Monthly Archives: May 2011
We have been searching on or off for the last 2 and a half years and it’s been an emotional slog. We had a very near miss 6 weeks ago and have managed to bounce back in a very small amount of time to view, consider, purchase, complete and own a house in a part of the UK which was not on our original radar.
I haven’t mentioned the house or the move that much as it has been very stressful and to be honest we have been to tired to not want to go on and on about it. I also feel that some things should remain private and have been of a view not to announce anything until now when we have the keys and are confirmed home owners.
I say “have the keys” as we took ownership yesterday, upon doing so we set up a few bits and loaded the car. It’s not the easier of moves as it’s 70 miles from where we are now.
We’ve also exchanged and completed on the same day as the house we have bought is brand new and was ready to move into.
So after 9 years in St Albans, we say goodbye to Hertfordshire and hello to Colchester in Essex. Yes I am a little apprehensive about the move because I know little about the town or the country, but to be honest that is the same situation I was in when I moved up here from Devon 11 and a half years ago!
We tried various places in the UK with a varying degree of success with viewings etc. Ultimately we have to be commutable for London and can get to Liverpool Street in approx. 55 minutes so it’s not too bad. The railway station is a short walk from the house so that is a huge bonus.
We’ve purchased a 3 bed, 3 story town house and it is giving us much more than we could ever wish for. An equivalently priced property in St Albans would get us a studio flat.
I have enjoyed St Albans but the place has lost it’s shine. It’s too expensive and the people think they are more important than any one else. St Albans has the highest tax rate in the UK and probably one of the worst rail lines.
There is a big disconnect between those who have money and those who do not and I will not miss the void in attitudes that this place brings.
Colchester is a Garrison town and reminds me a lot of Plymouth which is where I grew up. Although it’s a town it is bigger than St Albans and the people seem much friendlier. We may not have the high street on our door step any more but we do have the ability to park our car in our garage or on our own drive. (Believe me I am not looking forward to parking the van in St Albans over the weekend!).
We “officially” move in tomorrow – what I mean is that we are moving a lot of bulky stuff up to Colchester tomorrow and Brandy is coming with us. Tomorrow night will be the first night we spend in the new house and I am really looking forward to it.
I have busily spent the day packing up the house in St Albans whilst Richard sorted out all the tech in Colchester and waited around for the gas man (we had the gas turned off last night as we had a leak – oh the joys of owning a new home )
The house has been a major focus for the pair of us for a long time and I really have kept fairly quiet about it online so you must excuse me if I start going on and on about the move for a while.
Ultimately this is a new chapter in our lives and I am very much looking forward to getting settled in Colchester and seeing what Essex brings…
Wish us luck!
Once again thank you to all of you who supported me in my endeavour to get my portrait of Richard in this years Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly.
The Royal Academy had over 11,000 entries this year and unfortunately I was not accepted on this occasion.
I am a little disappointed obviously but I currently have much bigger things to worry about (more on that in a day or so I hope!).
Thanks to all of you who voted and helped me pick this piece to submit. Sadly our eyes are not the same as those of the Academies Judging Panel.
There is always next year and who knows it may be a case of third time lucky…
Pen Farthing is a Royal Marine and a dog lover who was posted overseas to Afghanistan. Little did he know how his life was going to change.
Essentially the book is all about Pen, his wife, his experiences and his love of dogs. Whilst in Now Zad Pen befriends an Afghan fighting dog and this union changes both of their lives.
I bought this book for the dog related story and the human interest but was gripped by Pen and the Marines experiences in Afghanistan.
I’ve never read any military work before and this really brought home to me what it must be like to spend weeks on end under attack by the Taliban, to live alongside a race of people so different from your own and to survive with your wits and your kindness.
I believe this book is the reason why I was dreaming about hiring cars for the Taliban and this proves it really got to me.
The human interest is poignant and the encounters Pen has with the dogs, the soldiers, the locals and others is truly moving.
A brilliant book with a gripping account of life in the modern armed forces, of course with a very interesting dog angle!
Can anyone suggest what to read next?
Ladies and Gays if you have not heard of Cocknbullkid – SHAME ON YOU!
Her debut album Adulthood was released today and it is simply wonderful. I was already fan of Cocknbullkid when I heard One Eye Closed and the wonderfully sublime Hold Onto Your Misery.
Luckily I got t see her at the recent Janelle Monae concert at the Round House and she was superb live. I didn’t know most of the tracks but now I do!
If you want a pop CD to see you through the summer forget that over hyped, over marketed Gag woman (bad gays for following the herd!) and get yourself a copy of Adulthood.
I promise you you will not be disappointed!
- Adulthood – An interesting start to the album and you’ll be singing the strap line for weeks!
- Cocknbullkid – Want to know what the name is all about, take a listen!
- Hold Onto Your Misery – If you have not heard this wonderfully crafted piece of pop yet – SHAME ON YOU!
- Yellow – Superb, Brilliant, Fantastic, Stand out track.. ENDS…
- One Eye Closed – Brilliant song, great hook, cool melody – what more do you want?
- Distractions – Yes correct. Don’t let that Gaga woman distract you from this rhythmic gem
- Bellyache – This is lovely, sails away on a lovely groove.
- Mexico – Won’t go back! Hardest track with lots of drums and percussion – stands out for being different from the rest and works. Shows off Cocknbullkids vocals. Another wonderfully addictive hook.
- Asthma Attack – Currently tearing up the clubs and an ode to London (and it’s affect on your health!). Simply wonderful. Sounds like it comes from the Cathy Dennis stable.
- The Hoarder – Another great pop track although probably an album track this one. Still good though
- Dumb – the closest thing to a ballade and simply beautiful
- I Deserve It – You know what? I don’t think she does? Quite a forthright ending but one that wraps up the journey of the album nicely…
And the best thing…
Not a “Rar Rar” or “Ohhh La La” in sight!
In the midst of packing the house up today Richard and I have both discovered some lost treasure!
Richard thought he lost his birth certificate but following the clear out of a little used cupboard we found it in an old briefcase!When we moved here 8 years ago I thought I had lost my signet ring that my aunt and uncle gave me for my 18th birthday. I had long ago thought I would never see it again and was disappointed as I take good care of my possessions and was annoyed I had lost such a personal gift.
Richard went to the supermarket this morning and I suggested he take all the loose change we had in the house as it had been accumulating for years in various tins and jars.
Imagine Richards surprise when he put the coins in the machine (£26 worth!) and along with a handful of Euros it spat out the ring! I could not believe it when Richard pulled it out of his pocket.
Isn’t it amazing that you could give up on something when it’s there all along – you just have to get to the right moment to find it and it’ll show itself.
I am now wearing the signet ring and will ensure it does not go missing again!
Seriously… did no one consider the name of the company, the choice of photo and the connotation?
Who else thought this was an ad for a gay gym/sauna? I cannot believe St Albans have renamed their bus company “Pink” and used such flagrant advertising!
I can imagine the twink in the bus companies media office loving the opportunity to put his boyf of the back of a bus!