Time for a couple more journal entries, just one per month on this occasion so I’ve bundled them together. But there’s been plenty going on, including a farewell dinner for a colleague who had recently left, meeting a friend’s new baby, and another visit by our builder to get some work done. So I hope you enjoy!
Saturday April 11, 2015
Just thought I’d do another quick entry to keep things up to date. It was Easter last weekend, and our builder came round on both the Friday and the Monday. He didn’t do the roof – he’s hoping to come round in the next couple of weeks for that – but he did do the other little jobs around the house. We’ve got a couple of new LED lights in the lounge over the dining table, a new latch on the toilet door, a new flap on the letterbox, a new cupboard door in the kitchen, and my old bedroom at the front of the house has been freshly painted and the wallpaper pasted back on properly. I’m pretty comfortable in the back bedroom now that I’m moved in there. It’s quite a warm room, so I don’t need the heating on much. We ended up swapping the beds round as well, so I carried on sleeping in the same one – the bed that was in the back room wasn’t quite as comfortable really. Anyway, the slider control on the box that controls the central heating in the kitchen has come off now too. I’ve emailed him about that and he’s going to try and pop over on Monday to fix that if he can. And then hopefully it won’t be too long after that before he does the roof.
Other than that, last night I joined a group of current and former colleagues from work, several of whom had also brought their partners along, at the local pub by the cinema to have a farewell meal for TB. He was surprised and grateful to see so many of us there.
Our manager had printed off a big picture of him with the zimmer frame that one of the guys had jokingly got him, which was pretty funny. The frame’s been cut up since then I think, as he wasn’t able to take it home, but it’s good that he’s got a picture of it. The other funny thing was hearing that someone from another department, among a few people who had joined us at the last Christmas meal, had actually believed me when I joked I would be driving home, probably because she’d had a drink or two at the time anyway. So she went home to her husband, telling him that I would be driving home, and he had to persuade her that I wouldn’t be! So that was amusing.
I had the Hunter’s Chicken for my meal – chicken breast covered in bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce, with chips and peas, which was very nice. We were there for a good couple of hours, before we went to a couple of other pubs down the high street nearby. Not everyone came with us to those extra pubs, of course, but quite a few did, with their partners in most cases. I was drinking cider for the evening of course, and very cheaply given that a few people were voluntarily buying most of them for me! I chipped in £10 at the first pub we went to after the meal, but that was it, meaning I ended up having 4 and a half pints for £10 – not bad!
So it was a fun night. I was fine walking home by myself, but a colleague accompanied me anyway, as she lives nearby, and I got home about 12:15am. I felt fine this morning too. I don’t seem to get horrible, headache-inducing hangovers like some people, thankfully!
There isn’t much else to mention really. Election work’s still going on – with pollcards done, it’s on to Mayoral booklets and accompanying letters, and getting ready for postal votes. And regarding my best mate’s wedding, I’ve booked my flights for going over in July for the suit fitting and stag night, having already booked my September trip. He’s found the hotel I’m staying at in September, which really is nice and close to the reception venue, so he’s going to show me where it is in July in order for me to get my bearings.
So it’ll be interesting to see if anything else happens this month, particularly regarding work on the house. We’ll just have to wait and see, but we’ve got our fingers crossed!
Sunday May 31, 2015
Time for another update – though not about the house, which is unsurprising, let’s face it. Our builder friend had promised he would try and do the roof before going on holiday for the last part of May and most of June, but didn’t. Mum and I have decided we’re going to have to push harder to get it done. We’ve been as patient as we possibly can be given his circumstances, but there isn’t really any excuse for him not to do it now. He seems to be putting it off because it’ll be complicated – particularly getting rid of the asbestos slates – yet it’s the only thing stopping us from selling up and moving. So it really is frustrating for us.
Instead, my news this week is that I met up with AB & ST yesterday. I haven’t seen either of them for well over a year, given everything that’s been going on in AB’s life. She’s now living in Totnes at her mother’s house with her new baby, until she can find a Council house of her own soon. She’s on the list to get one, so it’s just a waiting game really.
Her baby was born about a month early and had some complications, but currently seems to be doing well. Chances are she also has sight problems as well, inherited from her parents in some fashion, though it’s too early to tell for sure what they might be. She’s having regular tests to see how she’s doing, so as she gets older a proper diagnosis can be made.
Anyway, getting to Totnes was very easy. There’s a relatively new Stagecoach Gold service that runs between Torquay and Plymouth, passing through Paignton and Totnes on the way. So I can pick it up from the bus station or a stop near Paignton Zoo quite easily, depending on what’s more convenient at the time. They’re relatively more luxurious than the regular buses, including more comfortable seating, trained uniformed drivers, free wi-fi and cleaner engine emissions. And they run every half an hour, which is good. It was easy to see where to get off in Totnes as well, as the Royal Seven Stars is very recognisable once you’ve seen a picture of it.
After I met AB there, we waited for ST to come from the railway station in a taxi, which was just a few minutes after I arrived. We popped into the clothing shop Peacocks first of all, so AB could show ST some baby clothes she’d put aside, and they ended up buying a couple of the outfits. ST is one of 4 godmothers, and there are at least a couple of godfathers too.
We then went to a riverside pub called the Steam Packet Inn. I’d already eaten fish and chips at home, as I didn’t know we’d be having lunch. But as it had been a couple of hours, and I didn’t want to sit there doing nothing while they ate, I had a burger and fries and a couple of Cokes. We sat outside at the back, next to the river, which was good, and the weather was nice.
After that we walked back to AB’s Mum’s house, which was quite a long walk – at least half an hour, if not longer. There is most likely a quicker route, but we took a route past a park, through the railway station car park, and then down a long cycle and pedestrian path that went through lots of greenery and by the river at one point – AB’s reasoning being that it’s better than the main road, as it’s easier to talk where it’s quieter, and it’s probably safer as well. It was a nice walk anyway, there are some good views along the way.
The last time I saw AB’s Mum and her partner was, I assume, at AB’s wedding, though I really don’t remember. Before that it would have been quite a few years since I last saw them. They left the three of us to ourselves though. The baby was asleep in her room when we got there, so we didn’t wake her, instead sitting in the conservatory and having a chat. They’ve got two dogs there as well – Betsy and Florence – which are all black, and very much like carpets on legs given their soft, fluffy, curly fur. Florence in particular is very friendly, a great lover of attention. She was happy to roll over and have her stomach stroked, or just sit there while she was petted. Sometimes she’d even put her front paws up on our laps, or lick my hands and legs. They’re both very cute animals, and they don’t have a problem with the baby, though Florence gets a bit agitated if AB’s feeding the baby and not giving her any fuss. And the baby doesn’t have a problem with the dogs if they’re barking.
We did get to see the baby after a little while though, as AB had to wake her to change and feed her, both of which she did without any fuss or trouble. The baby did cry a little, but was very well-behaved. She wasn’t a screamer, thankfully. AB even let ST & I hold her. It made sense for ST too given that she’s the godmother, but I hadn’t expected to be asked as well, especially as I’ve never held a baby before. But AB was happy for me to do so, and showed me how to cradle her, resting her head in the crook of my elbow, with my other hand supporting her head, while my opposite hand supported her upper legs.
It was a lovely moment – it’s hard not to smile around babies, especially when you’re holding one and staring straight into their eyes like that. She’s beautiful and was very quiet and content, not moving around much. AB’s Mum said the baby likes the sound of male voices, and she kept looking straight at me, no doubt trying to figure who this strange new person was! So it was nice holding her and talking to her, and AB was very pleased with how well both the baby and I were doing. AB took some pictures as well, having already taken pictures of ST holding her, and then AB’s Mum took a picture of AB holding the baby next to ST & I.
AB also showed me her new phone – a Samsung Galaxy – so I could have a look at it. It does have a nice, big, clear screen, and she says you can adjust the font size to your liking as a global setting for all the apps. So when I do get a smartphone, it is a model that could be worth considering. It would still be worth going into a shop and playing with one properly perhaps, as with the iPhone, but the Samsung is quite a popular model too, and no doubt cheaper.
ST’s also doing fine as well, by the way, not to neglect her in any of this. She’s still working at the same company, having been there 10 years now, and she’s now got a third nephew, with a fourth on the way, so her two brothers have been quite busy! So she’s happy with how things are going. And AB’s Dad is doing all right, as he called AB yesterday.
ST & I left just before 8pm. ST got a taxi to the station, while I was able to catch a bus home from a stop just down the road from AB’s Mum’s house. And it was an enjoyable day all in all. Given everything that AB’s been through, it’s great to see that she and and the baby are doing well. And it was lovely to hold a baby for the first time in my life too.
I don’t know when I’ll see AB next, but I’m really hoping that when I do, I’ll be able to tell her that we’re finally moving. We’ll just have to see how well we get on with badgering our builder when he gets back, but we are determined to get the work out of the way once and for all if we can manage it. So that’s the next thing we’ll be focusing on if we can.