Sunday, October 29, 2006

a weekend of opposites

On Saturday morning, battling a slight hangover, we headed out to Crawley for Nig and Paul’s 30th birthday and an afternoon go-karting. We donned our boiler suits, pulled on gloves and helmets and set off around the track, adrenaline getting rid of my hangover at almost the same speed as the go-kart.

On the second run I
found myself in a four kart pile up which left me with a twisted and swollen ankle and a bruise on my left thigh which anyone would be proud of. A day later it is black and purple and spreading with ferocity across my leg. But it wasn't over yet, through my steamed glasses I saw the others zoom around the track and was surprised that the fast rate I was going was nothing in comparison. I was lapped and lapped again and found that the only thing for it was to put my foot down.

But seemingly minutes later it was all over, just as I was warming up. Our 45 minutes up and due to my lack of speed we finished second to last. Only slightly disappointed, I’ve now sworn to do it again, once my current injuries have healed.

Fortunately an evening spent in the Albert with many a pear cider followed by Chinese takeaway with Tom and Ben meant that my ankle at least, had recovered sufficiently this morning. A lazy day followed, spending time with the bears and strolling through the autumn sunshine to the Open House for roast chicken with bread sauce. Gloriously, I curled up on the sofa to snooze, dipping through the odd Asterix and Ian Rankin and watching the world go by. Just what Sunday’s are for.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

and rest

Here I am, stealing WiFi from someone, squeezed in between boxes with only a Mongolian cushion, a glass of warm white (there is no fridge yet) and the cats for company. But oh what relief! And what joy! I'm in! I have my own flat, home owner I am.

The move went remarkably well considering the rain we had on Friday. I completed at around 11am, quite unexpectedly and proceeded to load up the van with Mum and the lovely Pete, dashing back and forth from storage to the flat, hefting tables, the bed and television, but mostly (to my pride) boxes and boxes of books.

It was an evening of the traditional fish and chips, followed by champagne and a visit from the upstairs neighbours Lyndsey and Owen. We drank till the early hours, leaving me far too tired to think straight as I headed up to Ikea on Saturday to pick up the necessary essentials. I now have a multitude of glassware that leaves me ready for any occasion, and further bookshelves to store my beautiful books. However, I fear a reckoning has come. In order to buy more, I must get rid (she whispers quietly in case they hear) of a number of boxes of those few I shall never read again. I promised it would never happen, but I'm now faced with the horrible realisation that I only have so much room.

I am still awaiting the fridge/freezer, but have installed the dishwasher. I'm awaiting my new sofas at the end of November, but have got a sun lounger, piled high with duvets and pillows. All in all it feels much like camping out, but with central heating. Already my flat feels like home, and with the cats settled I feel my shoulders droop and all the weight of worry fall away. Of course, that could just be the wine!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

tuesday's history

Today I will be posting on the History Matters blog, describing the in's and out's of my Tuesday. I'm glad they're aiming for "run of the mill" posts as I'm not expecting to do anything too exciting but will be leaving campus for lunch at the Open House, which is a least out of the ordinary.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

sunny sunday

We set off just after one o’clock, taking the top down on the car and heading along the A27 to Kingston. The Juggs was busy, but we settled in on a table in the garden, dappled sunlight shining through the hedge. I ate roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with redcurrants hiding in the centre. Tom had a cheese and ham ploughman’s, the warmth of the day making it entirely suitable despite being mid October.

We took a wander up The Street, greeting the occasional dog. We looked at gardens, through windows, searched for an old well and walked through woodland and uphill before gazing out over the fields. We watched leaves caught in the wind, said hello to a group of sheep and saw a dragonfly dancing through the air.

A glorious way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I feel rested, relaxed and determined to move back to the countryside. I miss the birdsong, the fact that all the noise is in the distance, and that glorious sense of peace that vast swathes of green gives me. Oh for walks though autumn sunshine, being snowed in and curling up in front of an open fire, watching for those first signs of spring as the flowers push up through the grasses, and those long balmy summer evenings, sat in the garden with a glass of wine and no reason to go to bed.

Friday, October 13, 2006

imagining at dusk

A week to go and I’m finally starting to feel my stress levels dip to something near the normal levels. After exchanging on Wednesday I could literally feel the worry fall off my shoulders, although despite this they still feel tense and tight. I feel a massage is in order once the move is over and may splash out on a morning at The Treatment Rooms.

I have ordered my fridge/freezer, dishwasher and gorgeous new plates. I decided on duck egg blue square plates, thinking ahead to how I’m going to decorate the sitting room once the damp proofing has been completed. I’ve searched for book shelves and sofas, rugs and cushions, dining chairs and wardrobes and have now only to decide on a sideboard. I can actually feel each idea, each design, click into place in my head. I can see myself in my rooms, curled up on the sofa reading a book or pouring a gin and tonic and gazing out of the window into the dusk. Perhaps a little romantic but I need to imagine these things. For such a long time now I’ve merely been seeing the worst, the downside, the problems and the difficulties. It is such a big step to be looking forward to living there again, as I did when I first looked around the flat. Such a relief to shake off the shackles of the moving stress.

But it hasn’t all been flat related around here. On Wednesday Ayng and Rob came over for cheese fondue, we supped on wine and played Horror Top Trumps, dipping our bread and dribbling cheese across the table. I was simply happy that the cheese thickened and guzzled on the celebratory bubbly contentedly. It wasn’t long before the conversation sank to its usual depths, with Tom eventually managing to divert us from persuading him to don his “Big Baby” dressing up kit, another one of those terribly useful birthday presents!

Which of course brings my mind back to those gorgeous duck egg plates, and thinking of the food that I shall lay on them. How wonderful to sink into imaginings again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

moving update

Again, I have another date for exchange. This time, and third or fourth time lucky I’m hoping, it will be tomorrow. The completion date is still set as the 20th, next Friday and a day a part of me is already dreading. I can picture the hold ups – the delays in money clearing bank accounts, parking tickets on the van when we’re clearly unloading, problems getting the bed in through the front door. This last I’ll admit is my biggest fear, I love my bed and after five and a half weeks without it I shall be chomping at the bit to curl up under my goose feather duvet and stretch out to the edges of that king size goodness. Oh glorious!

I went to visit the cats today, something I’ve not had a chance to do for nearly two weeks, and was relieved to see that they do still remember me and were only a little sulky. I had visions of walking into the room and being confronted with bemused faces and a complete lack of recognition. Instead it was purrs and chirrups and put out meows. I fussed and stroked, and cuddled until it was time to leave, promising that it would only be a week and a half until I could whisk them away to their new home, where finally they would be able to roam free outside once more.

I still have to buy a fridge/freezer, dishwasher, sofa and a vast quantity of other bits and bobs to furnish, but am reluctant to start ordering too much until I’ve moved what I have got in. Otherwise I have visions of standing in my new sitting room, entirely surrounded by stuff and completely unable to leave the flat. Some things though, I will need straight away, and plates and saucepans are one of them. Having donated or thrown out my last lot, I’m left with only a few odds and ends to furnish my new kitchen and must restock before I find myself in the dreaded “eating scrambled egg, with a fork, from a shoe” phase.

But forefront in my mind is the fact that finally, after so long, so many false starts and expectations, the date will be set, the wheels will be turning and in a matter of days those keys will be in my hand. Unfortunately, until they are I will continue to panic, and worry, plan and re-plan and generally let my imagination run away with me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

macbook joy

It has arrived! My lovely shiny macbook of joy. And boy did it make my day.

Unfortunately the other exciting event of the delay has been delayed, once more. Exchanging contracts is being held up by a very slow solicitor (on the other side, I hasten to add) which although it not a great worry, is just one of those thorny irritations which won't go away. Well, until Monday anyway. Hopefully then all will be sent off and we'll be on target for completion on 20th October.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Somewhat predictably, I have succumbed to the dreaded "freshers flu". It hit sometime over night and despite a brief sojourn to work in an effort to convince myself that I wasn't ill, has left me curled into a mess on the sofa, surrounded by Kleenex Balsam tissues, honey & lemon and with a temperature causing shivers one minute and sweats the next.

I am not a happy bunny.

Still, at least I have Monty to keep me company. He's very good at curling up with me, looking up with doleful eyes, and not expecting too many strokes when the sneezing fits strike. Thank goodness for cats, I say, without them where would we be?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

stormy sunday

Sitting inside, curled up on the sofa with an Ian Rankin and a beautiful storm raging outside is a fabulous way to end what has been a charmingly quiet weekend. The rain is lashing down in torrents against the window panes, splashing in puddles that passing cars spray back up as they speed past. The cats occasionally wander in, look out of the window in a mixture of curiosity and fear before heading out of the room again to hide upstairs.

It is wonderfully autumnal to sit here, hair still damp from the bath, curled up with a mountain of cushions behind me and a book in hand. The season of extraordinary weather is upon us, with a tornado hitting Brighton beach first thing this morning, followed by the current thunder pounding across the sky. Its a glorious feeling, to be inside and cosy looking out on such weather. I get caught up counting the seconds between lightening and thunder bolt, wondering how far away the storm is, whether its coming closer or further away. And intermingled are the seemingly continuous sirens. Perhaps my memory plays tricks on me, but I remember there being sirens throughout every storm.

The only thing missing from this glorious evening is an open fire, although it's hardly cold enough for one. I would love to hear the crackling and the spit of sap, watch the fire flicker in the corner of my eye whilst waiting for the next strike. It is no bother though, I have a beer at hand and a large, warm, cosy, jumper; book at hand and a happy glint in my eye. Roll on thunder bolts, I say, and smile at each one.