Saturday, 16 April 2011

Home, Home on the Range.

View from the kitchen at the front.

We may not have deer & antelope, but we do have a deranged cat - will that do?  Well I think I can finally say "welcome to our new home" properly.  Not that I've just recovered from a speech impediment or traumatic trip to the dentist, I mean it more in the context that we finally have all our stuff up here and it really feels like "our" home now.  As promised all boxes have been opened and dealt with, many have been unpacked, but others have been opened and stashed in our dungeon.  Depending on the weather this weekend I may spend a chunk of time down there sorting through them in greater detail and making a list of their contents on the outside of the box to allow for easier access over the next couple of years until we can convert the dungeon and finally release their contents back into their natural habitat.

To fill you in on what's happened since the last blog, we spent the Monday frantically packing things onto the big yellow removals van and cleaning the floors and skirting boards till the place sparkled.  We then raced north arriving home (!) around 8pm.  On the Tuesday the removal guys arrived and by lunchtime it was all done.  Waving them off on their long journey south we set to it sorting the boxes.  It took a couple of goes to get the furniture layout just right, seeing what would fit and what needed to be stored, but with that sorted the box-fest began in earnest.  The frantic box opening lasted until the weekend and gave us the opportunity to discover the location of the nearest dump where we quickly realised we're now in the land of "It's only open on...".  It feels rather lovely to be somewhere where many shops and amenities are closed on Sundays (bar the tourist places of course) and where you have to travel some distance to find somewhere open 24/7.  I know of at least one family member who will recoil in horror at the very thought, but it makes us very happy.  I've always worried about the people who have to work all hours in those places and have known several people in the past who rarely see their spouses for weeks at a time when they're on opposite shifts - that can't be healthy, can it?
Our new garden

After the frantic unpacking, phase 2 kicked in - notifying everyone of our change of address.  Most of our friends and family were easy enough to do as we could just drop them an email, but then all the official places needed to be done, and there's just no consistency in how they need us to do it.  My bank refused to let me do it online so I had to nip into a local branch with my driver's licence whereas Steve's bank were happy to let him do it online.  Some places were happy with an email, others required a letter.  Some were happy with a phone call, others required a form to be filled in, in triplicate, in blood.  OK, I may have embellised that last part a little, but anyone who's ever had to go through this will understand exactly what I mean.

Then finally, in amongst all of that, the internet arrived and we were finally reconnected to the outside world.  It's an absolute joy to be able to surf the net and catch up with everyone without sitting in a bar with a football match going on over our heads. (The only sensible place to plug in at the campsite was under the large TV that always seemed to be showing some footie game or other, and here's me thinking they only played on Saturday afternoons!)  I can now officially surf the web, catch up with my friends and write this blog whilst sitting at my dining table wearing my PJs. It's the little things that make me happy.

As well as unpacking I've been getting used to my new commute, which has been complicated by the temporary closure of the Kent Estuary viaduct and means I have the pleasure of a bus replacement service until the middle of July.  It's turned a 50 minute train ride into a 90 min journey, but rather that then plunge into the Kent Estuary from a poorly maintained bridge.  It's given me the chance to get to know the geography of the area a little better, plus, as the bus drops me off at Carnforth station, I get to run up and down the ramps pretending to be Celia Johnson.  (If you've never watched "Brief Encounter" now's the time to do it - a large part of the action takes place at a busy railway station and Carnforth is where they filmed it.  If you're interested they've restored the tea rooms and have a small but lovely visitor's centre.)

My next mission is to join clubs and find friends.  I've tried chatting to all the shopkeepers when I pop in for things and I've tried looking in the local papers for clubs and stuff, but we've moved to a retirement community and many of the activites they organise take place during working hours.  I'm thinking of advertising for friends, but doesn't that look a little desperate?  I'm sure there are loads of lovely people around here who will be happy to welcome a freindly, if slightly bonkers, 40-something into their midst, all I need to do is find them.  I guess the first step would involve me getting out there and looking as opposed to sitting at my dining table writing my blog - so I'll be off then - Grange-over-Sands, brace yourselves, I'm on my way!