Friday, 26 November 2010

Goodbyes - Positive, and not so.

Written on Friday and not finished, but I will post anyway. We currently have a combination of fevers, colds, eye infections, chesty coughs, runny noses and about 1 foot of snow. Not the best conditions for moving. Where we will be moving to currently has a blizzard. The boss of removal men suggested they take huskies...

Anyone who has moved house and relocated, not just moved within a town or area but further afield, will be aware of the limbo that accompanies almost everything. Although intellectually you are aware that sometime next week all will change, life on a daily basis is still continuing: laundry still needs doing, the dog still needs walking, Angus still needs taking to school, and so on. Yet, when planning things, discussing events that will be happening over the next few weeks and so on, there is the repetition of, "But of course, this doesn't affect you," or reminding myself that this is not something I need to concern myself with as I will be living elsewhere. In effect, you start being disconnected and excluded from your current life.

We haven't started packing yet although we have done some re-arranging and a bit of rationalising, but on the whole our house looks little different from normal. To be honest, if Ken resigned his new job next week, we would carry on as before and nothing would have changed significantly. And yet, next week all will change: We will still be the same family but in a different place, needing to recreate routines, new places to go, to shop, to walk the dog, and so on in a new house with new patterns of living.

About the only thing making this seam even vaguely real is the need to say goodbye. I know in my head that there are some people whom I have grown to admire, enjoy the company of, respect, even love, who I will possibly never see again. Grasping the emotional reality of that is elusive, but practically I can at least reflect on the good times we have had together, thank them for being a part of my life and hope that at some stage our lives will cross again. Will some tenacity and good planning with some that will happen, but with many, I know it won't.

Last night I attended my last Mountain Rescue Team training session. Being a part of a MRT is a strange beast - some people assume things about your mountaineering ability that is complete myth (although you may actually aspire to it!), others assume that you are just a rather melodramatic rambler. The reality is that you are neither - you are a keen hillwalker with time and the inclination to help others. The adrenaline you get on a call out, opportunity to play (rarely) with helicopters, and the satisfaction you get from knowing or at least hoping, that you have made a positive impact on some stranger's life, are all plusses, although sometimes elusive. The team are a great bunch of people all connected by the hillwalking helpful approach. Consequently they are usually a sociable bunch, mostly friendly and accompanied by the usual mix of internal politics and personality clashes that you get with any cross-section of society. But I do love hanging out with them on a Thursday evening! I have thoroughly enjoyed at least 95% of my time with the team and I will miss them. Even though I have seen few outside of an MR activity, I will still miss them and can certainly say that I am grateful for having had their input in my life.

The not so positive good bye was at the vet's yesterday. Angus's rabbit Snow White developed a tooth abscess a few weeks ago and despite the vet's and Mum's (Snow White lives at my Mum's house) best attempts, by yesterday it had spread to her jaw. The kindest thing was to let her go. Angus and I went to the vets and we held her and said goodbye, thanking her for the fun we had and the joy that she had brought to our lives. Later Angus and I buried her in Mum's garden. It was a sad time for him and he cried a bit but in typical child fashion, then started talking about getting another rabbit when we move to the house we will be borrowing.

Hopefully more of the goodbyes will be more like the first and not so traumatic.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Isla's First Birthday

Isla's first year has flown past. I still remember the day we first met as though it was only yesterday, although thankfully I feel much better and a lot less tired than if that was really the case!
Last week Angus and I were reflecting on all that Isla has achieved this year, and she is wonderful! Angus told a friend of ours today how much he loves Isla, and judging from the way they play together, the feeling is mutual. I am so proud of my children - neither of them are angels, although Isla is close, but they are unique, wonderful little people and I am so curious to see how they will develop and grow, and what talents and gifts have been bestowed upon them. Mine is just the task to care, watch, and encourage, and offer the occasional nudge and word of guidance!

Isla had a family party on the Saturday before her birthday as her Dad was away at his new job for the actual day. Mum and Clive came over for a birthday tea, and Grandpa and Grandma came to stay for a long weekend. Presents arrived through the post for a few days, and came from friends, and there are allegedly still family presents on their way!
Enjoy the photos! As they were taken indoors in the dark, the lighting is terrible.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Life on the Go.

I am sitting in front of our lovely log burner, basking in its heat and reflecting over the highs and lows of the last month.

The true low was looking around Newcastle and the surrounding areas and not finding anywhere at all where I could envisage living and feeling at home. One month ago I was nearly in tears thinking of what life was to become and questioning everything I could think of about what it is that gives me peace and makes my life worth living. My family, of course, scored highly, as did my faith, but other than that, what makes me tick? I am not sure that I really found the answer, but aesthetics seemed to be high as well and the areas we were looking in scored a negative for that. Fortunately, after much prayer, reflection, discussion and maths, we started to look at a different area and finally decided that if we were careful we may be able to afford to live in the Tyne Valley, a beautiful area to the west of Newcastle with the River Tyne running through a rural valley. We subsequently found several villages that felt comfortable. Right Move led us to a house in Heddon-on-the-Wall which we will be renting from December 1st.

Heddon-on-the-Wall is a village build alongside Hadrian's Wall and has a part of the wall visible in a field near to where we will be living. There is a good school there, a nursery and a somewhat aspirationally named "Shopping Precinct"! There are four shops there, a vets, a nursery and most importantly of all, a coffee shop-come-deli! Hurrah. As soon as Ken saw that, he knew I would be able to find some peace!

Ken started work last Monday and is commuting on a weekly basis. He enjoyed his first week there although was complaining of having a somewhat "fried brain" by Friday evening. He likes his colleagues and is finding the job challenging in that he is looking at areas of engineering that he has not explored before. I think he is also excited by the opportunities he has although he is having to adjust to a company with far fewer resources than he had at Siemens. His new company is, after all, about the size of just his previous department!

The high was last week when Isla reached her first birthday, but that deserves a blog in its own right. Tomorrow night! In the meantime, I have to write lists and work out what little jobs need to be done before we leave; what services need to be stopped; things unjoined; items returned, and so on. Hopefully I won't end up with a list of lists, but I think there are going to be several lists on the go. At least I won't have to worry about forgetting things, just making sure I don't pack the lists!