I got invited to review “We Are Many” a documentary about the anti-war demos of 2003, though looking back to my blog posts at the time, I think I was more concerned about the death of my cat. Anyway, this is what I thought of the documentary…
So, I had my last day. Decided not to have a leaving do because…I’m not very good at leaving dos, and there is a possibility that I might (one day) be back as an associate.
There were a couple of days left to that last week, so I spent them developing an idea for interactive textbooks (still technically in development, but…hmmm). Then on the following Monday I started a three-month contract working with a virtual team for an e-learning agency. Its a bit odd, this working at home lark. It took a couple of attempts to rearrange my work area (in the back living room) and it still isn’t quite right. But after two months I’ve worked out a daily routine and all I’ve got to do now is build a little more time in for exercise and fitness.
We all did a house swap in Cornwall for Easter, looking after the lovely Pepe for Lone, who looked after the guinea pigs, cats and goldfish in Nunhead. Our usual approach to Cornwall is to load up with the wet weather gear and plenty of reading matter for rainy days but the climate decided to pull a fast one on us and give us more than two warm sunny days in a row! We actually got out for plenty of walks (minus Pepe, who is feeling his age a bit and just about manages a toddle around Loe Bar before getting homesick).
Our trips included a walk around the Lizard Peninsula, which was busy but absolutely gorgeous. We did our usual thing of getting lost on the way back, but I really didn’t fancy chancing my dodgy hip on the cliff path again. But it was fun and we ate pasties and took photos and muttered at the prices charged by the National Trust cafe.
Funnily enough, I was expecting to see more UKIP posters, like the last time we were in Cornwall, but they weren’t much in evidence. One estate we drove through had a street-full of Labour posters, but there were fields of Conservative posters and a couple of LibDems. Think Cornwall feels abandoned by all the main political parties. There were a lot of Independent councillors and a few Kernow-style nationalists. Still, it was good to get away from London for a few days.
When we got back, it was back to work in the study and a visit from my baby cousin Chanelle. She needed to get some shopping out of her system after a month in the middle of nowhere.
Charlie also got into her first choice school: Deptford Green. It’s a modern comprehensive with fantastic facilities, nice teachers and umm…improving…exam results. I think she’ll flourish there and the school will give her plenty of options. She’s pretty clever but she’s also got a real head for business that I’m not sure would be encouraged at a more academic school.
Remember I told you about that job where I worked on a tiny team, doing lots of projects? Well, as of 25 February, I will be working there no more. I won’t go into the messy detail, but after a lot of soul-searching, I decided that the time had come for me to cut loose and try contracting/freelancing again.
I’ve set up the portfolio and my LinkedIn profile is up to date. I’ve registered with some agencies and I’ve got a couple of applications in progress. On top of that, a contact has an idea about iBooks which could prove very interesting indeed.
I suspect that a number of factors will make work slow to begin with, but I’m fairly confident that my skills and experience will net me a set of interesting, intriguing jobs in the future. I’ll have to be more careful about budgeting and get my admin organised, but I think the payoff will be worth it: more time with Martin and Charlie, and maybe even a chance at finishing my MA .
In other news, Charlie sprained her knee while we were rearranging her bedroom a couple of days ago. It meant a trip to A&E in an ambulance, but by the time the doctor got around to seeing us (two hours…not bad, considering) the swelling had gone down and she could almost walk normally. She’s still got a swollen knee but she’s not in much pain.
And…I am now a committee member of Nunhead WI. We had our inaugural meeting last night. We expected around 20 people to turn up, but to our surprise nearly 80 women squeezed into the upstairs room at the Old Nun’s Head. I was very cold-ridden and trying not to die but we were all bowled over by the wealth of talent and enthusiasm of all the new members. We’ve got a political lobbyist turned artist, several fundraisers, teachers, civil servants, researchers and marketeers, not to mention lawyers, project managers and crafters. Our next meeting is Monday 16 March and I have no idea what’s going to happen, but it’ll be fun finding out.
There have been a number of reasons for this. One is that the new job turned out to be very full-on and intense (it still is, but at least I’m not crying with exhaustion at the end of each week). That led to me dropping most of the things that interest me in life, apart from the family, the cats and the odd knitting project. I even gave up the choir, though there were other reasons for that (let’s just say “musical differences”).
So, a brief summary.
- I work in a tiny team, doing more projects than I care to mention (though it’s relatively quiet right now) for a big training company.
- I dropped out of my MA for a year or two because I didn’t have time to devote to the study. Since then I’ve been looking at the Allotment movement and pondering a change in subject. There’s a lot in there about land rights, working class organisation/agitation and the management of leisure time.
- We acquired a rabbit called Smokey.
- We lost a rabbit called Smokey to our friendly local fox. Charlie found a small mammal’s digestive system neatly arranged on the lawn and we worked out that that was what he left of Smokey. She was a lovely rabbit.
- Charlie is in Year 6. This means looking at SECONDARY SCHOOLS. So, here are our choices:
- Martin is still playing with Konni Deppe, and he has a new trio called The Neighbours Trio, made up of a couple of excellent young local musicians (they have beards) and a grumpy balding guitar player. They’re playing at the Ivy House in March sometime.
- That’s it.
Oh, I’m going to have to do something about that, aren’t I? Well, it’s 2014, I’ve completed the big quilt that I started about a year ago. The other things that have happened are that I’ve got a new job as an instructional designer with a big UK training company. It’s quite a culture shock from staid old Thomson Reuters, but I think I’m slowly getting to grips with the job. I’m having to unlearn a lot of bad habits from the last nine years, and there’s a new challenge every day, but it’s definitely not boring.
What else? Well, we got through Easter without any major incident or hospital episode, which makes a nice change. Martin and Charlie went to Cornwall to look after their favourite dog for a couple of days. I joined them on Good Friday (I’d just like to say here that First Great Western is…meh), and we all drove home on Monday.
Charlie is now ten years old. She is very cheeky, but still doing well at school. We’re not looking forward to starting the big quest for a decent secondary school, but I think she’ll do well wherever she goes. She passed her Grade 2 Trumpet with a distinction, which is possibly cooler than the Blue Peter badge, but I may be overdoing the proud parent thing here…
So, we’re all fine. Life is fine. We live in a beautiful city that is being ravaged by the super rich, but they haven’t quite reached our little hill yet, so we’re safe…for now…
Mum and I spent a lovely day at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally a few weeks ago. We were bowled over by the skill, talent and creativity of the exhibitors, who were truly inspiring. I bought loads of things, including a lovely quilt panel set with instructions on creating Sachiko embroidery effects from Euro Japan Links. It was long enough to make a table runner, and it took me two weekends to complete. Obviously, I am not a natural quilter, and symmetry scares me. The squares don’t match up properly, and one of the sachiko panels is wayyyy off centre. I was half watching a Miyazaki film to get me in the right frame of mind, and I think we had got to a particularly weird bit when I started the panel. Well, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.
Here’s the finished article, laid out on the table. You can see the wonky bits at one end. This end will go by the window, where you won’t notice it as much.
Amazing how a few strategically-placed fruit bowls can improve things…