doesn't pan out and I collapse with exhaustion before this day has ended. There were troops who offered their services but I shooed them away.  My stubborn independent streak will serve me well into old ladydom.  I've seen plenty of feisty biddy imbued with the same admirable spirit. But perhaps I should  learn to accept a bit of help when it's proffered.

Tonight will be the first spent on what will be my main home for the next few months.  Pitch 42 is on a great campsite.  And its flat.  No need for my wheel chocks then!  So let's finish with a  dreadful musical pun.   I was more an indie girl and never a jazz funk fan but this very danceable song with great lyrics from my '80s youth that I rather like with do the trick.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A Bit Rude

This moving lark and the fact that everything has gone ultra-mad at work is making me grumpy. I like life to be simple and it's sure not that way at the moment.  I'm missing Lou as well.  In one sense it's good that he's in Portugal with his dad, seemingly spending most of his waking hours in the villa's hot tub. His absence and lack of childcare responsibility makes clearing the house easier.  But on the other hand there's no sharing snuggles, chocolate and childish giggles.  It'll be so good to have him home at the weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I'd cheer myself up writing about something that tickled us pink at work. You need to leave now if you're easily offended.  The rest of this post talks about a naughty body part.

I was writing up a particularly tricky assessment the other day when my deep concentration was interrupted by Mr Metrosexual. He has a habit of doing this.  'Have you heard of anal bleaching?' he asked.  I thought that he was having me on but it's a procedure that really does exist.  Look it up on Wikipedia if you don't believe me.  There you'll find the before and after shots that I really couldn't bring myself to put on my own blog.

Apparently some people are extremely upset that the skin around their black passage is dark.  Me, I haven't a clue what colour mine is.  It could be orange with white spots, a bit like Nemo, for all I know.  That probably wouldn't be a good thing but I'm not going to get busy with a mirror for research purposes. I'll take a chance it's fine.   My little gang considered whether we could easily supplement our NHS pay with an additional cosmetic services.  We'd just need to pop over to the Co-op and the nice little garden shop opposite to equip ourselves with a couple of bottles of Domestos and a bit of hose.  After all, how hard could the procedure be for a bunch of nurses and a butter fingered occupational therapist to follow?

On a serious note this revelation has got me thinking a bit more deeply. The inside of some people's heads must be in a dreadful empty state.  When there's beauty, suffering, love and loss, the great mysteries of the universe and what will be really good for tea to contemplate, why are some of my fellow humans preoccupied with the hue of their arses?   Isn't there so much more to life?

Monday, 27 October 2014

A Bit of Wondering

Ah, Searching for Sugar Man!  Now there's an interesting movie with a great soundtrack.  It's about Rodriguez, a bloke who sold about nine copies of his album in the US and was just about to disappear into musical oblivion.  But then one of the records ended up being taken to South Africa, got passed round and, as they say today, went viral, no doubt, before that term even existed.  My Afrikaans friend confirmed that the songs became anthems of the anti apartheid era.

Well, that's my little diversion for the day.  Hope you enjoy the tune which has nothing to do with the post. What I'm toying with at the moment, in that busy little noggin of mine, is life in the van, and specifically about the amount of  stuff I've put in there.  I'm thinking back to arriving at the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail with a rucksack full of what I thought were necessities.  Four days later, at the first opportunity, I shed about seven pounds of load, then a bit more at intervals as the weeks left on, until I was left with just what I really needed. Unlike some people there was always a book and I kept a full length handle on my toothbrush. Some weight savings are a step way too far!

What I'm wondering is if my experience of living in the motorhome will be the same.  At the moment the wardrobe is crammed full and somehow the fondue set that went on a weekend trip with me has remained in situ.  Surely I don't need all that stuff!  Wouldn't life be better if I embraced a bit more simplicity.  After all, possessions come with responsibility.  I know that.

In the next few weeks I'll get used to full time van living and work out what I really need and want. Even more trips to the charity shop are envisaged.  Those guys have done well out of me.  I thought that I was thrifty but the act of giving so many things away is making me re-evaluate what I spend money on yet again.  I'm thinking that perhaps, to concentrate on more important things, my material world needs to be much, much simpler.

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Photo: John Salter

Ha! Craft Kerry thought she knew what I was going to blog about today.  For I was eulogising over a new handheld electrical device.  How I've survived without an electric screwdriver for the first forty nine years of my life I'll never know!

You might have got a full blog post raving about my new £6.99 piece of kit were it not for the fact that yesterday, on the way to the recycling centre, I spotted something that I've passed before hundreds of times. Crawling through Newton Abbot at the pace of a particularly sluggish snail, I noticed what was on top of the war memorial for the very first time.   Here is the very gorgeous Victory, breaking free from her chains, complete with Hercules bomber giving her a lovely fly past salute. As I go for a bit of metaphor big time, this girl spoke volumes to me. At this time of transition she represents what I feel is going on in my life.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Best Crack On!

As I write, my son is heading up to Bristol Airport to catch a flight to Portugal where he's spending a half term holiday with his dad.   He came round to say farewell and tap me for Euros yesterday evening. And Salty Dog  is disturbing my blogging. She's brought me a big cup of tea and has joined me in bed for a chat.  We've covered the woeful state of the stock market, self employment as a consultant and secondhand motorhome tyres already!

We had a terribly girly time last night that included feasting on  leftovers, drinking wine and dancing.around the living room.  It'll  be the last bit of R'n'R in the few days left before my monumental move. Once I've dispatched my friend after filling her tummy with eggs and yummy cheesy jalapeno bread,  I've got a frightning to do list as long as my arm to tackle.  This is just a small portion of it. So there's no more time for lounging around. Let's get on with it!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Mastering Those Discounts

I forget I am a student for, like some of my compatriots, I do not have a weird fascination with nicking traffic cones and road signs. Nor do I chat up boys in the Student Union bar.  In fact I don't chat up boys anymore full stop, much to the annoyance of Reiki Ray.  He is adamant that I need to get out there immediately and find my soulmate, whom, he insists that he's been having psychic chats with. Blimey! I couldn't make this up if I tried.  Even though Ray operates on a higher plane, he is also as mad as a box of frogs and I'm ignoring him.  Far too busy with house move, essay and making sure that my son stays on the straight and narrow.  If however Prince Charming is out there and feels that Ray's been having a chat do let me know.  Just make sure it's after I've moved into the motorhome though!

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, being a student.  Blue Light, my manager, who's never happier than when dealing with emergency call outs, got funding for his own Master's degree at the same time as I secured mine. He told me about the NUS Extra Scheme.  I'm entitled to membership even though I am a part-time distance learner.  For a payment of £12 a year, my Spotify subscription will drop down from ten quid to a fiver, there's a 10% discount at the Co-op and another 5% at Amazon.  With it, I can also get 11% off an 18-25 railcard. Apparently I can even get one of those as well even though I'm twenty four years over the official age limit. Result!  I've added an international ISIS card and memberships to the international student group ISIS, and   Gourmet Society for small sums when buying the card.  I'm quite interested in the discount from ATS Euromaster on tyres as well. It's been pointed out that the motorhome's going to need some soon and that's a scary economic prospect as they're big bastards.

I think I've demonstrated that it's well worth checking your entitlement to discounts based on student status.  There's also savings to be had for  people entitled to benefits and in certain professional groups including us lot in the NHS.  Go seek out what you're entitled to. You may be pleasantly surprised!