My job is mobile and I split my time working alternate weeks in Norfolk and Nottinghamshire. I drive down country roads, enjoying rural England through the seasons.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Taken from Instances of the Number 3 by Salley Vickers

"I doubt not of my own salvation; and in whom can I have such occasion of doubt as in my Self?  When I come to heaven, shall I be able to say to any there, Lord! how got you hither?  Was any man less likely to come hither than I?"  John Donne, Sermon VIII, 371.

I love Salley Vickers' books.  To date I've read Miss Garnet's Angel, which inspired in me a (so far unfulfilled) ambition to go for long solitary walks in Venice; and Mr Golightly's Holiday, in which God decides to take a long overdue holiday in an English country village.  I'm currently half way through Instances of the Number 3 which I bought for 50p from a church fete a few weeks ago. 

I'm reading it very slowly as I don't want to end the pleasure; Salley writes beautifully, her style is clear and understated and reading her prose just feels good in itself.  But what I like most of all is that she is a kind author - her characters aren't perfect, and she shows that it's their faults and foibles that make them individual, human, and likeable.  And as they grow and develop, I feel somehow that I do too in my understanding of human nature and my place in the world around me.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

At last, the perfect handbag

Not sure if I mean the "at last" to refer to finding the perfect handbag, or simply relief at finding a few spare minutes to continue my last post - life seems to be continuing its current rather hectic pace at the moment. Anyway, before I have to go and help with dinner, sterilise my kits, wash my towels, walk the dog, help feed the horses... I'm going to write a bit about my lovely new handbag.

So, where to start..
Sizewise, it's fairly small, only 8" tall by about 12" wide and expands to about 4-5 inches depthwise. But one of the great things about it is that the depth is the same at the top as at the bottom - and you can still close the zip without any difficulty, which means that you don't lose any storage space from the bag getting narrower as you get to the top. Also, with it being fairly short, you don't lose things at the bottom of the bag - which usually happens to me as I resort to larger and larger hold-all type bags to try to fit all the things I feel the need to carry around with me.
So, at the moment I have in my bag the following:
1 purse, 1 filofax, 2 cheque books and 1 paying in book, small notebook, 2 pens, bunch of keys, small handbag sized deodorant spray, tube of handcream, packet of polos, small packet of biscuits left over from lunch, small pack of wet-wipes, pencil case holding some headache pills, plasters, tweezers and a pair of scissors, 1 lipstick, small compact mirror, facepowder, eyeliner pencil, hair comb, slim wallet of business cards, packet of sweeteners, couple of wrapped sachets of fennel tea, mobile phone, and a pair of reading glasses.
Not bad for such a small space I think. Everything is easy to find, it all holds together nicely, the zip does up nicely without any wrestling or tugging needed - and there are poppers at each end of the zip to fasten the ends down neatly to the ends of the bag.
And that's not the end of it, as I have saved the best till last! The outside of the bag is a detachable shell, so the colour and fabric/texture can change to fit my mood/clothes/the weather etc etc. When I bought the bag, it came with 2 shells, and a change of straps so that I have a choice if I want the short straps shown in the photo, or longer ones so that it hangs down to my hips. I went for 2 fairly conservative shells, but my sister bought a bright pink one and my mother a lime green one - both of which I intend to "borrow" every now and again...
And instead of having a suitcase to carry all my different handbags, all I need is a shelf to stack the shells flat on, which means a bit more space in my tiny bedroom for other things - such as books, shoes...
It's called a michebag, I believe there is a website, which I intend to find at some point so that I can ask for new shells for my birthday or Christmas!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Finding the Perfect Handbag

I don't know if there's something in this or not, but the only times I seem to be posting anything to this blog this year are on or around birthdays - Kathryn's in May, and mum's yesterday. Anyway, first sentence over and done with, I thought I'd post something on our mini holiday in Norfolk and day at the Norfolk show.

Mum and dad have been back in the UK for about 18 months now and I was wondering if we would ever get dad to agree to a visit to Kathryn's so the coincidence of mum's 75th and the Norflk show seemed too good an opportunity to miss, especially as Kathryn's wedding has now been postponed so we could move the B&B booking. And we had a great time, both at Kathryn's and at the show - which was not only great in itself, but pretty wonderful given my sister and parents' fragile relationship, all too often fraught by mis-remembered and long-held grievances and unresolved issues. For once, these all stayed safely buried and in the past and we simply enjoyed a few days with each other in the here and now.

The show was great too - I know that being a Norfolk dumpling makes me biased, but there really isn't another county show as good as it I think. When we were younger it was such an important date in the calendar that we used to get the days off school, and it was good to see that there were still lots of school trips and kids as excited as we used to be.

We saw some of the livestock exhibitions and competitions. I have a real fondness for the pigs and if I ever win the lottery and get my little cottage in the country I'm going to keep a couple of pigs - saddlebacks or oldspots for choice.

And we also wandered round the exhibitions and sales stands - which brings me to my latest handbag purchase. But of that I will write more next time as I'm starting to run out of time and steam tonight. I had to drive us back after the show yesterday and have had a full day's work today, and I'm so tired I'm starting to spend too much time correcting my typos now.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

May and spring at last

It's 4 months more or less since I last posted on this blog - so much for consistency then! I can't be bothered to do a catch up - and having just wasted half of my "spare" half hour messing about with the blog settings, I only have just over 10 minutes to post before I need to go out to my first customer of the day. As it's Kathryn's birthday I only have 2 this morning and then a nice lunchtime gap when we're going to go into Norwich for lunch, and then a few later on this afternoon.

So what do I have to say for myself? Not much really. Work is going well - I'm not making a living yet, but hoping to be breaking even and bringing in the mortgage money by the end of July when my savings run out, I've more or less got used to the weekly commute between Notts and Norwich and have started to appreciate and love the flatlands I drive through. In fact I think I'd quite like to live in the fens one day - no chance of feeling claustrophobic with all that sky and open views.

That's it, time up, nothing said, but I'm going to post this anyway in the hope that it will inspire me to come back later and write something better.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Working with older people

I love what I do, not least because while I'm working I get to chat to lots of lovely individuals. Most of my customers are elderly, and although I don't subscribe to the niaive belief that all older people are lovely per se just because they are old, I do find most of my customers to be friendly, kind and also very interesting. And just like me, they're not in a hurry, not desperate to be out there rushing around, living this mad 24/7 thing we all seem to be obsessed with now. After my past 2 jobs, it's a refreshing change of pace and of perspective.

But the downside to working with the elderly came home to me today, when one of my customer's next of kin rang to say that he had passed away last week.

I don't know what else to say really. I'm not shocked or devastated, just a little sad, and feeling that when I go to see my customers in the future I'll make sure I enjoy the time I spend with them each and every visit.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Why I hate snow, but love the AA...

I came down to Norfolk on Monday, batteries recharged and ready to crack on with my new career. I was a little nervous on the way to my first customer but to my relief the nerves lifted as soon as I started work, and I've had half a dozen customers, interesting, nice people with interesting and not too complicated nail and foot problems, and I've loved the getting out and about and not being stuck in an office doing the same things day after day.

And then came the snow, spoiling it all.

I feel in a bit of a minority as everyone else around me seems to love the stuff, and I do agree that there is something quite magical about it when it first starts to fall and the world turns white, clean and bright bright bright - especially first thing in the morning.

But that's it, half an hour of it is fine. Now I just want it all to melt and go away. I'm sick to death of the time it takes to clear the car each day, the treacherous roads and driving conditions, idiot drivers in 4 by 4s who ignore the treacherous roads and driving conditions, slippy-slidey pavements, chilblains, the need to dress up as Mrs Michelin every single time I want to leave the house, panic buying in the local shops with all the bread and milk gone by lunchtime and queues around the block, frozen taps at the stables where my sister drags me each day to help out with the hay and feed routines for her 3 horses, twisting my ankles in snow-covered hidden ruts and rabbit holes in the fields. I'm sure I could think of more reasons but I'll leave it there for now.

So when I left my sister's house on Wednesday night about 10-ish and my car wouldn't start, I blamed it on the snow and the arctic cold. I rang the AA and they sent a really nice man out the next morning, who got in the car, turned the key, put his foot flat on the accelerator - and the car started almost immediately.

He was very kind - didn't look superior or condescending at all, didn't do any of that "woman-driver" thing, and in fact went out of his way to make me feel that I hadn't just wasted a whole load of his time because all I had done was flood the engine.