Saturday, 26 June 2021

How are we already halfway through this year?!

inflexion-point.com

It must be all the changes that have gone on since January; that's the only explanation I can think of to how fast the last six months have gone! Phew!

But here we are, summertime at last (well, England's version of it at least - warm and rainy). Restrictions are still in place to 19 July - 'restrictions' being mask-wearing and social distancing when inside, so mild at best. People still fuss. Anyhoo. We're getting there, and I think are just going to have to get used to living with variants. Mother Nature will always be several steps ahead of us, no matter how smart we think we are. We've unbalanced everything so shouldn't be surprised when nature fights back.

Otherwise, all is still well. I've had zero side effects from my second jab (to the point where I've actually forgotten I've had it until reminded!), which is great. There's some noise about a potential booster for the autumn, but I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens with that.

I'm down to 'fumes' in my account again, despite trying to work hard to not be. Payday is Tuesday, so I've had to 'borrow from Peter' again (not a CC this time!) to see me through, food-wise. That's okay, as I'm expecting a (modestly) hefty cheque then, so plan to replenish + some extra. I started using cash for groceries a couple of weeks ago, which worked reasonably well, but I still fell short. I *think* this may be because I scoop my change out and save it, rather than continuing to use all of it as designated funds. It means that my change bowl is looking much healthier than it has in quite a long time, but also means I'm short in my food budget...which means I'm borrowing from where I shouldn't.

Perhaps if I only kept my silver, rather than my £1 & £2 coins? Hm. On the other hand, I DO redeposit my coins once I've got enough to do so, so it's not all bad, just means I'm not really paying attention as closely as I need to be. Anyway, something to bear in mind going forward.

Work is fine. H has been coming in three days a week and mostly is just helping with the typing (which is fab!), but has also been taking the time to learn about what T & I do in our jobs. It's a lot to take on board and she's struggling a bit at the moment, but it's very early days yet and there's lots of time to get everything straight in her head. Plus, the more she does it, the better and easier it will get. She and I had a rather long chat a couple of weeks ago and I was relieved that all my concerns about T are actually spot on, and not just something in my head. Saying that, T does know her job well and is busy showing H all about it. 

I actually said 'no' to something the other day that she tried to get rid of. It's just little things like I've said before. She & I share taking the post to the post box at the end of the day. It's not an onerous job - not even a daily one anymore - and means we get to leave a few minutes early to make the collection time of 5:30. T joked that I'd have to do it all now because the car park where she now parks is the wrong way from the post office and she couldn't be bothered. I was tempted to say 'yes', because who doesn't like to leave the office a few minutes early, right? But, on the principle of it, I said that when I was driving I always parked where she now parks, and it was (usually) always me who ended up taking the post anyway. So, a roundabout 'no', but a 'no' nonetheless. It sounds SO petty when I write it out, but honestly. Just, no.

Otherwise, H and I are on the same page about how things can work going forward. It's too early to put any nails in the proverbial coffin about things, but H's job description has a lot of stuff on it that's not necessarily onerous, regular or difficult (photocopying, for example, and typing reports, etc.). It's the few things that only P knows which will be probably the most difficult for her, but it's also a matter of finding her own way of doing it. P has a tendency to overcomplicate stuff and is a great fan of spreadsheets that don't make sense to anyone but her. Ha ha!

Anyhoo. Work = people and all their quirks that you wouldn't necessarily see if you were 'only' friends, right? I've never won any 'employee of the month' awards and have done some Very Dumb Things, and it's not like I'm always easy to get on with. I certainly have my own way of doing things/expectations of how things should be done (after many years of not being a great employee). I just want things to be fair, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. 

My first volunteer shift at the cafe is 24 July and once a month through to September. I'll need a proper refresher, as I'm not sure how much I'll remember and things will have changed since last year, too, with all the precautions and changes to service. Still, it'll get me out of the house for a few hours and will be nice to see the manager again. Plus, it's a lovely village, and the pet food shop there sells fantastic bird feeders. I'm in the market for a couple more, so will try to stop in and have a look to see what they've got. There's also a great little charity shop, where I've found several fantastic things, and I've got a box of bits & pieces to get rid of (like everyone else, I'm sure).

Next week I'm going to get some petrol for the car at long last. What remains of last October's petrol is old and needs a refresh. I might also take the car for a spin up the dual carriageway if it's quiet as it's been a few weeks since she's had a good run. She'll have a good, solid 2.5 hour run in mid-July, though, when I go to see my sister in Devon. Long overdue.

One thing I'm bringing back from Devon is my bike, which will make my travel to/from the office about half of what it is now. :) I've got somewhere to keep it safe and dry at the farm, so will have to check where I can put it at the office, as there's no designated bike lockup. Anyhow, one thing at a time.

On the reading front, I am finally at the end of my NetGalley review books (apart from a few that I've not, for some reason, yet read and which are at least a couple of years old in some instances). And, now I'm at a bit of a loss of what to read! I can read literally anything in my Kindle library or from my (limited) RL shelf, and I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO READ. This has never happened to me before. Ha ha! Guess that's the problem with having 900+ books to choose from: do I want to read about writing? Some non-fiction? Something light? Or something a bit darker and police procedural-ish? It's like having satellite TV...too much choice. Yeesh.

First world problems, eh?

I did write a fun thing for writing group last week. One of the members sent a photo as a prompt and while I sort of followed it as a prompt, it was actually the email it arrived in that was the actual prompt. Because she hadn't written anything along with the photo, my email read 'no body'. THAT turned into a few hundred words of a murder mystery that the rest of the group is using as a prompt for next week's meeting - how does the story end? I honestly don't know where it came from or how I'm going to resolve it, but it will be fun to try. I had a lot of fun writing it and had great feedback on it, so want to see if I can pick away at it a little bit and make it into something a bit meatier.

Anyway, that's it from my corner of the world. I hope you're all well and safe and have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, 13 June 2021

All jabbed up!

 

medicalbag.com

Hooray! I'm finally all done and feeling quite relieved about it. I took the bus to Salisbury yesterday for my second jab, and was in and out of the vaccine centre in about 10 mins or so; I was even early and as there was no lineup, there was no issue about going straight in. Plenty of people to help direct you where you needed to go, and it was super efficient. The only difference from last time (so far) is that there was actually quite a pinch when the needle went in. Otherwise, last night I slept 10 solid hours (!), which is unheard of.

That, I think, is a combination of the heat (it was about 23C), the jab, and 'all the activity' I had in a day, which mainly meant being amongst more people than I've been around for more than a year. Exhausting! I've not been to Salisbury before, so did spend about an hour or so poking around afterward, but the longer I was there, the more I just wanted to go home. I have decided that it's going to be a 'destination visit' for me when I'm on holiday next month, as it's a beautiful city and there's so much to see. I was reconnoitering shoe shops, charity shops, etc., and I will aim to loosen the purse strings a bit next month and update a few bits & pieces.

It sounds silly, but I fussed about what to wear. I ended up in jeans & a t-shirt, which is pretty standard for me, but part of my worry was that on Friday I was wearing shorts and found a tick on my upper thigh (somewhere you'd only discover during a trip to the bathroom, which is how I found it)!! EEEEEYYYEEEEWWWW!!!! It was a very tiny one, and I got it all out, but that's why I was worried. The walk to the bus stop is through, in some places, knee-high grass and I just didn't want to risk another tick. So, instead, I was just too hot...

Anyway, it's all done and I know for next time. I'll probably wear a skirt, particularly as cities do tend to get hotter and risk the stupid ticks... cannot for the life of me figure out the purpose of ticks, despite knowing that everything has a place in nature. Gross.

Anyhow. Today I woke up at 7, after going to bed and falling asleep before 9 last night. I am otherwise feeling fine and trying to decide what I want to do today. I'm content to stay inside, if I'm honest, and read, as it's much cooler in here. I've got all the windows open and am trying to decide what I want for lunch now. :) 

The bonus I got at my review will actually be on my paycheque at the end of the month (along with a 5-day 'bonus' of my new wage which took effect from the date of review), so nothing changes this month. So far, though, I've been doing well, and have everything covered to the end of the month. I'm being really strict with my food budget, but it somehow feels easier to do that in hot weather, because you don't want to eat heavy, meat-centred meals all the time.

For the past couple of weeks, I've basically been eating a big salad (I'm boring and eat the same kind every time), plus some sort of protein and an apple mid-afternoon. I'm trying to keep everything reasonably simple. I don't like cooking anyway, so this is a pretty straightforward, tasty and healthy way to go about things. Plus, in the summer you just lean towards salads anyway, so it's not too big of a stretch. I'm still wasting an awful lot of food, though, despite my best intentions, so that's something I need to change.

Otherwise, nothing too exciting this update. A lot of folks waiting to hear the G7 news re: travel, I imagine, but I don't think much is going to change. Not with our numbers increasing again with yet another variant. My new colleague, H, is desperate to get to the US to see her son & granddaughter this summer, but I'm not sure Biden is going to allow travel, not with having made so much progress in the right direction now. Plus, she'll have to spend 10 days in quarantine when she gets back, which she'll have to account for in her time away. She's not particularly hopeful about today (when Biden and Johnson have their confab) but will accept the result whatever happens. Obviously, if travel is given a green (even amber) light, then she'll go as soon as she can get everything organised. I'm resigned to visiting Canada next year, as I don't think I can this year anyway (think they're closed to outside travel?). Part of my plan for my RSP money next year is to get myself organised for that, as I need to get a new Canadian passport anyway, and I can't imagine flights are going to be cheap, etc.

But that is not for now. Today I'm going to rest and read and just pay attention to how I'm feeling. I literally have zero to stress about, so am just going to enjoy my time. The bird feeder is full, the windows are open, the breeze is delightful and I've got 900+ books on my Kindle to choose from.

Hope you are are well and safe and having a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

A few budgeting thoughts...

 

thepsychologygroup.com

Something I didn't mention in my last post is that one of the reasons I'm *so* pleased with my bonus is that I've been rolling around the very slight possibility of having to ask my friend/ex-Roomie E to move back in with her. Things are tight and I've been struggling a bit to the point that I had to take a £100 cash advance from a CC to make to the end of May (I can hear the horrified gasps from here). Trust me, I know. I haven't done that since the '80s and was an even bigger idiot with money. While I'm glad I had the resource to hand, it's not ideal by any stretch.

Saying that, however, I had a gander at my food budget last month and saw that I'd DOUBLED it (my monthly grocery budget, FYI, is £130). No wonder I'm feeling so squeezed! Geez.

I don't want to move back in with anyone. I'm not kidding when I say that this place was meant to be (I legitimately said 'no' to it, and I still got it), so to give up because I can't, for some reason, stick to my own budget is admitting defeat to my lifetime of bad habits. I'm better than this, I just know it.

Also, next year I turn 55. I can access my locked-in RSP in Canada, for better or worse. I had a plan to dip into my LOC (again - I'm still paying this off) and use the funds from that to cover/clear some payments, bolster a savings account or two, etc. Then, once I could access the RSP funds, I'd clear everything. Again. And start over. Again.

But having had a chance to faff endlessly the past couple of days with my budget, now that I have an extra £800 (I took a couple of hundred for taxes, etc. for now) to work with, I now have a loose plan that does not involve dipping into my LOC.

HOORAY!

Basically, I'm not going to use it to throw at any one debt, but to help me to carry myself from month to month.

This is my new June budget. This incorporates my current salary + overtime + bonus (selling surveys, not my review one). 

The Visa and Barclaycard payments are sort of 'one-offs', as I want to round down the balances.

Any leftover each month will roll over to the following month.


The numbers for July (new salary TBC, but I don't think I'm too far off with my current guess) are below because the flat deposit, Visa, Barclaycard and car categories will differ. I want the initial numbers to give me a good reboot on my savings. Obviously, some of the items are flexible.


I recently also got a limit increase on my Barclaycard. This is the card that allows me to balance transfer for 0% interest.

So. My plan, which if I'm very, very careful with and which will see me comfortably through to next year without touching my LOC (ideal), is as follows. It's a bit 'borrowing from Peter to pay Paul'-like, but gives me breathing room, plus increases a couple of payments a bit.

  • Transfer my outstanding Visa balance to the Barclaycard. There is currently an offer that'll allow me to have 0% to 1 June 2023. I want to take advantage of this for that debt, and this is why the Visa line is blank in the July budget.
  • You'll notice I've increased my food budget a bit as well. I will try to move to cash only for this, and stay out of Waitrose...!
  • The Canadian debt amount will go up £30 and the Barclaycard £30 as I continue to pay over the minimum for those. The Lendable payments are fixed (I can pay more if I choose, however) and I'm happy leaving that alone for now. I've got two more years on that.
  • Saying that, I can claw back overpayments a bit if I need to adjust elsewhere and eliminate the flat deposit option altogether.
  • Currently, I pay £30 a month towards charity: cats, cancer and the RSPCA. The Post Code Lottery I joined on a bit of a whim, so not as invested in that as the others. But this is something I am able to continue to do for these charities, so all is staying as is.

Those are more or less the changes I want to make at the moment. Then, everything that's left over at my birthday next year will get wiped clear when I cash out my RSP.

While I'm able, I want to take advantage of not paying bills over and above my rent (which are all included). I won't be as lucky at the next place. Having debt in addition to paying all of that simply wouldn't be possible for me. Not that I have any plans to move (!!), it's just a reality that I need to bear in mind, and this seems like the best, most comfortable scenario for me.

I resent having to pay so much for the car when I'm not really using it, but getting rid of it isn't an option, unfortunately. I simply can't get to all the places I want to go on the bus or train, and having a car is an expensive convenience. At least I'm not still paying £85 a month for petrol! I'm not quite at the of the tank I had when I moved in here in October - 8 months is a pretty decent run for a tank, eh? I'll have to fill up next month, however, as I'll likely be going to visit my sister in Devon.

So just wanted to put this down 'on paper' while I thought about it, and so I have somewhere to be kept accountable. It seems a reasonable plan too, so fingers crossed!

Thursday, 27 May 2021

End of May - and sun. Finally!

 

medikeeper.com

Pretty much how everyone in the UK is feeling right about now, I think! May has been absolutely sodden: wind, rain, chilly weather. The heating has only just been turned down/off, and this weekend we are finally, FINALLY, getting sunshine and proper warm temperatures. Hooray! I opened all my windows early this morning so the place will have a lovely airing out.

And, I'm off from today through Tuesday. I certainly timed that well, I have to say. I'm SO ready for a break and having some lovely weather to look forward to definitely helps.

I don't have any particularly grand plans, although I've made a to-do list to clear up a few things that I put off during the week: a proper clean and tidy of the place being at the top of the list. I'll do this in stages over the next six days, but it'll feel good to finally get the windows done, the floors swept and vacuumed, the window sills wiped, cupboards cleaned, etc. I've got a colleague stopping by for tea and a walk later this afternoon, which will be nice, and am visiting with my cousin on Tuesday morning. There's a garden centre in her village so I'll pick up what I need to do some repotting. My poor plants are desperate for more breathing room; I'm years overdue for this, and it makes sense to do it while I've got the time and motivation. If another couple of plants happen to find their way into my basket, well, that's not something I can fight...

I had my review on Monday afternoon. I always get nervous with these and of course, it's never bad (well, not so far!). Basically, I had an opportunity to vent (per last post) but opted to essentially say 'it's a work in progress', which, let's be honest, it is. There is always adjustment with new people starting and who would have thought to plan for working/hiring around a pandemic? It's just what it is, really. But, as I also said, it's not up to me to say whether or not T is happy in her job, or if it's what was expected, etc. That's up to her at her annual review.

I also had a bit of a moan about the new surveyor (which, I think, they're mostly already aware of, too). It's mostly frustration that someone who is supposed to be a professional and have experience of this sort of thing has to be constantly chased and eats up a lot of admin time because of it. I used the words 'I'm not his wife or his mom'... ha ha! It just popped out, but it feels a bit like that. Stuff disappearing into a vortex and chasing, chasing, chasing to get it back. It's exhausting and annoying.

Anyhow. It's a good thing I was sitting down because they surprised me with not only a pretty stonking raise (a hair over 10%) but also a £1,000 'bonus'! Holy cow!! Basically, it's to say 'thank you, sorry we're late with this, and we're very grateful you've stayed.' Wow. Totally unexpected, and I'm very, very pleased I can tell you. Of course, now I'm rolling all kinds of things around in my head with what I can do with my bonus when it should be a no-brainer: throw it on my debt! I only moan about it all the time. I'm taking a bit of it (say, £200) for me. I really want a massage, some new (thrift shop) duds, potting soil and pots, and maybe new shoes for walking to work. I'm going to sit on most of it for a bit and figure out the best place to put it. I can wipe out a credit card balance with it BUT will that save me the most in the long run, you know? Anyway. I don't want to rush into anything and will give myself some time to plot out a couple of options.

My new, slightly higher paycheque will help too, as I can raise my monthly payments on everything to get on top of things faster. What a great surprise that was!

I got out for a walk with my friend last Sunday - at last! - albeit a short one. We had a two-three hour window of reasonably clear weather, so we took a chance. We took a turn around the reserve, which is about two miles, and took us just under an hour. We hadn't planned on a proper hike, it was to catch up and clear our heads more than anything. It was great to finally see her. It meant, though, that I missed my writing group, which had moved from Saturday, so that was a shame. Our next walk (with three of us) is scheduled for 6 June and will be a longer one around the area, and I'm looking forward to it.

I confirmed my week's holiday in mid-July too, so hopefully that will take in a visit with my sister in Devon. Otherwise, a week off is a week off! I took that week purposely as my boss has taken that week off and it means that it won't be quite so manic at work. It just made sense. So, that's something else to look forward to. :)

Otherwise, I finally finished my Intro to Forensic Science course. Not entirely sure it was relevant to what I wanted, although it was pretty interesting and gives me an idea of some basic things to keep in mind when setting up a crime scene. I've not delved into the other three again (yet), but have plans to do so this weekend as well.

Anyway, that's more or less it from me again. Hope you are well and safe out there!

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Mid-May update (and a bit of a moan)

 

elevate-church.co.uk

Mid-May already! Is it just me or is the passing of the year speeding up? I suppose it doesn't help that we're still so busy at work that I've done overtime the past two weekends (not as much as last month, but still!) and many of our survey appointments are teetering dangerously close to JULY now. We've also had to put a hold - twice in two weeks - on receiving any new work, outside of private jobs, from panel managers as my colleague couldn't keep up with booking the appointments! We're always looking ahead, it seems.

Anyway, it's good for business and the push is on now, as the stamp duty for properties up to £500k comes to an end at the end of June and everyone needs their surveys 'today'. We've had a number of cancellations because people want/need it completed faster than we can do it. We can always fill the space but it's a larger number than normal, simply because of the pressure of the market. The next relief falls to properties up to £250k, through September. There'll be a lot of flats, I imagine. After that, furlough comes to an end, stamp duty comes to an end, and I think the work will become more manageable.

I have my work review on 24 May. I'm going to ask if I can adjust my working hours a bit from 9:00-5:30 to 8:30-5:00. I've been getting there for 8:00 since February, so it's not a big stretch. I feel that, as one of the office 'elders', I should be allowed some consideration, particularly as there are now two of us who work until 5:30.

Our office manager (P) is back in the office two days a week now but is retiring in September. We've hired someone to take her place (H), but it's a bit complicated as H is off to the US to see her son in June for several months. H is coming in a couple of times a week to train with P until she leaves, then once H is back, she'll be coming in more regularly until P leaves for good. So many changes!

Adjustment is ongoing with my colleague (T). Things have been better, but there are still questions (why this/that/the other, etc.) and there was a discussion the other day with the accountant about her role and admin generally. In a company with 500 employees, it's going to entail different things than in a company with less than 10, just like it's going to entail different things in every single office you work in. A lot of what you do depends on how the office runs, their guidelines, policies and procedures, so you have to be flexible and be prepared to work differently than you have previously. Adapt to your environment, not the other way around. 'Administrator' in our office encompasses a grey area - it's both reasonably specific and whatever is asked of you, really, and with only three of us, surely it means helping each other where you're able and pitching in to get stuff done, rather than moaning about it? Part of me admires T for setting strong boundaries and being confident enough to do so, but at the same time, I'm getting incrementally more work because she keeps questioning how is one person expected to do 'so much' and then little suggestions are made that suddenly add to my workload and make it easier to do hers. How P doesn't understand how busy she is. 😒 She doesn't know that I've taken on doing part of her job already. I'm not bothered by it, as it actually helps me get organised for the day. But as and when I'm on holiday for any length of time once P leaves, there's going to be some hard, sharp learning curves.

I don't have any more time in my day than she does, and I'm the one who's been doing overtime so that we can stay on top of the typing (perfectly aware this is my choice). P is typing even on her days off, so not feeling any sympathy.

The problem stems, I think, from the fact that she says she didn't get a job description. I'm not sure I got one either if I'm honest (don't actually remember). Also, when she was trained, she wasn't told about all the stuff that she's (apparently) supposed to do, nor, she says, was she told about it all in the interview. I don't know. There was supposed to be a job description written up, but it didn't get done (no surprise). And that's her area of questions. She feels she's being taken advantage of. But if there are questions/concerns/etc., about what she believes/feels she was hired to do, I'm not the right person to speak with. She needs to discuss her concerns with the people who hired her - the MDs. Certainly, Mrs MD will have no qualms about reviewing the interview with her and what was said during it.

We're unprecedentedly busy. But, it will slow down and be easier to manage. When it was mentioned that it's been so quiet in the past that there have been days when no work at all came in, there was a moan about that. Apparently, there's no win!

The accountant, after the administrator discussion, regretted engaging. 'If she doesn't like it, she can find another job,' she muttered. This from a straight-talking Northerner!

Yikes! Obviously a much-needed vent. Sorry!!

On a lighter note, I enjoyed the Welsh Crime Festival very much. So much, in fact, that I'd like to go next year. Aberystwyth is a town I've wanted to visit since Hinterland (a point noted in the opening ad), so I think the opportunity to visit/attend the 2022 Festival and see the town is something I need to plan for. I've already had a brief, post-festival chat with my sister about it so we'll see where it goes. Five days in Wales would be lovely and something to really look forward to (assuming it doesn't rain. Ha ha!).

Along with my Intro to Forensic Science course, I registered for four others: BBC Good Food 'Learn How to Bake', Forensic Psychology (witness interviewing, etc.), Start Writing Fiction and a Mindfulness course which starts at the end of May. Phew! Feeling like I may have taken on a bit too much, seeing as I've already fallen behind in the Intro to Forensic Science course. Oh, well. I've got this weekend to dip into it and try to get caught up. I'm not sure it's all relevant, but it IS interesting and will help me to be able to paint a slightly more realistic forensic picture in my book - I hope!

The BBC baking course is like a mini-Bake Off. It's pretty basic, but you learn about baking processes, ingredients, tools, etc., i.e., salted v. unsalted butter, baking soda v. bicarbonate of soda, different baking tins, the process of baking powder v baking soda on a cake, etc. Good stuff! A Victoria sponge was the first item we made (mine was reasonably successful). We're also learning to make bread, brownies, shortcrust pastry and meringues. Yum!

I haven't yet started the writing course or the Forensic Psychology course, but need to start making some inroads before they become inaccessible (I don't really want to pay to continue access). Anyway, one lesson at a time and I will do what I can.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to be going on a walk with a friend, but the weather for the weekend is rain. It's supposed to have been raining all week, but we never got the forecast weather. We're forecase the same all next week. It's not especially nice to walk in the rain, but if it's just around the reserve it might not be too bad. All just a big 'wait and see'.

I took a bit of holiday around the bank holiday on 31 May and I'm hoping to see my cousin and Roomie E. Loose plans at this point. It will be nice to catch up. Hoping the weather will be nicer as well so we can get outside.

I've also pencilled a week off in July to visit with my sister. I suggested some time down there and then she can come here for a few days. She's got a housesit booked for July so is waiting to confirm dates, but I'm reasonably flexible. Will just be nice to have a good length of time off. Plus, I need to get the car out for a good, proper run (three hours on a dual carriageway should do it) and collect some things of mine that she has - my bike and my camp bed (which she'll need for her stay here). She's also got a set of dishes that she's giving me, so it's a trip I needed to do anyway.

Hospitality reopens on Monday - hotels, B&Bs, etc. - and indoor dining can begin again. I think hugs are also officially allowed again too. Hooray!

I was asked if I was able to start volunteering again at the coffee shop. I think it's been almost two years since I gave it up 'temporarily', but I had said that I would start again eventually. I don't have the 'excuse' of the shop anymore (I stepped back because it was getting to be too much to do both in one day)  but I always enjoyed it when I was there. My short answer was 'yes', but only once I've had both my jabs - second due 12 June - and that because our writing group is currently bi-weekly, I would have to send some available dates (Saturdays). That seems to be fine, so I will send available dates starting in July. I like to work up to these things! Ha ha!

Still rolling the thought of erasing/halving my debt around in my head. It's pride that's keeping me from making the decision to take that first step. It's hard to admit you're struggling and need help, especially financially. I keep rolling it around in my head and thinking I can manage - just 11 more months until I can cash out my RSP in Canada, but then I realise that we're only halfway through this month and despite a bigger paycheque last month, I only have £30 left for groceries for the next two weeks. The rest is earmarked for debt. I'm hoping to see my accountant colleague for tea and a walk around the reserve while I'm off at the end of May. She's eminently sensible and always has good advice about stuff. I have mentioned it to her, and how I'm struggling, and she said it's definitely something I should do. I just need to decide...

Anyhow. That's it for me this go round. I hope you're all well and safe and having a great weekend!