Thursday, 12 March 2015

Can we reboot, please ?

This year, that is. 

We knew we'd be losing my mum this year for a few months - which, not incidentally, has been behind my long silence.  What we did not expect is that we'd lose OH's mum first.  She passed away in January, a day before Niece the Elder's birthday.

We also did not expect to lose yet another property in the middle of the chaos, but that's exactly what happened, the vendors of our third attempt deciding that they did not want to move after all, after stringing us along for a couple of months.

Then Mum passed away, three days before my birthday.  In between packing up of MiL's life, rushing off to Croatia to send Mum off and support Dad, we found Property No.4, only to have those vendors pull out after being finding out they could not get a mortgage for their onward purchase.

At this point, I was very close to giving up - let it not be said I can not take a hint - after it's hammered in very forcefully, at least.  Then Property No.5 popped up, and all three of us found that we could still get excited about a house, so keep your fingers crossed for this one, would you ?

Something else good did happen a couple of days ago - Niece the Younger gave birth to a whopping 10lb daughter ;)  

But now Sir Terry is gone, too, and his books gave me so much joy over the last twenty years, it's hard to believe there'll never be another one now.  I feel like I have lost yet another family member :(

So can we reboot now, please ?  With vernal equinox, perhaps ?  Start afresh, and make it a touch better this time, pretty please - cos I is really rather tired now. 



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Going Nowhere Fast

Nope, not just this blog.  Apologies for neglecting it - and you all with it - but these past weeks have been a perfect example of what happened when you try to wade through treacle. Day after day after day.... 

In short - back at square one. Lost our buyer just as the school holidays started, which means the housing market has ground to a halt.  Had to reduce the price as comparable properties have come new on the market at a lower price, making us uncompetitively overpriced.  This in turn made our perfect house recede out of our reach - which may well be for the best, as the house turned out to be a repossession - which we were not too impressed about - not an issue necessarily if we knew it from the off, just do not like being lied to - and seeing as that house would have been uncomfortably stretching our finances from the outset.... Don't want history repeating itself, now do we ?

Anyway.  The time went on, the energy flowed sluggishly at best, the stress became just a tad too much, the fibromyalgia flared up.  Pulled myself through that, then the weather changed, another flare.

In the meantime, the house is getting decidedly grubby around the edges, and my life is seriously starting to lack focus.  Oh, it's only temporary, I know that.... But it's hard to avoid the whole "we should have been packed by now"  "by now we would have been exchanging contracts" "this could have been our completion date" trap. 

So, yesterday I gave myself a good talking to, and wrote out a list of all the massive deep-cleaning jobs that needed to be done - one I day, I reckoned, I'd be done by the end of the week.

Wrrrrong.  Breaking news, we have a viewer, next day at high noon.  So the evening, instead of our regular stroll down the fields, becomes a cleaning frenzy.  The house sparkles, how lovely.

Eleven o'clock today, and guess what ?  Viewing cancelled.

But hey, at least we have a nice clean house, right ?

I am also feeling the effect of my decision not to plant much in the way of veg this summer,  but to give over what growing space there is mostly to pretty flowers.  That means that I now have to buy courgettes.... But hey, we still have runner beans galore, thanks to a neighbour donating surplus plants - shame no one really likes them all that much.  What yellow French beans there were, we've eaten already.

It does mean though that the pretty bouquet (top given to me by my former colleagues on leaving has since been replaced with a number of home-grown, more modest, but equally pretty posies (example below).



Next year, I shall have a bigger garden - and I shall grow both cut flowers and veg.

I can hardly wait :o)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


... few weeks.  Since my last post, when all our ducks were all nice and neatly lined up in a row, we've been gazumped on the house we were buying; did our best impression of Goldilocks whilst viewing countless properties ("Too small"; "Too close to the road"; "Too far from the bus route"; "Too noisy"; "Too expensive"), until we finally found the perfect bowl of porridge - sorry, house - well, nearly perfect; it happened to be the "too expensive one".

Cue a week of stretching our finances to the utmost, trying our luck with a low offer; increasing the said offer; being pitted against two other offers, both at the (very, very high) asking price; and finally, having the offer accepted..... Unless someone comes in with a significantly higher one, when it will be back to square one.

Let's hope not, though - that bowl of porridge is ours. Nuff said ;o)

Now, frustrating as this saga is - was - a house is just a house, even when it's a beautiful perfect fabulous our house..... And the important things are still well, and still good.  The better half and yours truly celebrated eleven wonderful years together (I got the finances all lined up for the purchase of the porridge house as a present - isn't he good ? :o) );  DD had her taster day at college, and is feeling brave enough to go back in September - she says that yes, it was awkward, yes, it was stressful - but she knew it would be, and knew that these types of situations will never get better if she is never brave enough to leave her room - isn't she great ? :o) ....

And hey - only two more days at work !  Now, don't get me wrong, I liked the job, and will be sorry to be leaving the people behind - but I just can not physically do the job anymore, not if I'd also like to have some sort of life apart from the work.  Fibro - even on the Paleo diet - and hard physical work where you can not pace yourself but are paced by the demands of the job just do not mix.

No more turbulence for a little while now, though - I have had my fill.....

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Solstice Bells

It's that time of the year again. Midsummer. Longest day, shortest night. Summer solstice, first day of summer....   People dressing up as what they think Druids might have looked like and ushering the down in at Stonehenge (incidentally, one of the reasons I first travelled to UK was to see Stonehenge. Nineteen years on, I still haven't made it.), Neo-Pagans dancing in the altogether on Glastonbury Tor.... Okay, maybe not that one.
But you see my point, I trust - it's a special time of the year. Two solstices, two equinoxes (or as some would have it, equinoces, or even equinoctes), four touchpoints in a calendar year that are all about balance. and balance, in my life philosophy, is what it's all about.
So having established that I see the summer solstice and its three little friends as pretty important, it would logically follow that I make the effort to do something to mark the occasion.
Well, I do. Of course I do. If I didn't, there'd be no point to the post, would there ?
Every solstice, every equinox, what I do is.....
.... change our toothbrushes. 
Yep, you read it right.  You know how the dentists and other dental care professionals say you ought to change your toothbrush every three months ?  Well, I kept forgetting.  There's generally too much going on in any given three months for me to give the toothbrushes any thought from one use to another - and it's only when they started getting too tatty for comfort that I would try and remember when I last changed them.....

.... And failed.
So now I do it on solstices and equinoxes.  One of these comes around every three months, and there are scant chances of even someone as preoccupied as yours truly of forgetting them.
Mine's the pink one, btw.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

All Change

                                                          Paleo eating - mixed salad with squid rings.

Firstly, the Paleo diet is still going strong and is changing us both - the pounds are dropping off and the energy levels are rising.  I am walking a lot and reaching my 10K of steps most days....

Paleo eating - onion, mushroom and herb omelette with pumpkin seed salad.

.... and then there is DD, and her decision that she is ready to join the world again, and her application to study A Levels at college.  She had an interview yesterday - we are talking about pretty much the first public appearance, let alone a real-life conversation, in about two year - and has been offered a place.

...I've yet to see a bird in that birdbath....

I have handed in my notice at work, and have three weeks and a day left in the library - six and a half years, and I am ready to move on.  More than ready, in fact. 

Redecorated lounge

And all that work we did decorating and decluttering and getting the house ready to sell ?  It was worth it.  First viewer through the door fell in love with the place and offered the asking price - shortly afterwards, we offered on a house we've been eying up online for ages; viewed and struck off our list as being too much of a project; failed to find anything else meeting our requirements; decided that we will leave it to fate and, should we sell, no perfect house with every box ticked appeared, and this house was still on the market, we'd take it as meant to be and go for it -

                                                            The kitchen is never normally this tidy !

- and that's what happened. 

Dine in style

And you know what ?  I'm over the moon about it :o)  I am not even thinking of the house in its current dilapidated state - I see it as it's going to be when I've had my wicked way with it. 

Sweet dreams

Oh, and the garden - 120 ft of weedy wilderness with a little gated secret garden at the bottom.  I could not have dreamed it more perfect for us!

                                                                 My new garden !

So here we are - a few weeks to go, all being well, and it's go for new house, new town, new career and new educational opportunities.  Watch this space.....




We are on the move !

Sunday, 1 June 2014

School's Out

.... for summer !

Well, really it has been out for good ten days now.  Our year of home educating has drawn to a close with two weeks of AS Level exams, and now it's time for the long wait until we found out how well we've done.

Of course, the fact that I have been ill and that DD was therefore perhaps encouraged a bit too much to draw on her own resources means that, if she does well, it will be to her credit - and if she doesn't, I'll be to blame.  Somehow the division of praise or otherwise always seems to fall in the same pattern. Oh well :o)  I am just pleased we reached the end of another school year alive and well - and really, more well than any of us have been for a long, long time.

So, what's DD decided to do with her long summer holiday ?  She has all this time on her hands now, she says, so she might as well dedicate herself to becoming fluent in another language.  And in order to give herself the best chance to do succeed, she might as well concentrate on the language that she already has the best command of.  Which, in her case, would be what you might call her mother tongue.... Or at the very least, her mother's native tongue, Croatian.

Which is great. No really, it is :o)  But how come that, once again, she finds herself with all this time on her hands, so she decides to fill it by finding me summat else to do. Because, of course, the best possible way to become fluent in a language is to make the best possible use of the native speaker you have living under your roof.  So much for school being out for me....

But hey, looking at the bright side - this must say something about my teaching skills, the fact that she wants so spend her long holiday making good use of them.  Right ? 

In other news, the long weeks of getting the house market-ready have also drawn to a close, and we should be on the market some time next week.  The valuations so far have been more than we hoped - let's hope that the buyers agree !  And so starts the merry-go-round of viewers and viewings and, hopefully, in the not too distant future, surveys and solicitors and movers and packing and.... A new home :o) 

Never a dull moment here.  Not sure if that is a good thing or not.....

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Leaning Uncle

"It's not as festive, but is far more dominant - you can see it from every corner of the city, creeping into frame from the oddest angles, like an uncle who wants to get into every snapshot"

                                         ( Bill Bryson on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, "Down Under", 2000)

Okay, now hold that thought.

I know, I know, it's been way too long.  But you see - we've been on holiday, we came back, we got stuck into decorating and did the whole house, we went Paleo, we revised for exams,  and we are - well, DD is - about to sit the first one of those. Less than two weeks and it will all be over !

Incidentally, all the folks who told me that Paleo would really help my fibro ?  They were right.

So now that my facienda is utterly under control and things are being ticked off well before the deadline, I think I can finally get back to blogging.  What a lucky lot you are, eh ? :o)

I will leave you with a few snaps from our holiday. 

The Leaning Tower

Campo Dei Miracoli
The Baptistry

Museo Del Campo, Ground floor
Museo Del Campo, Top Floor
On our way to the Botanic Gardens
In the Botanic Gardens
The streets of Pisa
Hello again, Uncle !
I shall see you again soon, I hope, but in the meantime, be on your guard.....
..... and don't even blink.