Monday, 30 June 2008

First dipping

I fell into the reservoir on Sunday. My first day out in a lightweight single skull and all was going well until about 30cm from the pontoon. How true it is that one should not let go of ones blades! Thinking it was close enough to grab the pontoon, I reached out and in I went!! It was far less cold than it looks and not green/smelly or slimey....all very good points as this is our drinking water!!
The Henley Regatta is on this Saturday and I would love to go, but work calls. Maybe next year.

We went to a huge car boot fair to see how prices are and what sells. We attempt one this weekend.

Between John my brother and myself we are trying to get tickets for the World Cup Cricket next year. Better still would be tickets for a 20/20 game, but they are like hens teeth.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


The last introspective post resulted in emails from two very dear people who reminded me, by sharing recent events in their lives, that we ALL have those times when we may not love the life we live, but sitting around doing nothing about it is not the answer. It was a bouying experience hearing from them and they have inspired me to be, if not proactive about changing the things that I can change, more positive about the things that I can't change.
You cannot beat good friends.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Navel gazing

Three years ago, I was in Japan, working in teaching and on cable radio, and here I am now in a very wet, very old, West Sussex town typing letters and answering the phone! The steps and choices that brought me here were all taken and made with open eyes and when I look at the children and how well they have all adapted to the new family combination, it makes me glow with pride and happiness.
However, this week, one of my colleagues pointed out that administration skills are something I seem to struggle with, not only that, she has a memory like a steel trap and I am still floundering in regard to all the minutiae of the job. It struck a chord. I have never had to administer, other than my own schedule and finances in any job I have done to date. While I enjoy the variety in this work, part of me feels puzzled that it is me doing it. I rarely speak Japanese now and fear losing it, although we watch the news and other media daily. Somehow, (navel gazing bit) I have become a different, maybe less accomplished version of myself in order to fit in here. I feel dumbed down. Again, though, my choice and it is proving to be a wily one as there is a lot of flexibility in the work time wise.
Before this gets out of hand, the point is, it just doesn't seem to gel, yet!
John is with me on this too, from inward investment in one of the most dynamic economies in the world to hot desking and short term projects in London...we are in a bit of a pickle!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

High School/Sixth form college

With weeks now till the end of term, Emily is getting ready to make the move to high school. We have a series of parent meetings, visits to the school and a shopping day for uniforms to get through. Before she starts in September there are the summer holidays....and before the end of term, the school production of GREASE in which Em plays the Headmistress. Can't wait for that!

Adam has finished his academic life at school and is currently in Devon with friends. The term officially ends in a few weeks. He starts college in September. New freedoms and big changes for all.

Thursday, 12 June 2008


Today is the London to Brighton charity bicycle race to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Riders follow the A22 as do I usually on the way to rowing. At the usual turn off, police guided me into a seething throng of bikes! All colours shapes and sizes (one could say that for the riders too...). I puttered along with these things darting in and around me feeling a bit like a big fish in a shoal of little ones! Getting to the reservoir was a relief. Sadly, rowing today was not great. I re-cut my hand on the spot it was cut last time and it made for a painful, wobbly session. Hard on the other girls in the boat with me all over the place.
End of rowing and silly me was thinking that the bulk of the riders will have long reached Brighton, but no. It meant a detour, part of the way on the road with more riders where I had to pull of onto the verge to let an ambulance through, and then the whole mass of bikes was stopped by police to allow me to cut across them and escape onto a road that would get me home! Bet some of them were cursing.
Home, through fields of freshly cut hay, (some of it in odd pale blue plastics bales,) through part of Ashdown Forest, and past some of those quintessential English gardens with hollyhocks, lupins, delphiniums, roses, lavender and buddelia in blossom. With the sun roof open and Blake's Jerusalem on the radio, it was pure joy.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Good neighbours

Since John hurt his leg, our neighbours, Mandy and Dave have been wonderful. Mandy offered to drive to Whitley Bay with me to get the children on Sunday. We eventually agreed that not only was it too far, but that when we got there, there would be no bed for her to sleep in as we could not turn around and drive back in the same day! Anyway, as you know, John managed to get home as did the kids but we were pleased that they were both so kind.

This morning, very early, they came to the rescue again when John could not put any weight on his ankle. (It is actually a green colour now and still puffy). I called them to ask on the off chance if they had a pair of crutches lying around and they did!! (Tom, their very athletic son has had all sorts of injuries and happened to have a pair from the last one). John hobbled off to London and has since informed me that he is doing his best to reschedule a 10 day business trip to the Middle East that is to start on Sunday. I hope he can.

Monday, 2 June 2008

The Incredible Journey!

Some of you may know this story about a cat and two dogs (I has been a long time since I read the book) who cross the country (America) to find their owners. Well our three offspring made their own journey today. From Whitely Bay to Newcastle, then London, then home on the local train. They are safe now and looking well. All sorry that the holidays are over, especially Adam who has a horrendous schedule of exams this week.

While they were travelling news reached me that John has also left home and is heading back to us in the south, bruised and sore, he should be home tonight. I will be able to sleep well with them all back where they belong!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

athletes of the water

Don't you love it? That is what the rowing coach calls us. Today for the first time, he did not yell at me or call me a novice. We practised some technical stuff and then did some strength moves. It was exhausting and in the end painful. But what a feeling. In the lulls before the hard work we were drifting on the reservoir, surrounded by water fowl. We even got close to one small coot on her nest in the reeds. There were yellow flag irises in bloom in clumps all around the place too, and in the tall rushes was a heron. I am sure the rest of the crew is just like me. They love it out on the water as much as they love the work. Still a long way to go to get fit enough to handle the endurance training, but it was a therapeutic session!

News from the north is that the children are booked to come down by train tomorrow. The girls will miss a day of school. John is keen to get on the road, but he cannot risk hurting himself more. He will probably have to give it another day....tough as I think he is not naturally inclined towards sitting around!!

Ivan sounds robust and cheerful and is pleased to be home.