Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hope for Us Yet

Spud had some exciting news for me last night. He worked out, using an online calculator, that with my salary and his 'potential' salary (if he gets the job he applied for recently) then we can almost certainly get a mortgage and a house of our own. We have always been fairly confident that we would get on the property ladder before we get married, as between us we have saved up a good deposit already, but Spud's research yesterday dispersed most of the remaining doubts and uncertainties. Unless housing prices rise dramatically in the next two years, we shouldn't have a problem.

There is also hope for my novel. My mother gave me some excellent advice the other day. She said that I should send the first chapter and a synopsis to publishers (I was originally going to send the whole thing which would cost a lot of time and money!) If I was to send just a chapter and synopsis then I am nearly ready to do just that. The first ten pages, at least, are completed almost to my satisfaction. I still intend to complete my novel at some point, even if I only receive rejections from publishers, but I might as well get on and give them a preview. Perhaps someone will see potential in it!

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Those of you who read my previous post will know that, 4 months, 28 application forms and 5 interviews later, I have a job. You may, however, be interested to know which one. The job I've ended up with is the one I wasn't so keen on. I made a very good impression at the other interview but unfortunately, due to outstanding competition, they couldn't offer me a permanent contract. They didn't want to lose me though and offered me relief work, so it wasn't an outright rejection.

The job I have secured is as a support worker. I will be working with adults with learning disabilities in a supported living complex, working all hours of the day and night. As far as I can work out, it's full time, but I will know the details when they write to me next week. I won't start until they have received a satisfactory CRB disclosure, which I'm hoping will give me a chance to pay my family a visit before beginning.

So although it wasn't my first choice, at least I have the assurance of a regular income, one that exceeds my rent and daily expenses, with enough left over for me to save for a house. And I know I will only have this job for a maximum of two years because, due to the hours, it's not the sort of thing I want to continue when I am married. I want a day job so that I can come home to my husband at the end of the day.

On a different subject, I read a brilliant novel this week called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, recommended to me by my prospective sister-in-law, Bethany. Instead of writing a review myself I am going to direct you to Bethany's blog where you can read an excellent review here. I think it's probably the best book I've read this year!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Either Way

At the end of the day I will have a job. It will either be a job I'm not keen on or a job I am much more interested in, depending on how today's interview goes. It will be such a relief to get today over with and know where God intends for me to be!

Monday, 23 August 2010

A Year Ago Today

The Passing Place came into existence a year ago today. Spud and I, along with my family, had just arrived back from Brittany after a virtually sleepless night on board a ferry. Unusually for me I got the best night's sleep of the six of us, and so instead of falling into bed like everyone else I was alert and eager to begin work on my new idea. So while Spud lay, within reach, on my bed, I sat at my desk working away at my laptop.

I know a year doesn't sound like a huge feat. Most of the bloggers I follow have been blogging for considerably longer. But my previous blog died at eight months, while The Passing Place has really become something and is still going strong. And I've made some good friends along the way.

The Passing Place has become something I am really quite proud of. Here's to another year of blogging!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Another Photo Blog

I was going to put up the photographs from my barn dance at long last but it turns out they're no longer on my camera - I forgot I put them on my camera. So instead I am going to show you the results of the craft activity I held at camp. I can't upload any photographs of my campers due to child protection policies, but I can certainly show you the pegdolls they produced! The barn dance photographs will have to wait.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Beautiful Scotland

I want to go back!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A Good Reason Not to Worry

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? [...]

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."

Matthew 6.25-26, 34

I discovered the swallow nest yesterday in the ruins of a long-deserted windmill. Mama and Papa swallow were so quick during feeding time that it was only after several attempts that I managed to take these two photographs. The young were not visible, but I could hear them calling eagerly whenever Mama and Papa approached. I hadn't seen the swallows for a while so it was reassuring to know that they are still here.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Challenging Myself

I'm sure most of you know by now that I am keen to challenge myself! This month I decided to challenge myself to try/do something new, and ended up trying 5 new things without even meaning too.

Firstly, thanks to camp, I ended up trying 2 outdoor activities. One of these was archery - something I've been wanting to try for years. It definitely met my expectations and I'd love to do it again. I also had a go at 'high ropes' which was a series of activities that took place several feet off the ground. I am not afraid of heights but as I've never done high ropes before I felt it was wise to start with the activity that was furthest away from the ground. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body when, safely strapped into my harness, I began to climb. It was frightening but it was also thrilling. When I was lowered to the floor once more the woman supervising us asked me if I'd done high ropes before, and I was able to say honestly that I'd never done anything like it!

Secondly, I tried two new food items. One of these was fig, and the other rhubarb. I'm not a fussy eater at all and will eat most things, so this wasn't a huge deal.

Finally, and unintentionally, I went to church alone for the first time. Ever. This was due to Spud oversleeping, and may not sound like much, but remember, I have only been going to this church for a few weeks, and haven't yet forged any real friendships there. It was all okay anyway, because there's a group of elderly ladies whom we often chat with, and they beckoned me over to their table when we were drinking tea and coffee after the service.

If you have any ideas what outrageous thing I should do in September then please let me know!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Dementor Attack

As I approached the ominous building, I noticed a sinister mist was beginning to form that could not merely be due to the smokers that lingered outside. I lowered my gaze, avoiding all eye contact with the people I passed, shivering in my raincoat as I rounded the corner and approached the door. The autumnal weather was more suited to a mild November day rather than the middle of August, but I was not glad to leave it behind as I passed through the entrance and into the sterile hallway, empty apart from the towering security guard who obscured the stairway. I showed him my pass, a single slip of paper with a name and time, mumbled an explanation, and as he moved aside I read the sympathy in his eyes.

I had barely taken a seat when I was called through to another room, and allocated a desk. Already I could feel my spirits sapping from me, replaced only by fear and despair. As the severe looking woman opposite apprehended me, I was suddenly struck by the thought that I would never break free from their power, and the knowledge that they didn’t really care that I didn’t belong there. Everything the woman told me was scripted, said simply and with little empathy. The whole procedure took a matter of minutes. She signed me up for two more soul-sucking sessions in the next week, and then let me go.

Numbly, I descended the stairs and passed the security guards with my head bowed. I felt drained and weary, and as I was confronted with the dismal weather once again I wanted to curl up and cry. The woman hadn’t really said anything to evoke this emotion in me, apart from the fact that my benefit would be suspended temporarily, the consequence of my trip to Scotland, and I was already expecting this. It wasn’t a huge deal anyway. It was then that I recognised the job centre for what it was – one giant dementor that sucked the soul and spirit out of all lured into its confines out of necessity. And I knew then that I had to get out of there. And soon.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Back to Reality

Well, what with the 420 mile journey to Scotland (and back) followed by a week spent mentoring and managing 28 children aged between 10-13 I'm one tired girl!

Scotland was breathtakingly beautiful. I knew I'd fall in love with it and I did. I want to live there! We stayed right beside Loch Lubnaig, and there were many other lochs in the vicinity for us to visit. We also went to Stirling, Perth and Edinburgh. Even if I don't end up living there in the future I would definitely love to go back. One of my dreams is to visit all the Scottish islands.

After the long journey back Spud and I had 24 hours respite and then we went to Bible camp (which had begun the previous day). We arrived midway through the evening meal and we were welcomed warmly with a huge round of applause. My 4 tent fellows located me after we had eaten. They were Little B, Little G, Little K and Little L and they were the sweetest things. I didn't have to deal with more than a few minor tiffs, which was an improvement on my previous stint as Tent Officer. We also won Tent Inspection! I was so proud of them as last year my tent lost (because my girls spent so long doing their hair and make up!)

Our speaker for the week was excellent (as usual), and in between the talks there were many fun activities to get involved with including a day at an activity centre (more on that another time), a talent show, water games and an obstacle course. Being a Tent Officer is quite a strenuous job, what with the lack of sleep and all the hard work we had to do, but it was definitely worthwhile.

On the last day (yesterday) Little B, Little G, Little K and Little L showered me with gifts which I wasn't expecting at all (last year's girls didn't give me anything). I came away with two bunches of flowers, a teddy bear, a bar of chocolate, a pen, and a new prayer diary with a really sweet message in the front from Little B and Little K. Of course, I gave them all a little something too for being superb campers.

The fortnight gave me a much needed break from the job hunting. Now that I am back it begins again, but the good news is I have another interview the week after next, and also my job seekers allowance has come through so at least I have some income now.