2012 – Start of an Odyssey?

As we had a ‘Space Putty Christmas’ I suppose I had to continue the astronautical theme with a Stanley Kubrick link as a title.

It has been a whole three weeks since I last sat down to write. It is not a good idea to leave it so so long as things tend to get forgotten. Here is what I remember:

I took Sarah back to Sheffield and Nan back to Thurcroft all in the same day (4th Jan). During the afternoon we took Sarah to ASDA to fill up her larder so that she wouldn’t starve (at least over the next week). When I offered to pay the bill I noticed that the trolley rapidly got fuller. Quite a bit of it looked relatively healthy, there was a whole bag of carrots and quite an assortment of other vegetables, I must admit to being quite impressed until I noticed the donkey in the field across the road smiling at us when I dropped Sarah off at her digs. I drove home that night as I had a dentist appointment the following morning and it gets expensive if you miss those!

During the following week Sue managed one day of work at Church Langton. It happened to be on the same day we had booked to go on a Council walk. Roger had turned up the previous day as he wanted me to book the airport hotels for his holiday (on line) and Sue volunteered him to go with me. He couldn’t say no. The walk the following day was around Foxton Village, not very challenging but it was a warm day and there were quite a few new walkers so I set about finding out all about them (the Yorkshire in me). I hadn’t eaten, but wasn’t  concerned as Roger had promised payment of lunch for the previous days bookings. I should have eaten, as though we stopped at the pub around lunch time it was announced he had eaten quite a large breakfast and wasn’t hungry, though I noticed as he was walking he managed to scoff a banana, a packet of crisps, a wagon wheel  and a Cornish pasty.  Well I need to lose some weight.

Jamie’s contract at Disney Euro came to an end on the 6th Jan. and he set about applying for as many jobs as he could find. Though the news in the media is dreadful concerning the economy and unemployment, he has managed to send out quite a lot of applications. I have been helping him tailor each application letter for the job and he has had quite a lot of replies. The interview dates are coming in. He has rejected one in Enderby, offer as with travelling costs it would not be financially wise to cut things so close. He has accepted a position in Northampton which starts on the 6th of Feb. though he still has a couple of interviews to attend and some applications still in the process. Confusingly the Navy has also called him for interview, but he has not yet had a date (I thought they were reducing the force by around 14000). He is wisely continuing to apply for jobs up to the 6th, to see if he can improve his circumstances, happily  the pressure is off as he does have a job to go to. He spends quite a lot of time at Willow Bank (using the computer and eating), often walking here to save petrol. As we both have the time, we have played golf a couple of times  in Corby. Jamie has borrowed Suraj’s clubs as they are both left-handed. I hope we can pack in a few more games before he starts work. I spent an afternoon replacing the lights in his lounge with some mounted spotlights. He was less enthusiastic about them when I pointed out that he has replaced 2 energy-efficient lights with 6 energy guzzlers.

Since being back in Sheffield, Sarah has been busy keeping up to date with her various assignments. She has had feed back on the ones done before Christmas and they appear to attract quite a lot of merits. When she has completed an assignment she usually sends me a copy for comment and I must confess as the year progresses they get better and better. A lot of the terms and concepts I find difficult to grasp and I must confess that after reading they have mostly flown from my mind with an hour, but she understands and I don’t have to. On the occasion I ask her what something means she obviously understands and seems to enjoy putting one over on dad! To a lesser extent I check Jamie’s applications and covering letters for him and likewise, his are becoming very good. He has acquired an understanding of what people are looking for in an application and always does some research on the company making sure that he includes whatever they stress as important, in his application. I am not surprised he gets so many responses.

On the 15th Jan. Jamie and I went to London (Denmark Hill). For the last 3 years Jamie has been part of some research into ADHD that the London College of Psychiatry has been conducting.  They have been coming to Harborough during the previous occasions, but this time they wanted to use an ECG and so Jamie had to go there. They were paying his expenses and I think he quite enjoyed being involved. The day was a full one, I am not sure exactly what Jamie got up to as I was left to my own devices for around hours while they did their investigations etc. It turned out to be quite a profitable day for him, as some of the tasks resulted in a payment if he completed them successfully and he came away with an extra £50. I got a cup of coffee, some sandwiches and a copy of the observer. It is the final year of research. We visited Buckingham Palace to see the Queen, she was in but too busy to see us.

I have left the allotments alone, except to pick parsnips, leeks and artichokes. Each time I  go I can see that the more conscientious have already done their winter digging, but I can’t raise the enthusiasm for that yet. My potatoes did arrive in the post,  I ordered four old varieties that I have never heard of. We shall see. They are chitting in the shed as we speak.

On the 16th January, Sue and I drove up to Blackpool. I had booked a night a De Vere hotel there. The idea was to have a day in Blackpool and then visit Uncle Stan in Manchester on the way back. Doreen next door, had packed up 4 bags of clothes  (Peter’s clothes) for him and we were to drop them off. The two days we were away were sunny with bright blue skies, and very cold. We walked along the promenade, along the south pier and up the tower. We watched a fascinating film of the Tower, in the Tower Cinema in 4D. Great experience and we got wet. After a very nice evening meal at the hotel we went to see ‘The Warhorse’ at the Odeon cinema. Thoroughly recommend it, a very nice story (I remember at school I was forever telling the children “stop using the word nice!” And I have used it twice in the same paragraph. The following morning after breakfast, we drove to Lytham St. Annes, got bitterly cold walking on the beach and then headed towards Manchester. We stayed for around 3 hours with uncle Stan before heading south. We diverted on to the M5 toll road to avoid delays through Birmingham and got back to a very chilly house. Hot-water bottles and then bed!

The Rothwells have been visiting over the last 3 weeks for curry and other things and we have been going there for various purposes (can’t remember why), though I did chop up their bed for firewood and made some slats for Lucas’s bed. Ellis appears to have had a very bad chesty cough and cold that was passed briefly to Sue and I. That is one thing I don’t miss about school. Charlotte, Lucas and Ellis came to stay on Saturday as Suraj was having a Poker evening with friends at home, but it got cancelled late on.  However, we gave him a rest and he came for Sunday lunch.

Sue and I went on a Council walk on Saturday morning. It lasted 3 hours and began in torrential rain. It was a very large group that met at the The Bell in Gumley, with quite  few new members. The rain stopped after about an hour, and as the route was through fields, everyone was quite muddy. It was the best walk I had been with the Council so far, though there were quite a lot of hills and waiting at stiles for such a large group to get over can be quite annoying, the route had been well planned and interesting. Having a two course meal at The Bell and a pint of beer was the icing on the cake, though we didn’t bother with dessert. Usually I spend Saturday afternoon watching a game of rugby somewhere, but not this weekend. I will have to be careful it doesn’t happen too often.

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