Friday, 31 December 2010

2010, A Summary

So, the last day of the year has come round once again. Time for me to reflect on the last 12 months...


- I think my biggest achievement this year was passing my degree with first class honours. I graduated back in November

- Another achievement was completing my local half-marathon back in May. My time was certainly not impressive, but I managed to run all the way, which was my target.

- I also succeeding in getting my first full time job and my first promotion within the space of six weeks, although I'm not especially happy at work at the moment. 

The Places I visited

- Spud and I enjoyed a holiday with my dad's side of the family in the Lake District

- We also visited Scotland in the summer, a place I truly fell in love with


- I left home for the first time, and had my first Christmas away from home

- I drove in icy conditions for the first time


- Spud and I booked our wedding venue, although we have another 19 months to wait!

- We found a church together, and have been very happy the last six months we've attended

New Year's Resolutions

- First and foremost, to get a new job (I have an interview with a newspaper company next week, so I'm hopeful)

- To get back to my writing once more (my current job prevents me from doing so, as I either lack the time, energy or motivation to write)

Wishing you all a prosperous New Year!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Smells Like Cornwall

Yesterday, after a delightful Christmas Day with my prospective inlaws, Spud and I made the 300 mile journey to where my family live. Today we travelled even further South to spend the day with my grandparents in Cornwall. They live in a ground floor flat in sheltered accommodation, with their cat Orlando.

We had a wonderful day, eating heaps and learning how to play Canasta. Some of us ventured into the neglected games room for a game of table tennis, but soon discovered why it was so seldom used when two of the residents complained about the racket (while we weren't as quiet as mice, we could have been louder had we wanted to).

As we were leaving, and stepped reluctantly out into a cold, wet evening, I caught a breath of Cornish air and, just for a moment, a familiar, distinctive aroma that I can only describe as the smell of Cornwall. It was the first time I identified it, and the scent faded as qucikly as the memories it conjured, although I yearned for them to stay with me.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Carol Singing

Let me paint you a picture...

Three nights before Christmas a vicar ushers her flock of five through a snow glazed village on the outskirts of the city, and leads them in song outside closed doors. Spud and I are the lambs of the flock by far (I got asked if I was still at school, and was met with surprise when I answered that I left school over five years ago - nothing new there!) One of the flock is lame, and another visually impaired, supported by his wife. Our singing was unrehearsed; we had never sung together before, so we were hesitant and flat, but each note, each word was injected with real joy that could be read in the smiles on our faces. We sang tunes that I knew, and tunes that were unfamiliar, but each one rejoiced in the birth of our saviour. 

It was a cold night, and while doors were opened to us, they remained open only long enough for a donation to be given. Few lingered on their doorsteps to listen to us. However, after an hour of trudging around in the cold, my fingers and toes were quite numb, and we walked up a drive way lined with braziers, to a garage opened up and full of people. They welcomed us in (as they welcome our party every year) and we gave them a song. They gave us mulled wine, home made mince pies, and chestnuts roasting on one of the braziers. We talked, sang, ate and drank, long into the evening before we disbanded, and Spud and I strode away into the night, our hearts overflowing over with excitement and joy. The sky was clear; dotted with stars and a moon no longer full, but big and glowing. 

And now it is Christmas Eve, and the air is heavy with anticipation. Last night I barely slept because I was so excited. I may just get my Christmas wish (the dream job), and even if I don't, I'm hopeful. I'm blessed, so very blessed, and all for more so for knowing Him whose birth we celebrate tomorrow. 

A Merry Christmas to you all, my friends! I wish you joy and happiness this Christmas season, and for evermore!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Unexpected

Sometimes, even when you know deep down in your heart that God has got everything in control, it's easy to fall into the old habit of panicking when things go wrong. 

You may remember my despair a few weeks ago when things started to fall apart at work, and I realised what I'd known all along: that I was in the wrong place and needed to get out. 

And so I began the arduous job hunt again, but unfortunately my lack of time prevented me from applying for all but one job - and I needed to be four years older to fit that person specification. 

But today I had an answer to my prayer, or at the very least some reassurance that the Big Guy is the perfect time-keeper. I was offered an interview for a job I applied for about four months ago. The job is in publishing, which would mean I would be using my degree directly. Of course, I accepted the offer of an interview, which will take place during the first week of the new year. 

And so, my friends, I would really appreciate any prayers or crossed fingers!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Concerning Maps

Nothing much has happened recently, but I want to blog and make up for lost time, so you'll have to make do with my musings. 

Since leaving home, my confidence behind the wheel has greatly increased. You may remember that I used to hate driving, and was terrified of travelling along unfamiliar roads alone. I didn't dare try a new route because I was afraid of getting lost. 

However, I am now in a position where I have drive every single day. I drive three different vehicles (one my own, and the other two work vehicles), and I regularly have to drive to new places at a moment's notice. This is where I've found a map comes in handy. I now carry a street atlas around in my 'Mary Poppins' handbag, and believe me, it's been a lifesaver many a time. Up until recently I couldn't read maps, but I learned pretty quickly after my first long distance trip to the Lake District with Spud. 

So now I don't have to think twice about driving to different destinations, even if I'm not always sure of the route. I just consult my street atlas, and normally that's enough to get me there and back again. I find maps quite fascinating, and could pore over my street atlas for hours. I'm determined that in a few months I'll know the city (and the surrounding area) inside out!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Are You Ready?

This time in one week Christmas Day will be almost over. I have almost finished my Christmas preparations, which is just as well really as I'm working the last three days before Christmas. I finished my Christmas shopping last week, and wrapped up all my presents today. All my Christmas cards are written, and most of them given out. Spud and I topped our Christmas cake with marzipan, and tomorrow we'll ice it. All that's left to do is make a parsnip bake (mum's recipe), my contribution to the Christmas lunch with my prospective in-laws. Amazingly, I've managed to fit my preparations around my work commitments, and I'm just as organised as I have been most years. This will be my first Christmas away from home, but I'm really excited. I have a whole week off work from Christmas Day, which means Spud and I can spend a few days with my family, provided the roads are clear. 

I am currently enjoying a four day weekend, and have just three more days of work between now and a whole week off. My spirits have lifted and I'm feeling a lot more positive. It's hard to stay down when the world's looking all white and pretty, and Christmas is just around the corner - definitely a reason for celebrating. 

Yep, I'm ready for Christmas. Are you?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas Wish

Dear Father Christmas,

I don't want any frills this year. In fact, all I really want is another job - one where I don't have to work stupidly long hours, or suffer as the result of poor management. Do you think you can manage that? I have been very, very good this year. 

Hope all is well at your end. 

Your friend,


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Grace Poole

After yesterday, my every instinct is telling me to hand in my notice and never return to work again, and the little faith in my employers that remained lies in pieces on the floor. Like the plate that was thrown last night. My back was turned, so I don't know if my client had deliberately taken aim at me, but when I saw the closeness of the broken pieces to where I stood, I was alarmed to say the least. 

Worst still was the screaming. It was piercing. I don't know how I held it together, while I cleared up the broken pieces, and then retreated upstairs to give my client some space. Blood trickled down my wrist from one of the sharp edges. She never really calmed down. Neither did I. But I held it together for as long as I could. 

Thankfully, her parents (who live close by) took her away, because she wouldn't stay in the house with me, and wouldn't be consoled. They told me it wasn't my fault - I'd done nothing wrong. But my employers had by putting me there alone in that situation. I couldn't give her the support she needed. Not alone. 

When they had gone, the shock hit me like a tonne of bricks. I began to hyperventilate, and I couldn't stop crying for several hours. I barely slept that night. I kept thinking about what had happened, and how frightened I had been. How helpless I had felt. Strangely, my thoughts came to Bertha Rochester. Perhaps she wasn't mad after all. Perhaps Mr Rochester's wife was autistic. I am Grace Poole, I thought. I won't be Grace Poole any more. Not for any amount of money (and carers get paid pittance). 

I knew then that I needed to get out. Although rare, this wasn't a first time occurrence, and I don't have the strength to go through a similar scenario again. At least, not on my own like I was last night. Supporting her is like being in a house with a ticking bomb. I have to get out before the stress really sets in. Work have let me down consistently from day on, and I won't put up with it any more. 

And so, the job hunt begins once more...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Kiss Me

Just celebrating 40 months of togetherness...