Thursday, 27 March 2008

Got the keys

Thank you to all of you who have visited and left sweet comments for me. It really makes my heart happy to know there are people out there wishing us well and who still pop by to have a look even when I forget to post for days on end!!

The last couple of days have been rather stressful - first the money for the deposit went out of my bank but then didn't go into the letting agent's account. Having read various reports about this whilst trying to figure out why it takes up to 4 days to do something that would be instantaneous had I chosen to pay my bank the money to do it in branch (the cheek of asking me for money to click a few buttons I could do myself at home was too much for me to swallow) made me aware of how much interest these banks are making on interest by holding our money for as long as possible!! Oh do not get me started, I am fuming!!

Then of course there is the fact that the letting agents (yes we are somehow working with 2 agents for one flat with a landlord who lives in Singapore *sigh*) know we wanted to move in asap as I start a new job on Monday and do not want to be coming home and moving house after work that first week when I've had a whole week off free to do it now! Yet although they knew this very fact we had to push them to draw up the agreement whilst waiting for the money to clear - if it wasn't for persistent calls and emails we'd have still been waiting now for the contract to be made up and sent to us! So much for the 5-7 working days we were told it would take to get us into the place.

Of course a few more phonecalls later, the eventual arrival of our transfer into the agent's account and a quick trip down to the 1st letting agent to hand in the contract (and have them ring the 2nd agent who deals with contracts about the amendment we made due to somebody's negligence earlier on in terms of length of tenancy) meant I finally picked up the first set of keys today! *PHEW*

We're still waiting for the inventory check to be done and sent to us and we still need to contact them about the second set of keys and which electricity supplier they use (because if we change to one different to the previous tenant we have to pay any charges to put it back again at the end of tenancy). All I can say is I am glad we only have electricity in the flat and only have to set up one account rather than another one for gas as well!!

I popped along with some groceries for this evening's meal and tomorrow's breakfast but am waiting for T to come home so we can start moving things over. His sister is dropping her daughter off at his mum's tomorrow so she can come and help me clean and then the fun of getting a bed made up (rather than a mattress on the floor) and the sofa, tables, chairs etc into the flat and up all the stairs begins - but oh how very glad I am to finally have the keys and access to the flat - I cannot wait to get started on it!!

I shall probably be offline for a while as we get settled and wait for connection to the internet to be sorted but I hope to be back online very shortly with all the news and loads of piccies too!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Gosh how long it's been and how much has happened

I'm so sorry for the lack of updates and my absence from the blogging world. I have been online, but my time has been taken up by budgets, house viewings, arguing with my bank about trying to charge me to transfer money, sorting out paperwork for my new job, trying to find cheap (and free) furniture for the flat we found, packing mine (and T's) stuff and saying my goodbyes at home!

It's been a very exciting, stressful and bittersweet couple of weeks... we found the most perfect flat after looking at some really horrid places (seriously I never even lived in such places as a student!!!) and thinking we were doomed to live in a place where even a whole-house disinfectant wouldn't get rid of the "unclean" feeling! I have some photos on T's mum's camera but need to wait for him to put them onto the computer for me (I don't have the right software on my own laptop). As soon as I have them I shall post some before and after pictures!

T has returned to work today after a glorious week off together, where we even set up a joint bank account :o) According to T's sister we are now married in the financial world lol!! We've been offered furniture, tins of food and cleaning products from all members of both sides of the family, so we are now ready to go. The only thing is that the money for the deposit has gone out of my account but not cleared with the bank the letting agency uses, so we cannot get the keys until a-bank-that-shall-not-be-named sorts itself out and clears it. So for now I am spending my days packing up all of T's things (I don't know how he dare say I have more clothes than him!!!) and looking after his niece who is currently painting a piggy bank whilst his parents pick up the free sofa from a kind person who advertised on gumtree!

I love spending time at T's - I get to see both his nieces and get to know his family better. If I'd still been living in Cambridge when I met him I might never have been forced to spend so much time here and neither would he have got to know my family so well. This weekend the parents meet - it should be an interesting (and scary) experience!

There's another reason this week is bittersweet - I said goodbye to my hometown for what may be the last time. I have left home so many times over the past 6 years - but I always knew I'd be returning for holidays and things (such is the life of a student). When I graduated I went home but relations were so strained between my mum and myself that my dad told me if I didn't leave I'd do irrepairable damage - he was right! So I left, and things were HARD! Going home and actually healing my relationship with my mum was the best thing I ever did and I am so glad I am leaving this time in good spirits and knowing that although I am so excited to finally have a place to call my own (not a shared house with random strangers) I will still miss being so close (geographically speaking) to my family.

*edit* had to stop writing as the sofa arrived - it is beautiful with a capital beau and it has free cushions and a free throw!! T's mum has also got out her old sewing machine so I can have a go at making more nice things to go with it - yay!

It is now the morning after I first wrote this post - I've just seen T off for work, with a lovely pack-up which includes my Grandma's homemade Lincolnshire plum bread! That's another thing - it seems only us Lincolnshire folk say "pack-up" everybody else calls it a packed-lunch... most times I say "pack-up" people give me a blank look and ask me what on earth I'm talking about. Does anybody else have such phrases that they took as normal until they met people from further afield and realised it was only a local saying?

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Ok - for some reason I am ever so slightly stressed. It may be that this is my final week at the uni and I feel sad to be leaving my students so close to their finishing. It may also be that I want to be down in Cambridge with T already and I know once I am down there, that is it - I never have to make do with the occasional weekend here and there anymore. It may also be due to the fact that however excited I am about my new job, new jobs are scary and at present I also have to find a house close enough for me to get to work on time (which pretty much means walking, cycling because the buses to all the cheaper places in and around Cambridge do not go early enough in the morning to allow me time to get from the bus stop to my work on time *sigh*).

So it's time I looked back over the past year and reminded myself just how much I have achieved, how much has changed and how this feels so "right" that I can and should trust that all will be well and we will find a place, on our budget, in the right area, at the right time...

Let's go back a year. I had just decided to leave my old nursery. I was so upset but I knew there was no other option for me. I had tried for months to get a raise, to find a way of cutting back on outgoings but there is only so much a girl can do - 2 meals a day (breakfast and lunch) are by no means enough to keep one going for more than a few months! I considered what I had of value to sell so I could stay there - that's how committed I was - but, alas, having been a poor student previously I had nothing of value - even my laptop was falling to bits.

I was sad to be leaving the babies and their parents - but happy and relieved as well. I knew I had no life. I couldn't afford to go out, so my life revolved around work, reading on the bus to and from work and staring at a computer screen trying to amuse myself. I went out with a few guys but nothing ever came of it because it just wasn't right for me at that time - I had no energy - our nursery was overstretched, underbudgeted and I came home stressed each day and so tired I couldn't be bothered to do anything but slob around the house.

I also had the worry of paying off my overdraft. That was the decision maker - there was no way I could stay in Cambridge if I couldn't get out of my debt. So I swallowed my pride, spoke to my parents and came home...

At first it was a blessing. But I felt lost for many months. I tried to start a business but I was too scared that it would succeed and I'd do something wrong to do anything about it. And then I met Tim.

He lived in Cambridge and we began talking online. This was about a week after I left Cambridge. We got to know each other and met about a month later when I returned to Cambridge for the weekend. He then came to visit me for the weekend. And so it continued, as we built up a firm friendship. I remember thinking when I met him that I could really like this guy, but I wasn't attracted to him. I also remember talking to friends and knowing I wasn't attracted to him because I was terrified of love.

It was like I gave myself permission to look after myself, to be looked after and to take time. And suddenly things happened. T and I began dating sometime in October. Just after I started working at the uni. I was busy most weekends, travelling to see friends all over the country. I didn't have time but I made time and I did so gladly. I freaked out big time and almost stopped our relationship before it even began - but T was an absolute star and helped me through my fears... now I feel so comfortable with him on all levels that I not only want to live with him, but I also had the most fun I've had in a long time in a heated debate (lots of shouting) about science and scientists who proclaim to know "the truth" and then change their minds 5 months later. I've never enjoyed debating in my life - but with T it's different. I know without a doubt that no matter how heated our discussion gets, he loves me and respects me and I love him and respect him and for me that meant I could lose myself in the moment and yell about how I felt about science until I turned blue and it didn't matter. Boy, was it fun!!

So that's where I am - I've gone from lonely, stressed, and penniless to having a boyfriend who is also my best friend, a new family (including two nieces I am unofficially adopting as my nieces too lol) and I am about to move back to the city I have adored since I first began staying there when I was 18. I am moving back into childcare with the prospects of finally getting some proper qualifications in it and I couldn't be happier... so what am I stressing about? Nothing, really... the rest is immaterial...

Now, how can I tell my overactive mind to remember that?! lol

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Sunshine and smiles

Ok so this photo was actually taken (by me *giggles*) a few weeks back at one of my favourite joints in Cambridgeshire. But the picture sums up just how I was feeling Wednesday at 10am, 11am and about 1:30pm and then again at about 3pm!!!

As tyou may have guessed my interview went well! At 10am I found myself at a wonderful nursery, so different in style to my old nursery it was incredible. At 11am I found myself leaving the interview with the words "we'd really like to give you a job, we'll see what we can sort out salary wise for you" ringing in my ears. At 1:30pm I was on the phone agreeing to a decent salary and prospects of both training and a even better salary for less hours within the next year hopefully. At at 3pm I agreed with my current agency that my notice period would be cut short so I could begin after the Easter break.

So that was m Wednesday - all sunshine and smiles...

It is only now dawning on me that I have one week left at my current job (due to Easter holidays), and 3 weeks in which to find an affordable place to live. I begin work on 31st March and I cannot wait - I do not know the exact details of my work (i.e. what age group I'll be working with) but I do know it is 41 hours spread over 4 long days and one half day - that suits me fine! There are baby signing classes for staff starting in April - whoo hoo! And once they are sure I am settled there I will be starting child care qualifications, jumping straight to level 3 due to my already have a range of experience and a degree... as far as I'm concerned life couldn't be better...

I feel so blessed!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Sacred Life Sunday - Poetry

In response to my recent post about faith, Ladybug left me a comment including the following quotation from Joseph Campbell: "The problems with religion in our society throughout the ages all come back to the simple fact that people take (the word) as prose instead of poetry". This struck a deep chord with me because not only did it make sense, but also poetry is such a large part of my life - indeed it is a sacred part of my life!

I have been a lover of poetry since receiving a children's treasury of poems for my 7th birthday. Excitedly, I would look through the pages, and learn my favourite poems by heart. By the age of 12 I was trying to write my own poetry - rather crude poetry with no thought given to metre or rhythm, just hoping it would rhyme. As I grew older and wiser (in terms of both life and literature) my poetry developed and at 18 I had my first poem published in an anthology. And as my faith grew, my poetry took on an even greater meaning in my life - it became a way of expressing the beauty I could not speak of in any other way.

Poetry, real poetry, doesn't come from hours of sitting and trying to get the right tone or rhythm, neither does it come from years of study or thought - I remember being highly irritated by literature teachers who tried to teach me this!! True poetry, to me, is that which flows right from the centre of your being. It is the manifestation of your thoughts and desires, the prayer from your heart and the emotion you feel in the pit of your stomach. It is thoughtful, clever, witty, yet full of personality. It moves you on a level you cannot explain - it touches your soul.

By no means do I like all poetry - some pieces fail to touch me in any way - yet I am sure for someone, somewhere, they are the most perfectly formed strings of words and letters, enclosing the secrets of eternity within them. And that is what poetry is to me - a whispered secret, of wisdom and power so great and beautiful that sometimes I do not see them at first, but on coming back to meet it again and again a little bit more is revealed. The same words may be spoken to a thousand people and yet each one will experience something different. The relationship between poet and language and then poem and reader is so unique, there is no wonder that Campbell referred religion to poetry. What else is faith but an expression of the Divine in ways that we can share and understand? The connection we have to God, whatever that may be, is unique to us, because the whole of creation is so immensely powerful that no one person knows it all. It is by coming together, sharing in unity our own understanding and listening to another's interpretation that we learn and grow.

Life is beautiful, and so very sacred and what better way to share this than through art? For me, my canvas is paper and my paint is language - words and letters that when expressed with love can create the greatest masterpiece on earth. And so I leave you with one of my most favourite poems of all time. It is by Max Ehrmann and was written in 1927 and is called The Desiderata of Happiness.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others,

even the dull and the ignorant;

they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,

they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,

you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;

for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals;

and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love;

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment

it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,

be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.