Chilaxing, mostly

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30 September 2015

It’s been a funny old week with no office to walk to and time I’m not used to having on my hands. Of course I’ve been job hunting and I’ve got things done in the house. The fridge has been cleaned to within an inch of its life and lots of things have been tidied that would otherwise have stayed messy. The weather has been unseasonably nice, the Indian Summer I’d hoped for when July and August were so wet and miserable. Of course this made me feel guilty for being indoors. Guilt is my default mode.

For a long time I’d been sitting with one eye on the screen of the Mac scrolling through jobs I didn’t want to do looking for gems I did, the other on the sun and blue sky outside. “Enough,” I told myself, closing the laptop and picking up the car keys. It was too late for a walk but there was still time to go out. CJ looked up from his own computer as I passed him in the gym. “How d’you fancy an ice cream on the shore?” I asked. I didn’t have to ask twice. He was up and had his shoes on in a flash.

The ‘drive right in parking space’ was taken up when we got there but I managed to find a space a little further along and got into it with no trouble. While CJ took photos of the gulls and crows I’d snapped a few days before I queued for our ice creams. It was a pretty short queue and soon we were sitting on the shingle with our backs against the weathered wood of the fence eating. The gulls watched us, waiting to see if we’d drop anything.

It was peaceful sitting there in the sun with the sound of waves breaking on shingle.
“We used to come down here a lot when we lived in Woolston,” I said, half to myself, running my hands over the shingle not quite able to resist the urge to look for pretty shells. “I’d collect bags of seaweed for the compost heap and your brothers would run around like mad things or gather pocketfuls of stones, shells and glass worn smooth by the waves. Of course you were just a baby in a pushchair. You won’t remember it.”
“Not really,” he agreed, picking up a piece of smooth green glass and examining it. “I remember the razor shells, sometimes they’d have creatures still in them and I’d throw them back in the sea, but that was later I think.”

When the ice creams were finished and my pocket was filled with tiny, mother of pearl turban top shells, we got up and strolled down to the sea. CJ skimmed a few stones and I watched a little dog frolicking in the surf.
“Do you want me to show you the boundary stone?” I asked, “it’s only a little way along the path.”
“Ok.”
So we made our way to the path by the benches and followed my footsteps from a few days before. For once I took no photos but CJ took enough for both of us.

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On the way home CJ pronounced this “your best drive yet Mum.” While I’d like to think this was a compliment on my driving abilities, I’m pretty sure he was thinking of the ice cream. Still, I’ll take any praise I can get at this stage and we’ll gloss over the length of time it took me to park outside my house when we got in. In my opinion the blame for this lies squarely on the bin men who were sitting on my front wall watching. At least they stopped short of a round of applause when I finally got the blasted car straight and at a reasonable distance from the kerb.

When I checked my emails one of my job applications had borne fruit and I have an invite to an interview on Friday. The job sounds interesting, administration for a charity, although the office seems a pain to get to and the only parking very expensive. These were bridges I will cross if and when I come to them though.  Commando was in the garden catching a few rays so I went out to tell him the news and to distract myself with a wander round to see what was still flowering. Turns out it was more than I thought.

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The sedum was making a bright splash of colour in the corner by the wall and there were still a few dancing ladies left on the fuschia. Along the edge of the gravel path the purple sun ray flowers on  the osteospermum I bought from the nursery in Mayfield Park make me smile every time I pass. It cost hardly anything but it’s been such value for money. Hopefully it will set seed and come back next year. There are red berries too on the cotoneaster and the holly, a good crop again this year.

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The nasturtiums in the tubs in the back garden have been disappointing this year. Last year they were a mass of flowers for months but they’ve been all leaf this time round. Right then there was one solitary yellow flower, which is one more than there has been most of the summer. The second osteospermum I got form the Mayfield Park nursery is plainer than the first but just as prolific, although I think it’s slowing down now. Nearby the hydrangea is looking washed out and ragged but I’m hoping for better things in its second year.

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In the spring I sprinkled a few evening primrose seeds around at the back of the border to bridge the gap I hope the fig tree will eventually fill. They’ve gone completely bonkers and almost hidden the poor fig tree. Although each one doesn’t last very long they just keep coming and their brilliant yellow flowers have cheered up the garden. Half hidden behind them there are figs galore. Whether they will ever ripen is another matter.

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The honeysuckle seems to be having a bit of a revival. With the weather we’ve had this last week it may well think it’s spring all over again. The smell at the end of the garden is wonderfully spicy. Then there’s the apple tree we moved from Commando Senior’s garden. It was originally planted in memory of Commando’s mum, April, and we were terrified that moving it would kill it. As the house was being sold we had no choice though and, thankfully it has survived. It even flowered in spring and a few little apples appeared. Most have since fallen but two still cling on and seem to be getting bigger, which is good news.

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The final surprise was one last little Welsh poppy which has pushed its way up between the slats of the benches. What a funny old autumn this is turning out to be.

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Plane spotting

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30 September 2015

One of the things that’s fast becoming apparent with my drive walk efforts is the difficulty of finding somewhere to park. In the kind of places I want to go to walk this is turning out to be harder than I thought. On Wednesday morning I spent an inordinate amount of time scanning Google Maps trying to find somewhere near the lakes at Allbrook. Never having been there on foot I naively thought there’d be a car park somewhere. Turns out there wasn’t. Eventually I realised I’d been looking at the maps so long I no longer had time for the walk I wanted even if I’d found a car park, which I hadn’t. Continue reading Plane spotting

Consequences

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28 September 2015

Having handed in my notice and walked away I didn’t feel the relief I’d expected. What I felt was numb and sick. A rash of job applications ensued. For me, working is mostly about being independent and my savings would only last so long. Probably I should have been outside in the beautiful Indian summer sun but I felt I had to keep plugging away. Never before have I intentionally left a job with no new job to go to and, even though Commando was incredibly supportive, it was terrifying. At least having a driving licence meant I could look a little further afield and, with that in mind, I made sure I went out in the car every day, trying to push the boundaries a little further each time. Continue reading Consequences

Enough is enough

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23 and 24 September 2015

It seemed to me my three days off passed far too quickly and, in a flash, it was time to go back to work. It wasn’t a thought I relished. To say I dragged my heels on the walk along the river would be an understatement. If I’d moved any slower I’d have been walking backwards. On the boardwalk I stopped for a long time looking out over the mirror like calm of the river watching the gentle glow of the coming dawn slowly creep across the inky blue water. I think I even saw a fish. My stomach was in a knot at the thought of what lay ahead and my mind was fuzzy from lack of sleep.  Continue reading Enough is enough

Driving in my car

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22 September 2015

Once the working week was over it was time to think about driving again. Usually it’s walks I plan during my free time but, at the moment, driving has to take centre stage to give me some much needed practice of being out there on my own. There was a shopping trip with a very brave CJ and a successful bay park at the top of the hill on Sunday morning when Commando was out running. In the afternoon Commando sat in the passenger seat and talked me through multi-storey car parks at the Swan Centre in Eastleigh. Apart from a slight disaster when I stopped too far from the ticket machine and had to reverse and move closer it too was successful. As I’d never driven to Eastleigh on any of my lessons and only knew the route from my walks, it felt like an achievement. Continue reading Driving in my car

Wake me up when September ends

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After the excitement of Monday and Tuesday it was a melancholy, miserable sort of week so I apologise in advance for what is to follow. It started off damp and dreary on Wednesday morning and I was tired from the mental exertions of the weekend. Not a single photo was taken on my way to work, partly because there wasn’t anything worth looking at and partly because I was feeling apprehensive about the new RCSM visit. Obviously I wasn’t going to be top of her Christmas list after trashing her standard letters. Continue reading Wake me up when September ends

Testing times

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14 and 15 September 2015

There would be no more walking before I went back to work, unless you count shopping walks. This wasn’t just because it was a wet, stormy few days, although it was. Monday morning brought something I’d been dreading for a long, long time, something I’d been trying very hard not to think about on my Sunday walk. Not thinking about things is my way of coping with worries and Monday was always going to be a day of fear. You see I had my driving test. Continue reading Testing times

A boat, some walls, a legacy and the ghost of Northam Bridge

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13 September 2015

The expensive Boat Show yacht wasn’t the only boat on the street at Western Esplanade. In front of the arcades there’s a replica of a fourteenth century clinker-built cargo boat on the pavement where the tide would have once come up before the land was reclaimed for the docks. Across the road was something I’ve been meaning to have a look at for ages. On the face of it, it seems like an old, fairly unremarkable, red brick wall with grey blue glazed coping. In fact, I must have walked past it thousands of times without noticing its historic secret. Continue reading A boat, some walls, a legacy and the ghost of Northam Bridge

A bridge, a boat show and some old walls

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13 September 2013

For reasons I will reveal later I didn’t want to tax myself too much on Sunday and, even though I knew there would be precious little time for walking on Monday and maybe Tuesday, I decided on a shortish Sunday walk. The Boat Show was in town so I decided to do the old two bridge challenge and see what all the fuss was about. It was an overcast day with a good chance of rain when I set out towards the green and I detected more than a hint of yellow in the leaves along the woodland path. At the top of the slope the open space was filled with grass and wildflowers going to seed. Autumn is in the air for sure. Continue reading A bridge, a boat show and some old walls

Venus in blue skies

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9 to 13 September 2015

Wednesday morning was wet and miserable and I was feeling out of sorts and grumpy. When I finished reading my emails grumpiness had turned to anger. Seriously, there was almost steam coming out of my ears. The new RCSM, the one who spent all of two minutes in our office, had sent us some standard emails to use. It was annoying enough that she didn’t seem to realise we already had our own but when I read her offerings they made my blood boil. Continue reading Venus in blue skies