Archive for September, 2011

….it surely feels like I have fallen down the rabbit hole this last few weeks.  Like Alice I have taken a tumble, met some weird and wonderful chracters, visited a marvellous garden and had some surreal experiences!

So a few weeks ago (gosh is it 3weeks already!) I started a new job.  It was really strange working in an office again and I am still getting used to having a commute and a deadline to be at work.  In my previous job, I lived in, so my commute was 2 minutes and no deadline.   Working in the office also means I have my evenings free (what’s left of them after I finish at 7pm and get home at 8pm!)

my 8pm commute 🙂

and my weekends….now that’s the cherry on the top of this particular cake.  The weekend.  No more working on weekends!  What a treat.

Last week on Tuesday I arrived at my current accommodation which in the event turned out to be a gypsy caravan and not the spare-room.  Marvellous.  What a pleasure it has been to wake up in the morning to the sounds of the river waking up; geese honking and bickering, seagulls sqwarking, ducks quaking, dozens of birds in the tree next door tweeting ( 🙂 ) away, the odd boat or two phutt phutting down the river, marvellous!!!!

phuttphutting down the river

The week has gone quickly and I have mostly had the office to myself, which has been great.  Learning lots and getting to grips with being in an office again.  Not enjoying the environment though and last week I got a couple of real shirty emails form the big cahuna…..hmmmm, if that is a precursor for the future then I think my stay will likely be shorter rather than longer.  We shall see.

So anyhow, the week whizzed by and yesterday I was able to say TGIF!!!! hooray.  When I got back to the house I was invited to stay for supper, and it was delicious.  Sausage pot with lots of vegetables.  So we were sitting around chatting and then they (my landlords and a friend who was staying over) wanted to go out so I ended up babysitting.  Cool.  Mind you the little poppet was sleeping so I never even got to see her really.

I trotted off to bed at about midnight and snuggled into my cosy little caravan and before long was fast asleep.  I am sleeping better than I have for a very long time and it is marvellous.  So this morning (Saturday) I wake up and lying in bed still snug and warm, I looked out the window and to my sheer amazement I saw a kingfisher land on the branch of the tree outside the door. Whooo!!! how fantastic.  After a short while I got up (mother nature was calling) and went to unlock the door!!! No luck. ???

I was like what!!! you godda be kidding me!!! I spent about 10 minutes trying to unlock the door, but to no avail.  One of the tumblers had fallen half way down & I couldn’t even get the key in!!!  hahahaha.   So then a wee bit of a panic set in…the landlords left early in the  morning for a weekend away! hahahaha.  I would have been ok for food, I had bought in supplies on Friday, and I had my computer for  company, I had a bottle of water…….but……????   You get it right? hmmm.  So I phoned the landlords…their phone was off..left a message anyways.  Then I phoned my friend (it’s her sisters house) and woke her up with ‘HELP!!’  Then I remembered the friend whose kiddie I had babysat the night before was sleeping over…maybe she was still here.  I phoned her number…no reply….left a desperate message (by now it was getting a tad desperate) and then phoned my friend for the house number.  She didn’t have it.  So tried the lass who was sleeping over (I wasn’t even sure she was still here) and vóila she answered…..SaveMySoul…or more like s.m.a!! hahahha

So she was still here (whew) and came trotting down to open the door.  Yay!!! Not sure what I will do tonight, but whatever it is I won’t be locking the door!

So the little poppet I babysat last night was up and we got to chatting.  She is 4 and half years old and a real treasure.  We have had the most interesting conversations, about witches turning little girls into rabbits, spiders eating flies, why geese honk, how come people row backwards,

why do people row backwards?

why I don’t think it’s a good idea to sit on a dog, how to whistle by sucking in air, being asked if I am old (?) err…truthfully??, about why my hair is white on top and brown down the sides, can I understand french and do I know what aurevoir means, why I have eeyore on my pyjamas, why I am living in the caravan, about school and reading and computers and phones….you know the usual chitter chatter of a 4year old.  Absolutely marvellous.

a little poppet

We climbed the tree (well ok she did; I helped), hung over the edge of the wall to see whats below (not too sure Mum would like that after all it’s 30 feet down and there is a mucky brown river below), swung on the hammock and I had my nails filed by a wee beautician.  All the while a running commentary of questions and answers.  There is something very special about spending a few hours in the company of a child.  They bring an innocence to life that gest forgotten as we get older and caught up in the maelstrom of being an adult.

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A few weeks ago my daughter, who has recently joined a meet-up group called U-Dare, told me she had signed up to go skydiving!! Wow, fantastic.  Thats something I have yet to do, it is on the very long list of adventure sports I have yet to try….like zip-lining (really want to do that!) and white-water rafting.  I’ve been paragliding (we both went back in South Africa when CJ was about 15), wev’e been abseiling, I’ve been para-sailing (in the Bahamas about 7 years ago), caving (in my teens), and all sorts of other stuff, so when she told me she was going skydiving in Spain, I was way envious.

skydiving in Spain (this is not her obviously) 🙂 pic from http://www.emocionday.com/en/skydive-spain

The days rushed by and before we knew it the time had come for her to leave and in a flurry of packing and sorting she left on Thursday night with the group.  Much bubbling excitement and texts in CAPITAL letters!!! her excitement was palpable.   I was trepiditious to say the least, not that I was worried about the skydiving but at the back of my mind was the knowledge that she suffers from recurring blackouts.  We had not discussed this and I managed to push it firmly to the back of my mind….. until the time came for her to go up!

She had a safe flight to Spain and I got a considerate text to say the the first landing had gone well and they were in Spain.  Great, enjoy!  So yesterday morning (the day of the jump) I get a very early morning text to say: ‘yay! we’re on our way!’ and then ‘we’re here, cant wait I’m so EXCITED!!!’ and then….like a punch to the chest…. ‘Buga, cant do it if I don’t have a Doctors note to say it’s ok coz of the blackouts’ – what should I do?”  Uhmm, your’e asking me?  It’s your call honey.  So after many texts and a hurried conversation, she decided to go for it anyway.  Hmmm, the mommy side of me was screaming…don’t do it!! the Cindy side of me was like – go for it!.  So she did! eeekk.

Making a decision to just do it, she signed on the dotted line and got ready to go.  By now I was a trembling mess of nerves; shaking from head to toe I remonstarted again to PLEASE text me IMMEDIATELY you get down….but hey! have a fabulous time and enjoy.  God, my nerves were shattered, but I didn’t want to be a dash of cold water on what was meant to be a fun weekend, albeit that every fibre of my being was wanting to say don’t go!!

Then I got a text to say… ‘eeekkkk me next!’ and then I really started shaking.  I was on the verge of tears and desperate to say “don’t go!”.  Instead I texted my sister in SA and distracted myself that way.  After what seemed like hours, but was in reality just under an hour I finally got a text to say she was back down and “I LOVED it…I want to go again!!!” Geez girlie.  Your old ma is just about having a nervous breakdown after one jump and you want to go again….spare me!!

So she got down in one piece, although the initial part of the jump was marred by the most terrible pain in her sinus’s, so much so that she couldn’ t life her head and screamed blue murder for the first 200feet, but once the chute opened and they started floating, the pain went away and she got to enjoy, what she says, ‘is the most beautiful sight you could imagine’.  The earth looks so beautiful from 13,000 feet apparently!  Hmmm, well I shall have to see for myself now won’t I.  But by golly I was glad she was back on terra-firma.  So, I exhorted her to please keep in touch and send me regular text messages to say all is well.   I was still very concerned about the blackouts and that she may have one later on in the day.  (what she didn’t tell me in the morning was that she had already had one since arriving the night before)…dear Lord!!!  thankfully you didn’t tell me before now.

So last night while I was babysitting I sent a message to ask if all was well….no reply. ???  So I sent another to ask ‘please text me when you get home, I guess your’e probably out with the group having a good time. Just text me when you home that your’e ok…I will leave the phone on during the night.

Nothing!!! So this morning when I woke just after 6am, I jumped out of bed to check if any message had come through during the night …nada!!! 😦  My stress levels went through the roof!  I got back into bed and was just saying in my head: ‘please, please, please text me’ when hooray…..a text came through.  Whew!!  All was well, she had a very bad sinus headache and went to be at 6.30 pm the night before.  So all my texts had gone unnoticed coz she was sleeping.

I was so thankful to hear from her this morning, and to hear that all was well.  I had tried to be really disciplined about keeping my imagination under check.   Sometimes it’s really hard being a mother.   It’s like you want your kids to get out and experience life to the full, but at the same time you want to hold them close and keep them safe.

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whooo hoo!!! what a marvellous stroke of luck.  You may recall I mentioned that I had been living in a hostel (which did my head in)

the hostel

and then by good fortune a friend of mine said her sister had a spare room.!!! marvellous.  and this spare room was in a little wee house on an island!!! even better.  So heres the thing….my goal is to live on or visit 100 islands and so far I have managed to do quite a few.  I first saw this island and strolled about on it last year, and at the time said ‘AHH I woud love to live here’…..and now I am, albeit for only 24days.  🙂

So on Tuesday morning after I left the hostel I stopped off at a little wee café  had wanted to visit ever since I first saw it!

all photos of Princess Diana

Diana’s Café on Bayswater Road.  I popped in the other day and the walls are covered with photos of Princess Diana….quite emotional.  So I had a yummy breakfast and delicious cup of tea and then headed off to work.


So loving being out in the morning and really enjoy the hustle and bustle…..despite the buses et al being late!!!

So as I write I am sitting in front of….wait for it….I kid you not….truly and cross my heart….a gypsy caravan. 🙂 how bloody marvellous is that!!  When I arrived on Tuesday night, I was made to feel very welcome and we sat and chatted over tea (for me) and wine (for them).  We spoke at length about travel and travelling (my favourite subject, besides my daughter!) and I happened to mention my dream was to travel round the UK and then the world in a campervan!! And so it was mentioned that they had a gypsy caravan at the end of the garden!! really?? wow!! So from there the conversation verred off in the direction of what I call a ‘most sensible idea!’

I was asked if I would like to sleep in the caravan!!! Geez….can you see my grin?? of course I would!!!  So we traipsed down to the end of the garden and there was the most darling little red gypsey caravan.  Think in terms of Cher in one of her music videos.  It is gorgeous.  I had a peek inside and was smitten.

my home till the 14th October 🙂 wheee

So we trundled my bag down the garden path and into the caravan.  What a brilliant little place. I cant swing my arms, never mind a cat, but it is just darling.  I have the most fab view of the river which flows by no more than 15 feet away….thankfully at least 30 feet down….or I may be in trouble at high tide. 🙂

So my first night was a charm!! I slept like a log with the background sounds of the river teasing the edges of my conciousness.  I woke the next morning to the sound of geese honking and whipped my ass out of bed quicker than you could say “rise and shine”.  There were dozens of these very noisy creatures flying by and honking, hissing and bickering like mad!! what a cacaphony!!! and how marvellous.    what a way to start the day.  Lovely fresh air, birds honking, ducks quacking, and the sound of the river rushing by.

the view from my bed!!!

So last night I visited with my beloved daughter for supper and helping her pack for Spain.  She is going skydiving in Seville (lucky fishy) and will be flying out today!  I am really trepiditious but at the same time thrilled for her….what an adventure. wow!!! My turn next!   So after supper and chat and pudding I walked from her house to mine (took about 20minutes) and marvelled again at the fact that I can walk about at that time of the night with no fear. I love that I can do that!

The little wee caravan was waiting with open doors (welll actually I had to unlock them first! 🙂 ) and I settled in for the night.  So this morning I woke really early at 6.30 and immediately got up and out onto the terrace.  wow! what a marvellous morning.  I first made myself a cup of tea, then settled down to watch the sun rise and the birds waking up.  It is the most beautiful day and I am loving every minute of this little adventure.  My commute in the mornings is along a shady green path that winds it’s way past quaint little corrugated iron sheds and little cottages,

how darling is this!!!

over a footbridge across the river then through a delightful little town and so to the tube!!!  The train crosses the river again at Richmond and the view is something else.

my commute in the mornings

When I come home once again the train trundles over the river and the view is so uplifting!!! the Thames is such a beautiful river and this is such an amazing part of the country.

06.36 am this morning 🙂

I feel truly blessed.  The job is improving (or perhaps its coz I know more what I am doing now) and I really enjoyed having the office to myself the last few days.  I get to do a lot of social media too as part of the role so that is right up my alley, and I could spend all day on facebook and twitter….not that I do, there are other things to be done!

.....other things to be done!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

So, I have just finished my breakfast, am about to pack up and head off for my commute……feet first, then a bus, then a train, then another train and then feet again and I am at work. 🙂

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Hello again.  So after that turkey came in and slammed the door I could not get back to sleep.  And to crown it all, he goes to sleep and starts to snore.  How I did’nt get up and toss him onto the floor I dont know!  Thankfully I have ear plugs so stuffed them in and tried to get some sleep.  But my stress levels were so high by then……  Tossing and turning I eventually gave up, got my clothes out, got dressed, went down and had an early cup of tea and my cereal then set off for work.  On my way out I spoke to the reception again but they were adament I had booked a mixed room.  I insisted that they phone the manager and suggested they get me another room. Huh!! no luck.  I was so shattered I decided to take the bus to work that day.  All this change and stuff is doing my head in.

I also had to make a very difficult financial decision this week, something that I quite simply did not want to do but with the loss of income and increase in living expenses I am going to be hundreds of £’s short every month.  I have been looking for part-time work but nothing has come up yet.  Anyhow with the long hours and staying at the hostel it’s enough to just cope with getting through each day at the moment.  However, I am sure that this will improve and in time I will be settled and able to look at things with a better perspective.

Seriously when I look back at 2007/2008 when I did all the personal development courses that were meant to change my life…. I had no idea how they would change my life.  I paid for course after course to learn about stuff that was meant to help me improve my financial future….instead, after doing the courses I have ended up with massive debt and have spent the last 4 years battling to pay off the courses.   Urgh!!!

I opened the Metro (a free daily newspaper provide by TfL), the other day and with a sickening thud of dismay to the stomach and chest I read a half-page advert that said Tony Robbins was returning to London next year.  All I could think about was the poor sods who would likely go and then sign up to the courses and probably end up in the same situation as me.  I know of so many people who did the same courses as me and all have ended up with serious financial difficulties.

Those 3 weeks over August and beginning Sept, I sat without work didn’t help either and I used up all my savings paying for my monthly bills, the hostel and for my accommodation from next week Tuesday.  Yes, the good news is that I leave the hostel on Tuesday morning and have managed to secure a place staying with the sister of a friend.  Whey hey!!! I will be staying on an island on the Thames. What an exciting adventure.   Always a silver lining somewhere hey! 🙂  actually I am so excited for that coz not only will I get to live on an island again (besides the one I live on now) but it also means that within 25 days from Tuesday I will move into a home again.  I will be able to get my belongings out of storage, have a room of my own, be able to set up my computer and put put all my books and things.  I won’t have to move out each time I go away and my daughter and I can now plan to create a real home again. 🙂

Now all I have to do is get through the weekend and finally after much discussion and pleading the manage has agreed to move me to a new room on Sunday night.  Which is great, except that I have to move again on Monday night.  All this to not sleep in a mixed room. What a life.  On the plus side of course this is all adding to my life story.  One day when I get to write my book I will have tons of stuff to write about and plenty of tales to tell my grandchildren one day!

my new bed for Sunday night 🙂

So hey….I got to go the watch The Great River Race on Saturday!!! it was brilliant.  So many boats I did not realise.  I had a lovely ride on the bus from Bayswater to County Hall and got to see some fab sights.  I do love this city, it is so beautiful.  I waited for ages on Westminster Bridge not realising the boats took quite so long to get from Docklands to central but it was so worth it.  It was mucho exciting to see the 1st boat coming into view, and trailing behind there they were….dozens and dozens of boats.  I got there at about 1.20pm and secured a great spot on the bridge near to the Scotsman playing his bagpipes and used his music as background for my videos. 🙂

at about 3pm right during all the excitement and when there were dozens of boats on the river the rain came down in a whoosh.  I thought of making a run for cover but on reflection figured that by the time I reached any I would be soaked….so instead I stayed where I was and got soaked to the skin…..literally.  By the time I eventually left at 3.45 once all the boats had gone by I was still dripping.  Hahahaha.  But, I carried on filming and got some brilliant footage of a rainbow over the river.  I am amazed my video camers is still working considering the amount of rain that came down.  But, it was so much fun and I will definitely be going again next year.

The piping Scotsman left (he was so grumpy) at one stage and another took his place…omg!!! hahahaha what a character.  He couldnt play for what he was worth and the sounds that came out of the bagpipes were beyond description.  He mostly did a lot of posturing and posing and very little playing….and thank goodness for that….even a cat caterwauling sounds better.   But he managed to get quite a bit of money and lots of people posed with him.  What a turkey.  During a break in filming I turned away from the bridge and noticed that he was standing with his hand up his kilt!!! seriously.  I was fascinated by this and tried to figure out what the heck he was doing without actually staring (not that I think he would have cared), so I was surrepticiously watching him when next thing he pulls his hand out from under the kilt and he has a bottle in his hand!!!  freaky friday…omg he had been having a pee!!!! hahahaha. I nearly choked.  And then what does he do? He pours it over the side of the bridge!!!!! ahahahahaha LOL even now as I write this I am laughing hysterically.  LOL I could not believe my eyes.  Have you ever in your life???  Goodness only knows!!!!

Of course it had been my intention to visit one or two of the Open House places but I was so wet that I dont think they would have appreciated me trailing a stream of water through their property.  Next year then.

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So as mentioned in my previous blog I don’t, at the moment, have a home!  In reality I have not had a home since I left South Africa in 2001 (just 18 days away from the 10th anniversary!!!)   Since I last slept in my bed in my one up, one down house in Cape Town I have lived out of a suitcase and slept  in dozens and dozens of different beds!   And except for a brief period of 1 year when I rented a room in a shared house back in 2007, I have essentially had neither a home nor my own bed.

When I arived in the UK I started work as a Care Assistant in a Care Home and have worked (except for that 1 year) pretty much as a Care assistant since then, and this entails a lot of moving around.

This was one of the biggest factors for quitting my job this year….I yearn for a place of my own.  A place where I can hang up my clothes, put out my books, put my toiletries in the bathroom (and not worry they might get used), a place that stays mine even when I go on holiday.   Working as a Carer you have to pack up all your belongings and move them out the house when you go on leave and mostly you move on from one place to the next every 2 weeks.  At first this was great as I got to see and explore little villages and towns I would never have gone to under my own steam.  But after 4 years I have had enough of that and I really want to settle down.

So the first 3 weeks after I quit my job saw me staying with my daughter for a few days, then onto a short-term job, then to stay at a friends place – initially that was meant to be for a few days but the agency let me down and I didn’t get any more work from them, and the one placement they gave me cancelled the day before I was due to go….so no job!!  in the end I stayed at my friends place (she was in South Africa) till the 11th and then to my absolute dismay I moved into a hostel.  Urgh!! I spent hours and hours looking for a short-term let but not only are they prohibitively expensive but they are few and far between and mostly, by the time you phone, the place has already gone.  Desperation was by then my middle name and at 11.32pm on the 10th I checked myself into a hostel.

Staying at my friend’s place saw it’s own challenges coz she shares with someone else and that person had no qualms when I was watching a programme to just take the remote and change the channel.  Even if I had someone staying over I would never do something like that!  But I had a room to myself and a lovely walk to the station and a commute that I used for study time.  People and internet marketing 🙂  It fascinates me no end the sheer volume of people that use the tube in the mornings and how very different they all are.

I left her place on the 11th and moved my stuff from one storage unit in north London to another in south-west London.  As it turned out I could have left it for another month and saved some money!!! I sometimes wish I had a crystal ball.  I stayed in a hotel last week Monday night courtesy of my lovely daughter…. 🙂

my room in the hotel

A fab little place in Richmond with the most amazing view of the river.  A most enjoyable evening and I was really sad to leave the next morning.  But before I left I made the most of a delicious full-english breakfast.  A great way to start the day and my new job.

the view from my hotel room

So anyhow I  moved into the hostel last week Tuesday night.  All well and good to start…..a 4 bed dorm shared with 3 other girls.  I got the top bunk ( 🙂 ) which is all very good and well….however!!! it entailed some climbing every time I got into or out of bed!  Can you just imagine!!! at my age climbing up into the top bunk.  It does’nt bear thinking about.   Mind you when I was younger I always bagged the top bunk….I can’t stand being confined and sleeping on the bottom bunk does my head in.  My roomies appeared to be rather nice and I settled in for the night, and next days walk to work was marvellous.  We have been blessed with some fabulous weather the last 2 weeks.

It’s quite weird staying in a hostel with dozens of younsters, mostly foreign, either on holiday or working.  It’s not exactly posh! Quite the opposite with faded carpets curling at the edges, very basic facilities, only a basin and a shower in each room (if youre lucky), tattered duvets, no towels, kitchen facilities that make me cringe, toilets on the landing so small you can’t turn around sideways.  So what I have decided to do is pretend that I am doing research on hostels in London for my website, and that I am practising for when I go to to Spain on the Camino.  When I do that I will have to stay in hostels which offer very basic facilities and I may just have to climb to the top bunk.

I was informed when I checked in that I would have to move to another room after a couple of days!  What? You have to be kidding me right!!!   they were not and I was not….pleased that is.  That meant I had to pack everything up and lug the bag downstairs before work on Thursday morning.

So on my way home that night I got the best call ever from my daughter.  The woman she was sharing with has decided to return to Brazil and whoooohoooo, we are taking over the lease of the house.  This is the best news ever.  We will finally have a place of our own again.  She had so wanted to stay there long term, what with the garden and all and that she loves the area.  So from 15th October I will finally have a home again.  The excitement is beyond belief and now we can plan ahead for Christmas and all of those wonderful things.  That news made my day!!!

So when I got home on Thursday night I hauled my bag upstairs from the storeroom and up to the room on the 4th floor (bearing in mind my bag weighs about 30 kgs) and opened the door to my new apartment (hahaha)….and then I got the shock of my life.   They had put me into a mixed room.  As I opened the door the first thing I saw were two guys in the room,  Initially I was like, ‘Oh! Right, visitors….thats not good’. And then it dawned on me!  Omgosh they had put me into a mixed room.

I nearly passed out with shock.  I left my bag on the landing an flew down the stairs to reception… no matter my pleading they were adament I had booked a mixed room.  No! I had not!!!

Anyhow I checked the confirmation and it definitely said ‘shared’ not ‘mixed’  Now in my language shared and mixed are two very different things.  I spent the next 20minutes pleading with them to move me but they did’nt have another spare bed anywhere and that was that.  I felt bereft and on my way up the stairs I just cracked.  I sat down on the stairs and for the next two hours cried my eyes out.   Then feeling utterly shattered, and unless I wanted to sleep on the stairs, I made my way to the room and yeehaa I had the bottom bunk. Hahahaha. What a joke.

my bed in the 'mixed' room....bottom left. as you can see not much room for privacy never mind a cat 🙂

And what a mission. I had to unpack all my pyjamas and stuff, make my way downstairs, change in the toilet area and then go back upstairs to the room.  I switched off my mind and climbed into bed.  By then I was exhausted and fell asleep almost immediately, only to be woken a few hours later by one of the chaps coming in and ……did he close the door?  No he let it slam shut behind him.  Omg!!!   I thought I might just have a nervous-breakdown.  The very thought of staying in that room till I left was not doing my psyche any good whatsoever.  They had to move me to another room!!!!!

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Okay, so I started my new job Monday 2 weeks ago, and my brain feels like it has been battered. I love learning new stuff and this last 2 weeks have been a real learning curve.  Thankfully I am familiar with programmes like excel and word and have over the years had to learn many new accounting systems, so slowly but surely I am gaining ground.

The office environment is the pits.  The office, one of quite a number of cells, is in the basement of a block of flats. Lots of concrete; grey and uninviting with no colour to be seen.  It’s a dark, grey and uninviting place to come in to on a daily basis.  The office itself is very basic without even a fridge for me to keep my milk in for tea, and the one thing thats keeping me sane is the view out the window, albeit a window covered with a thick metal grid.  At least I can see the sun and the sky and there are some lovely green trees in the gardens.

The two kids in the office are very sweet and very young and very bright. And  what I have found very VERY difficult is being taught by someone who is more than half my age!!!   Not that I mind learning from someone much younger than me…..but these two are very BYT’s ‘bright young things’ and the first week left me feeling totally inadequate and incredibly ‘slow’.  Dear lord.  I felt like quitting after the first week but the pain of it is that I am not a ‘quitter’, just the opposite in fact….I tend to not read the signs and battle on regardless till I either succeed or fall apart!  Not a good trait me thinks!

I think the worst of it was the heavy sighing and head shaking that permeated the air when I asked questions about something that we had already gone over.  Ok so I may not be the brightest pencil in the box, but that doesn’t make me stupid.  There are a number of disjointed systems that don’t match up and loads, and I mean loads of spreadsheets for which the information has to be collated from a number of different areas.   It’s bad enough trying to learn and memorise where everything comes from without a BYT shaking his head when I ask a question.  Okay, so yes we did it yesterday……..so what? Just give me the bloody answer already!!!   I hate it when I ask a question and the answer I get is ‘we went over this yesterday’!  Really? No shit!!!’   Every spreadsheet has a different name, they are all filed under different folders and ‘hello!’ I am not yet familiar with the systems you are working on!!!   geez……a real boost to my self-confidence.   And the one thing that really disturbed me in a great way was the comments: ‘your’e doing really well’, that is given like a pat on the head to a dog that has performed well!  Wow!!! no kidding!

Something that I have really battled with is unlearning the way I deal with things…..when working as a carer you are required to ‘ask’ before you do anything. ‘Is this ok for you?. Would you like me to do that. How would you like this done?’  So what’s happening now is that I keep asking questions instead of just ‘doing’.   Besides that it makes me a tad nervous when people say I should just do something the way I would do it and then when I do…..then it’s ‘well actually that’s not he way we would have do it!!!’  Well then….tell me how you would do it and don’t tell me to use my own initiative.  So I am trying to untangle the old way of doing things and retrain my brain to do instead of ask! Eish.

So am I enjoying the job so far?  The honest answer is not really.  I guess once I know what I am doing and can set up some systems, things may improve.  I am however loving learning all the new stuff, I also get to do some social media and that has been very successful so far, and I did my first blog the other day that was well received.  I am enjoying the interaction with customers on the phone and learning about the product has been brilliant.  I am hopeful that as time passes and I get to grips with all the stuff I have to learn about it will improve and I can begin to relax and enjoy the job.

So there thats my gripe out the way.  Some days I felt like I was walking through pea-soup. And on others I rejoiced in the fact that I could get out first thing in the morning.  On the bright side….I am loving the walk to work in the mornings and the hustle and bustle of the city.  This is such a beautiful area, lots of leafy green trees, fabulous regency houses and wide streets. I am currently living in Bayswater (although not in a place as posh as it sounds)!

some of the houses in the area

Oh and I discovered a fish and chip shop near to work that serves the most delicious chips ever! 🙂

Now it’s 2 weeks on, and although I am still wondering why on earth I accepted such a low salary, (besides the fact that this has put me into a real financial bind), I am fed up with myself for not placing more value on my skills and knowledge.  However, on the plus side I am enjoying the freedom of being able to ‘leave’ my place of work and ‘go home’.

Ah yes! Home?!! where is that?  Well, here’s the thing…….I don’t have a home!  Hahaha. No kidding.  When I quit my job I gave up the accommodation that went with it, as well as the 3 meals a day, 3 well-balanced meals I might add!!! and  I have stayed at 6 different places since the 6th August.  ( I did a short stint of cat-sitting for a few days too).    On the plus side…..I have lost well over 4kgs since 6th August when I left my carer job behind.  If you could see the food I have been eating lately (mostly fruit and fibre cereal) and while I was staying at my friends flat I lived on tinned tomato soup and porrige (not together of course)……along with the lack of sleep, I am amazed I am still standing.  But at least I am able to buy food     I look at homeless people now with a completely different perspective.

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yes, indeed! Today has been a wonderful day. I woke real early again but with a very stiff neck.  My body aching and sore I guess the time spent lugging my bag around town finally caught up with me. I also have a very stiff neck…..must be the pillows I am sleeping on.

I am really getting into this; not working on weekends. And what a marvel it is.  This morning I had the time to write a poem to welcome my little niece into the world.  I was then able to meet up with my daughter for starbucks in Richmond without having to ask permission for time off!  I was able to take a leisurely walk back home along the Thames Path and not worry about getting back late.

a walk along the Thames

Yesterday afternoon I spoke to my sister and she described it perfectly; it’s like a blanket over your head….and that is exactly how my previous job was……like a blanket over my head, weighing me down.  This feeling of not having limits on my time is really strange.  I have had a very productive afternoon, a time when I could start working on some of my internet plans and I did’nt have to watch the clock!   I could speak freely to my brother this morning, no worry about disturbing anyone!

and this is the fella I am spending my weekend with

how sweet is that face 🙂

The funny thing is I keep forgetting that I have a new job to go to on Monday. 🙂 so just to be sure I’ve set my alarm!

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Whoo hooooo!!!! I got the job!!!! yes yes yes. With much delight this morning I accepted the position from yesterday’s interview. Mucho magic.  I love the sound of the position and was really hoping to get it. What this means is that a) I can ease myself back into the office environment b) I get my evenings and weekends back  c) I can learn new systems – in this case SAGE and Mac d) I can freelance now at whatever I want  e) I am no longer on duty 22/7 f) I no longer have to put up with shitty family members or friends who treat you like a lower class whatnot g) and as far as banks and such like are concerned, I now have a ‘real’ job.  And bonus….I don’t have to go for any more interviews! Wheeee!!!

The funny thing is that the position of ‘Carer’ doesn’t hold much weight in this country and it’s not really viewed as a viable job.  I can see their point, working as a self-employed carer is a variable career, any number of things can happen; like you have to sit around and wait for days on end to get the next assignment, you have assignments that you have sat around for a week waiting for get  cancelled at the last minute, you have to be on tenterhooks 99% of the time coz if you by so much as a word upset your client in any way….your’e shown the door without so much as a by your leave.  So to get back into the office environment is brilliant.

However, there is a price for my freedom……£14,600pa worth of price. Yes! To my dismay they offered me £3000pa less than what I would have expected considering my experience, but have said after the 3 months probation they will increase it to the expected level (not £14,600 worth sadly (I wish)…that amount now includes living expenses such as rent, food and transport etc).  What this means is that for the next 3 months+ I am gonna stress out big time!
But!!!! and this is where it gets good…..I will not be ’employed’ but will work on a ‘contractual’ basis and instead of being an employee….I will be freelance and still retain my self-employed status.  This is very good on all fronts.  It means that I can now do whatever other work I want in the evenings and weekends to generate the discrepancy in my budget! 🙂 yay. So this means I can plan tours for 3 Days in London, I can freelance at other companies in the evenings or weekends, I can take on baby-sitting work, or cleaning (I am a damn good housekeeper) heehee, I can FINALLY get back to the Internet Marketing membership I paid for a year ago and not yet been able to maximise.  Actually read ‘not do at all’.  So the world is my oyster as they say and I will be a free agent able to work unencumbered by 22/7, and in this way I will be able to generate the short-fall in my budget!
Whew! As they say in the classics!

On the family front….I am delighted to say that I am now an aunty again.  My niece finally decided to get herself born and arrived at 01.25 this morning, weighing in at 3.37kgs and 6minutes before I sent an email to my brother and sister-in-law to wish them all the best for the impending arrival.. hee hee she was already here! So welcome to the world Aletta, you are a much anticipated and very welcome member of ‘da family’!
So now I have to plan a trip to Hungary (finally) to go visit and meet my new niece, and of course to also meet the two older children who were adopted at the beginning of the year! Awesome….3x an aunty in one year….not bad eh! It was very special talking to my brother this morning and we were both in tears!! I am so very happy for them. He reminded me that it was exactly 2 years ago to the week that they lost their first baby, which was terribly distressing.  But all is good now and they have their delightful daughter to love and enjoy.

I mentioned in my previous blog that I am cat-sitting in Twickenham this weekend for a friend and after my stress at not getting into the flat last night I was exhausted, (I had visions of sleeping on the step!) but hey guess what?….I was free to do whatever I wanted, so I got onto the internet and did some emailing, tweeting, and fb’ing wihtout any worry about having to get up the next day at a specific time……I could get up anytime I pleased.  Then finally to bed at about 1am and woke this morning…..free as a butterfly!  And hahahaha, at 07:35! can you believe it?  Now that I am free to wake up late……I wake up early! Hah!! typical! I spent most of the morning on the internet working for New Media Angels (I am the twitter angel) then met up with my daughter later in the morning and went to Sweetie Pies for tea and yummies to celebrate my new job! Then it was back to her place and work work work for 3.5 hours earning my freedom!

I can now advertise The Money Box in earnest (you can ‘like’ it if you like!) and of course the plan is to get my books up on Amazon and blurb as well as the intineraries onto kindle.

Hooray! I am free, and freedom is a sweet, sweet word! 🙂

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times flies.....and if I don't get to bed soon....it will be 1am! 🙂

…..or something like that!  – Where has this year gone?  I can hardly believe that it’s September already!!! this year has truly flown the coop!  I remember when I was younger my Dad always used to say….”wait till you get older….time will fly” and so it is and has.   His opinion on this is that time is speeding up. Hmmmm, I’m not sure about that, but the days and weeks and months sure do go by fast.  I often wonder if this is to do with the fact that we are so busy these days.  We are always ‘doing’ something. The constant urge to communicate, learn more, work commitments, child commitments (like sport and activities) and then just the normal day to day activities that go towards keep up with life as it is today.
I remember when my Mother was still alive, she used to have hours where she just sat and realaxed, enjoyed life.  Had tea with her kids and grandchildren, read a book and meandered around her garden.  None of the hurry-scurry that seems to take up the hours of my day!
It often blindsides me how quickly life changes too! In the flash of an eye and everything changes.  As you know from previous blogs I recently quit my job.  Now that didn’t happen in the blink of an eye and I had been debating that for some months, but when it came to making the decision to quit….that did happen in the blink of an eye.  And the changes that came with that are phenomenal.  One of which is of course looking for a new source of income.  Fortunately I am lucky enough to have a number of options, but unlike the hours in the day….it takes longer to get something set up again.  I have fortunately had one care job that took care of the bank for a week or so….and I was meant to have another one starting today….BUT that caved in late yesterday afternoon and now the stress has started in earnest.  Major panic attack this morning when I awoke after what was a very restless night.
On the plus side I got to spend some time with my lovely daughter yesterday and last evening.  We went out for a delicious supper as I mentioned in my last blog and then we headed home.  She, like the genius that she is, set up a facebook page for THE MONEY BOX! Hooray. In no time at all she has the page up and away we went with the invitations.
I also subbed for her today at BNI Sherlock.  Which probably doesn’t mean anything to you, so let me enlighten you 🙂  BNI is a business networking group (they are worldwide) where you get to speak about your business, listen to others speak about theirs and then see if you have any referrals or congruency with someone they know or even perhaps themselves.  Fortunately due to the Platform and Presentation Skills Training course I did a few years ago with Christopher Howard I have learned how to stand up in front of a room full of people and not turn to a block of deepfreeze! 🙂
Now when I stood up to do her 60seconds for NEW MEDIA ANGELS I was fine, but when it came time to do mine…..urgh, I got all red in the face and flustered.  So good and bad…hahahaha! as Dr Demartini would say….balance in all things. Just not sure he meant this specifically. But I managed and the floor didn’t actually swallow me whole!  In the event I have a 1-1 set up with one of the members for next week 🙂   Hopefully this will be a taste of things to come and I can finally convert back to doing what I love…..Credit Control. I started The Money Box up in 2008, but eventually went back to the caring so now I have a good start for getting it up and running again as I have already worked for a few people and have referrals in that area.
So this afternoon I passed another milestone! I survived the interview! Hooray! 🙂 actually it was a great interview and I left feeling very positive.  They asked some brilliant and very clever questions and really grilled me in all areas.  Initially had 2 people doing the interview and then one of the Directors popped in and we chatted as well.  In all it was a very positive experience and at least the ice is broken in that respect. The last time I had an interview for a job was in Oct 2009 and that was quite an intense process.  They also left me twiddling my thumbs for a months before finally making a decision and at the time I was pipped to the post by a chap 20 years younger than me! Ah well. Their loss hey! 🙂
So here I am, now back in Twickenham. Cat sitting for the weekend. My daughter lives 20 minutes away and I am just about to go to bed.
One thing that did strike me as I was in transit from the west to the north is how it is that if I get this job – once again I will be commuting.  No more walking from my bedroom to the kitchen as my morning commute.  It is going to be very weird having to catch public transport again every day and I mused at the volume of people passing through the station this evening. Like a mass of lemmings flowing along.  So that will be a bit of a challenge.
On the home front, as I say, I am cat sitting in Twickenham for a friend of mine, very much a last minute arrangement and once again I had to lug my very heavy suitcase across from far north to far south west/ish with me.  The tube journey takes and hour and a half….so you get the idea of distance.  I tell you, if I do get this job that is going to be one of the biggest perks…..being based in one place and not having to drag this exceptionally heavy suitcase around.  Mind you on the plus side, as I mentioned before, I have reached the age now where more and more often people are offering to help.  And I now gratefully accept. No more of the “no it’s fine, I can manage bullsh*t”….if someone offers to carry it up or down the stairs I say “Yes! Please and thank you so much”.  Actually it was quite funny coz as I was passing through the barrier at East Finchley I asked the guy on duty if he had a magic wand. He said no, so I said what a pity coz then he could magic my bag up the stairs.  Heehee. So he took the hint and carried the bag up for me! Age and charm do have benefits. 🙂
even the bus drivers are getting in on the act (well some of them anyway).  Most of the newer buses in the UK have a hydraulic system that lowers the platform for wheelchair access. So now when they see me standing at the busstop with my massive suitcase looking forlorn…..they lower the platform! Yay!!! thank you!
And on that note I am going to end off with a happy sigh!  I have passed a major hurdle in my job hunt; been for an interview.  I loath interviews, but actually this one I quite enjoyed. Hope it bodes well for my prospects!
Tah dah. Chat again soon.

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