Sunday, 2 November 2014

One year anniversary!

It's truly autumn when the pigs are on the Forest hoovering up the acorns. 

Okay, so technically, my anniversary was LAST Sunday, but the fact remains that I've been here a year - ALL READY!!! Unbelieveable really, it's gone so quickly.

And it's been fantastic so far. Honestly! I've been thoroughly enjoying myself and feel more at peace - and happier - than I have in a long, long time. I've had a few down days, but nothing out of the ordinary and have picked myself up much more quickly. I attribute much this to living with my cousin. Having someone to talk to at the end of the day, do things with, and just spend time with makes a HUGE difference and it's been wonderful getting to know her again. It could have gone very badly, but after an initial "getting to know each other" phase, we're very compatible (for the most part) and have a great relationship. We spend a lot of time giggling, which I'm sure accounts for part of my improved frame of mind. Spending time on my own is fine, and necessary for my state of mind, but too much time by myself was the cause of my ultimate stagnation in Whitehorse (hindsight and all that).

Anyhow, more changes are now afoot here in the New Forest. 

Two weeks ago I was told that my assignment was coming to an end (budgetary issues). My supervisor came down from one of the other sites to tell me in person. Apparently, I was supposed to be gone at the end of August, and she'd been pushing for me to stay, but could push no more. Disappointed is an understatement, as I've loved this job and had it been possible to stay on permanently, I would gladly have done so. But it's not my say-so, unfortunately. That's the thing with temping - the good jobs can come to an end too quickly and the not-so-good ones not soon enough! 

My last day was Friday and my manager ensured I had both his phone numbers (for referencing purposes). He and I got along well and I'm leaving confident that I will get support and positive recommendations from him. He dropped my name for a really decent position at the other site, too, so I have to finish that application before I forget.  It's a Big Deal, as he's put his reputation on the line for me for that.

It wouldn't be everyone's first choice for work, as I spent the majority of my days on my own. But I found it perfect because, a) there was zero contact with the public (a nice break), and b) I could get on and just get my work done. I listened to the radio and just concentrated on getting stuff done without any gossipy co-workers distractions apart from chatting occasionally with the guys, the parking attendant and various other visitors.

The one surprising point of this was that when I contacted the Agency last Monday to ask 'what's next?' I was told they hadn't been informed that my last day was Friday. ?? Kind of weird (but not surprising according to one of the guys). Regardless, they now knew and while they didn't have anything at the moment, something would turn up. In the meantime, I accepted a two-week temp job from a friend who works near London, with the potential for permanency and then when I found a terrific sounding job opportunity in my in-box on Friday morning for a job 10-minutes from home, I was really torn. I sent my CV in anyway (just pre-interview stage at this point, so not actually worth getting worked up about...ahem...) and let the Agency know what was going on with the London job.

I'll be commuting to the job near London every day at this point to try it out (1.5 hours each way - not a big deal Canadian distance-wise, but potentially a Big F*&^ing Deal here, as traffic gets utterly stupid along the route I have to take; train travel takes twice as long - I've already checked, as that's my preferred method of travelling that distance - and is ridiculously expensive, £55 PER DAY return. Option 2 was a B&B/guest house, but again, too much ££ for what I'd be making at this point). If I like it and take it on, I'd ultimately move to be closer. I'm leaning towards this job as I feel it's part of my next step: full independence. The money is decent, I'll be able to pay off my remaining debt more quickly than I am (O/T available!), and there's 'massive opportunities' according to my friend, which is great. In the current economy, a permanent job is a gift. Particularly one I've essentially been handed.

Anyway, it's all quite exciting, but I've got this week off to reflect, rest and get a few things done. I've also started Nanowriomo (National Novel Writing Month), which happens every November. The idea is to write 50,000 words in a 30 days. I've done/"won" it before - 2004, if I remember correctly - and thought, 'what the heck?' I'm going in without a real idea (TheAsianPear is also taking part, but she has a concrete plan - very exciting!) and will see what happens. When it began, oh so long ago, the idea was to write without plot or plan. It was just you and a blank page, so the rules have become more flexible over the years.

It started yesterday and where am I? Still at zero words, so I have to make serious inroads today and the rest of this week or I won't get it done. I'm basically ruling out progress during my time commuting, as it's going to be 12-hour days minimum and the last thing I'll feel like doing is writing. Still, it's a challenge and I'm curious to see what will pop up - I certainly surprised myself during my writing course at College, so who knows? I may actually end up with something that's feasible to pursue further. :)

Along my morning route - the SeaCity Museum.

Morning light in East Park. There are worse commutes!

My little car had it's annual MOT (safety check) and passed with no isses, as I thought. Then I had to get my road tax (£145 p/a) so I can drive it. This is a new thing to me, as we don't pay car tax at home, so it's one of those things - like a TV license - that's new to me. I'm confident she'll tackle the commute with no problem, just not sure how I'll be feeling at the end of two weeks! Phew!

Anyhow, my outstanding debt is coming down bit by bit, which I'm very pleased about. I won't be paid off by the end of the year as I'd hoped, but it will definitely be much less of a burden, particularly if I manage to secure a permanent job and have a regular, steady income. Much easier to make a budget and plan.

Anyway, I must start my novel or it will never get done.


T'Pol said...

Happy Anniversary! I hope you will land your dream job soon. Living with someone else has always been a tough thing for me. I am glad your arrangement is working out.

Good luck with your novel! Shall we be able to read it here?

Jane said...

That's exciting - about the novel I mean - and you've won before - WOW!! Good luck with it, just let it flow! You have a lot to sort out job-wise so if you don't get 50,000 words written it's understandable but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

The Asian Pear said...

Happy Anniversary! :D I'm sure you're happier about leaving especially now that it's winter time again. BRRRR!

If it makes you feel any better, I used to commute WITHIN the city and it took me about 4.5 hours a day. Traffic was always horrible.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo! I wouldn't exactly say that "I have a plan" though... XD I have a uh... "gist". XD

MW said...

Wow, a year already! That's really cool. Your peace comes through in your writing. I can't be happier for you. What a great move on so many levels. Good luck with the job hunt and the novel writing!

Northern Living Allowance said...

T'Pol - thank you! I'm hoping the job near London is my next step so am keeping an open mind about it all. As for the novel, well - perhaps! It's going to be an utter mess, but maybe bits & pieces of it. :)

Jane - thanks! It's a tricky challenge (how some people get to 50k in a DAY, I have no idea - phew!), but am determined to get as much of it done as I can. x

Pear - thanks! I actually kind of miss the snow, if I'm honest. Rain gets depressing after a while. And I'm just comparing my 10-min commute at home to this, but I know there are those at home who would love such a short trip to work!

MW - I know! It's gone so fast. And thank you - I'm definitely feeling this has been the right thing for me. xx

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

Great post - interesting blog. Nice to see someone enjoying the UK (I'm guessing you're from somewhere else)! Have a great weekend.