Tide of time

Interesting.  We’ve spent the second bit of half-term waking up the fact that Stage 3 is almost on us and, unless there’s an earthquake in the space-time continuum, there’s no going back.  We’re off.

As a result we’ve been pottering about doing small bits of admin, probably best told by a series of photos:


new backpacks for the very long walks we’re going to be doing

The aim was to get backpacks that could double as cabin luggage.  C went for a v expensive, but pretty brilliant, Osprey.  I used her £70 voucher from school to get an inov8 from the running shop.

Next I built a net……..

net....for something too dull to stick in the blog

net….for something too dull to stick in the blog

And finally, with C’s iPhone 4 and Vodaphone driving her demented, we bought her an idiot’s phone which not only is easy to use, but actually works inside the house.  Vodaphone have a lot to answer for.

the idiot proof phone next door to the.....

the idiot proof phone next door to the…..

More tea vicar?


C and Julia working their way through a mountain of food

In a change to publicised programmes (rattling round an almost empty house) C and I had tea at Ston Easton with her ex-matron, Julia, and her husband Julian.  Full tea was a triple layered cake stand with more calories than an ice cream van.  Fabulous!

It was good to have Bex and Steven with us still – last night at ‘Spoons for steak night. Today she drove her new car without major incident and they’re now cooking lasagna for us.  Steven is a northerner, so doesn’t even know where the kitchen is, let alone cook.  So the results should be interesting.

Off to Brissel tomorrow (sorry Bristol) to look at some stuff for Stage Three.  And then a few relaxing days before the final stint.  I’ll keep you posted.

Moving (on)…….


today we are mostly moving

We made it to half term. Actually I think we did better than that. Work has been good, not in a way where I think I’m making a huge mistake by leaving, but it’s had its moments of ‘things happening’ and fun. C continued to the last minute sticking stuff in boxes and labeling in way that would be acceptable to the National Socialist Party. By Friday we were ready.

lens is not wide enough to show whole van

lens is not wide enough to show whole van

Saturday saw us pick up the van. C had ordered a normal transit type thing, but I upgraded to a white van the size of Hertfordshire. And we needed it. It took us about 5 hours to pack it (carefully) – if you’re going to save stuff for the dribbling stage, it might as well be in good nick when you collect it. I now know why we have so many bed sheets and blankets.

I was worried. First I didn’t really want all of Jen’s neighbours seeing us unpack our worldy belongings into a lock up. Second I feared the garage

back wall of garage

back wall of garage

would be too small. Van = Hertfordshire. Garage = Rutland. I needn’t have worried. I underestimated the acreage of the garage and whilst it’s packed full (and we have a little more stuff to bring down) we managed. And nothing really broke in the process.

Got back home on the Saturday for the second (smaller) pack of the pine furniture to go to Bex. I write this first bit just before we head off to Birmingham. Here we will unload the kit into Bex’s new place for next year and, by the way, meet the new man. As a father I’m never sure what I think about Bex and men. Probably v much to her embarrassment I shall let you know when we get back from Birmingham later today…….

Back from Birmingham. All’s well with man (Steven) and dropping off our kit to fill her new room. She’s living with friends of hers from church next year whilst continuing to work in Wolverhampton. Drove back to Wells, filled the van with fuel (£50) and dropped it back at the hirers. Bex and man turning up tomorrow to pick up her car and spend a couple of half term days with us.

It would, I guess, be wrong to sign off without a few words about a couple of current affairs that have sparked interest.  First the EU elections.  What will it be like in Strasbourg waking up on Tuesday morning?  I don’t know the details, but it seems a large percentage of MPs are now far right and far left souls.  Mr Farage (a little toad-like don’t you think?) will now be joined by a rowdy group of very well paid Eurosceptics without a single strategic thought between all of them.   Anti-austerity nationalism, underpinned by a huge slice of xenophobia, will echo round the parliamentary chambers.  The good news for us idle folk who couldn’t be bothered to vote is that even if they were to come together and deliver some outrageous policy or other, the resultant law(s) will be ignored by the French, be too expensive to implement for the Greeks, Spanish, Italians and Portugese and would be unconstitutional in Germany.  We, of course, will implement the laws efficiently but with a dose of pragmatism.  The only discernible outcome will be The Mail’s recurrent headlines which will follow the theme of “Disaster – where have all the plasterers gone?”

Much more fun (and certainly much more interesting): how did McIlroy win the PGA Championships?  And can England string two decent innings together?



let packing commence

I really don’t want to say that I am feeling better.  Indeed, I’m not going to publish this post until I am completely confident that I am full of beans.  Mix this with some good running (6 x 400m with the kids tonight) and C’s obsessional approach to packing everything that needs packing and we have a new(ish) dawn.  Add to this that my mate JB who has offered his daughter’s 2006 Proton Savvy for Bex at a v reasonable price, the sun shines and the JS is all coming together v nicely, and we seem to be on the cusp of transformational change.  Ok, so it’s only us chickens getting in the mood for D-Day in a way that is tangible, but bearing in mind how difficult the last 4 months have felt, it’s all a positively positive thing.  I can feel an hurrah coming on: hurrah!!

Of course there will be speed bumps on the way – although ‘the way’ is only 5.5 working weeks left.  Doubtless something will break or some small part of the earth will open up and swallow something we really needed when we weren’t looking and that will be annoying.  But I think we getting somewhere close to really feeling as though this is going to actually happen.  (I’ve just reread the last two sentences; I think I might get in trouble from the verbose police and the odd English teacher – there’s at least one split infinitive there.  Ho hum).  But I say again, this is actually going to happen.

By the way, I’m writing this among my A-level maths students who are again, this evening, sat dutifully beavering away.  I am going to miss this.  I do love the teaching and I get a great warmth and chuckleness when they respond to the odd bit of ribbing (which is always free in my lessons).  They often give as good back so all’s fair.

This, therefore, must be the most positive post since all this began last October.  Well there’s a thing…..


If you’re reading this retrospectively I’m sat on the Sunday morning of that v sunny weekend in late May.  It’s D-42, or just 35 working days left.  Work has been good.  Indeed because the JS is fulfilling and the maths revision fun (and some other stuff is interesting) I have lost that feeling of dark mornings.  For those of you interested my head is still all over the place, but C is running and feeling so much better.

imageYesterday we delivered the dining room table to a lady in Nether Wallop.  Thanks to the school for lending us their flatbed.  Yes we lost a lot of money on it and she has got a table worth maybe three times what she paid for it, but it seems to have gone to a good home.  We made the trip in glorious sunshine, but the real warmth came from seeing the huge dent in the garage.  It was a massive piece of furniture which, now gone, means we can start to unload stuff into the garage for next weekend where we have our very own white van to move stuff to Bex’s and Jen’s.  Today, however, we are working at Jen’s in the garage to create room and order for the move.

Blessed?  Sunshine, feeling slightly better, stuff actually going – almost like a point of no return – and a real feeling of well being casseroled with a dollop of luck.  Fabulous.

Almost another week goes by……

No relevance, just the big purple flower outside the house....

No relevance, just the big purple flower outside the house….

First can I say that I have been busy at school.  I wouldn’t want any of my teacher friends to think that my mind was elsewhere and focused on D-Day.  I am a busy and important person and I don’t have time to think about the next stage.  Except…..   JP and I have spent sometime together sorting out the whole solar panel thing;  he is the brightest man I know (a pragmatic scientist) and has talked me through a lot of stuff about V=IR and similar.  His office has, at times, become my office and I will forever be in his debt.

And there has been some more things coming together in terms of the forward planningness of everything.  We have booked a big white van for the first bit of half-term to move stuff about.  The aim is to get to the Wednesday and be living in an empty shell.  That will mean 5 weeks of nothingness, but we can always sleep in Doris (what fun!).

Indeed, we are remarkably calm about everything.  It’s as though we have too much time to get this sorted out.  We have over a week in the house post Speech Day – to do what, I’m not sure?  Yes we’ve got some big stuff to do: fix the top to the roof-rack, get fulltiming insurance, write change of addresses and more.  But not 7 weeks’ worth?  C is already impatient and rattling about the house.  But I can’t finish work any faster.

So patience and calm are a couple of watch words….

And here’s an interesting question should any fulltimers be reading this.  Am I alone in being the only person not able to think about post 6 July?  I cannot get my head around it in any way.  If I start to imagine what it might be like, my mind automatically slips into thinking about something else.  It’s all v strange.

Am eBay meister……..

With the scantest instructions from a friend at school I put our v precious Edwardian dining room table on eBay.  I was nervous.  Nervous that we might sell it and how did that work (dispatching it to the far-flung corners of the UK).  Nervous that I might not sell it and we’d have wasted a week with no reward.  Well now.  With a starting bid of £500 we got one bid in the final 30 seconds of the auction at about 8.50 on the Sunday evening and it was sold.  In a mad panic since I have sort of arranged to deliver it next Saturday after school using the school flatbed.  Phew.

Other than that time ticks on.  We’re both v fidgety.  C just wants to clear out of the house. I have plenty to keep me occupied at work and can’t focus on July.  Stuff gets moved from room to room without seemingly any real progress.  The table going at the weekend will clear out the garage, where we can then put stuff to take to Bex at half term.  And then it’s the assault on Jen’s garage and attic emptying where we are now, into where it needs to be next.  The aim is to clear everything before the end of term – pretty much.  We shall see. We have one more carboot load which we will take to Bristol at the end of half term where Jen will join us.  Hopefully it will be sunny!  As an aside, whilst waking up this morning I reread part of ‘Eric and Shazza’s’ (same sort of story, about a year ahead of us) prelude to pushing off in their van.  He said they had 4 months of early Sundays at car boots?  I really think we will get away with two; no, not two months, just two trips……  Perhaps we are selling our stuff too cheaply or we are selling much less stuff?  Who knows, but it’s all going!

In other interesting developments (ok, not that interesting) I have ordered a new solar panel controller.  It’s a complicated story, with potentially mis-wiring by the dealer when the panel was fitted.  I am no expert, but I am starting to b$_35ecome one.  And the panel should go straight into the box that supplies and controls the 12v.  But instead it’s plugged directly onto the leisure battery which I don’t think is the best job.  Anyhow, I’m going to give it a  go.  Let’s hope I don’t set fire to the place.

That’s all for now. D-46 and still counting.

[Afternote – lovely sunny morning, but still not on top of morale.  Measured flatbed to make sure table would fit (which it does) and head giving me gip.  Oh to wake up feeling well……..]



Car Boot 1: Stuff Left in Spare Room (almost) 0

photoWell, how lucky are we?  We didn’t car boot last weekend because the weather was poor.  We automatically went yesterday because the weather was better.  Lady luck ensured that this was a Bank Holiday weekend and delivered fabulous weather.  We arrived at 7.30 to find the main field almost overflowing.  We managed to just get on, which adding to the charmedness of the day meant we were in a v prime spot.  We sold three-quarters of what we took and ended up £350 better off, a sum I have designated as ‘special projects’ – to allow us to get stuff for the van we need.

I also got, what looks like, a 40W solar panel for £10 (down from £20 – I am an Essex bloke).  I’ve no idea whether or not it’s going to work in the van, but I’ll give it a try.

In the afternoon, still bathed in glorious sunshine, we walked along the Tor ridge, unnameddown through Dinder and back in.  A good day overall.  Oh, and I just noticed, that I have under 50 working days left.  Can’t be all bad.

Found this…….

A number of things to report.  First C has been given the all clear with her broken leg and discharged from Taunton.  So it’s back in training for thephoto (12) next Olympics.  Whilst we were waiting about in Taunton I skimmed through the photos on my phone and found this from when we were cycling in London to and fro from Tommies  and Abbeywood to see Mum.

In terms of prep we have decided to try and clear the house over summer half term (just 3 weeks away), including a trip to Birmingham to deliver what Bex wants from the house.  Looking at it that way we are just 8 working weeks away from D Day.  And that’s a v sobering thought for us all.  C currently on the floor making our sheets ‘fitted’.  And I’m just about to go and do one of my evening exam sessions……hurrah!