Friday 18 March 2016

What Victoria did next

Reality struck.

I was a little confused on the Sunday morning. This might have been something to do with drinking too much wine - alone - and almost certainly too much leaky eye stuff. I’m truly pathetic. But the confusion was enhanced by the fact that owing to the depressed fire alarm whinging about the cold I have to keep all the doors upstairs closed so that it’s warm enough and it doesn’t squeak.

I walked out of my room, saw Clare’s door shut and thought “oh good, she got home”. I made it a few more steps before realising this was slightly unlikely. I made tea. Tea fixes most things. As does toast. But I forego the straight toast as I had promised myself baconz on the first Sunday back. But not until I’d fed the washing machine again, I still had Missy’s final bedding wash to do.

Which meant that I made tea, went back upstairs and then faffed around for at least an hour with a foot file to deal with the damage that three weeks without a pedicure does. It wasn’t pretty. I finally emerged in full on can’t-be-arsed battle dress which if you’ve not seen is a vest top and a very elderly Laura Ashley skirt that is perfect for bumbling about as it has pockets.

So, toasted bread, egg, a couple of left over sossidges sliced and a two bits of baconz from the freezer were combined to make a perfect not-very-healthy-at-all-but-I-don’t-care breakfast. Though it was nearly lunchtime. I then proceeded to achieve precisely nothing other than arrange for my friend Stef to pop around later which made me realise that I’d best actually get some proper food in as whilst the freezer had things in the fridge as empty as my head.

So back to Nisa then.

Of course the definition of proper food is a subjective thing, I picked up some peppers, leeks and an onion - not wanting to get too much as it would only need moving later - to which I sensibly added a box of maltesers (five-a-day), ginger nuts (ditto) and a multi-pack of flakes (you know where this is going). An actual balanced diet, three healthy things, three bad things. Two pork chops were extracted from the freezer and left to defrost and I retired to the sofa with a cup of tea, iBastard Jnr, a plate of ginger nuts and a flake.

Never let it be said I don’t know how to have fun.

At 16:04 my reverie was broken by the new from Three that owing to their Feel At Home service I’d saved the equivalent of £336.55, which is impressive though I should add if I didn’t have it all the way through France and Italy I would have gone all 1980s and not sent endless messages. I still like it though. I also played a bit more with maps and this *should* be the subject of a blog on its own as it’s a bit technical but I still enjoyed actually mucking about with something pointless and avoiding the inevitable anxiety about…

Going back to work.

Fortunately this was distracted by Stef turning up so we popped open one of the two bottles of pink fizz I brought from Le Havre and proceeded to put the world to rights. And talk more about the trip to New York we’d vaguely discussed many moons ago to coincide with her fortieth birthday.
Not that we actually agree anything in any sort of detail.

Dinner was a relatively simple affair, some leeks were sliced and softened in butter then peppers, garlic and a little chilli were added before they soaked in tomatoes. Meanwhile I’d whizzed up some wholemeal bread for crumbs, grated parmesan, mixed with the breadcrumbs and some cayenne and ground pepper and after slicing off the bone and slopping them in olive oil the chops were thickly coated with the breadcrumb and parmesan medley. Finally in to the oven for 40 ish minutes at 180C. Oh and I did some pasta too which was inevitably sick all over the hob as I wasn’t really focussing.

I think it was okay.

The next morning I woke bright and early, the upside of still being mentally on continental time. Or just mental. As the weather looked good it would be a walking morning. In fact it also became and walking evening, as did the next day, I simply did not want to go on the underground.

It’s odd walking a route I’ve done so many times but not for a few weeks, you realise how much London changes and how quickly. On Queenhithe I saw that the old Queens Quay building was rapidly disappearing as demolition was progressing, though not as dramatic as later in the evening when I saw the back of All Saints on Margaret Street for the first time. As I approached Blackfriars I had cheery good mornings and waves from three orange clad blokes working on a construction platform on the Thames, I imagine not something they would normally do but then I was probably the first person in, well, three weeks that had paid them any real attention, I am genuinely fascinated by the process of creating a workspace *in* a river using piling. Still, it made my morning.
Even the walk home was lovely and it was nice to simply reacquaint myself with the rhythm of the city. I will admit though that there was an ulterior motive. I didn’t want to go home. Well I did, but I wanted to burn some of the evening so I could get in, eat and then sleep. Which is exactly what I did. Though not until I’d eaten the last of the previous night’s concoction with freshly done pork chops.

Tuesday came and went in a flash of endless tasks and a job list that grows faster than I can deal with it. On the bright side I did at least have my dinner already defrosted, one of the lasagnes I froze after the last lasagne party so I could at least look forward to that. Unfortunately other than some parmesan I had no cheese for the top so I stopped at the-worst-Tesco-on-the-planet and got some. And… some ice-cream.

I was focussing my inner Bridget Jones.

Wednesday. I never did like Wednesday’s. At least I saw my shadow! All was going well right up to the point when a database server decided then was a good time to not do as it was told. This made me cross and also meant I left way to late to attend the WI meeting. Still I arranged to meet and talk more about New York and produce something approaching a concrete plan as if nothing else flights needed to be booked and unlike in the EU we did actually need to have an address to stop the US immigration people being twitchy that we didn’t have an address. Anyway, it was also the first time in nearly a month that I’d taken the underground. Dear lord.
Thursday. This is now starting to sound like a tedious diary, hmm, “Victoria Stamps and the edge of reason”, nah, it would never work.

Stands on scale, weight lost: 0.5kg v.v.v.good. Wine consumed: err, not admitting to that. v.bad. Also chocolate. Still avoiding contact with the underground as cooties…

You get the idea, it would never work. Though in the film I want Sandra Bullock to play me. Even if I’m a lot fatter. Hollywood darling.
Get back on track Victoria. As Arthur Dent said, I never could get the hang of Thursday’s. But fortunately this one behaved. Mostly. And I managed to get much done before finally scurrying home to get keys, throw a clean pair of knickers in a bag and head to Norfolk to fetch the littlest offspring.
Which brings me to now. Friday. We came back this morning, complete with Hamish. Once we’d got settled in it was off for a slow walk down the canal before a play in Ropemaker’s Field and then a meander around Limehouse Basin so the little one could see where I was moving to. Dinner was fusion food, bad things and good things, the bad for me was some southern fried mini-fillets nestling beside some good in the form of tomato/chilli/peppers and whatever.

Later I went for a quick walk around Bartlett Park with Hamish and noticed something as I looked at the old homestead… There was somebody moving in to the flat I *should* have been moving in to. So either a) the landlord was a lying two face bastard (say it’s not so) or b) somebody had managed to buy, complete and move in within 5 weeks or c) b) plus find a new tenant. Either way, not a problem. It’s best I move on from here as the memories are too strong and I hope that the lady - I’d bumped in to her as we left the building - that is moving in is very happy though that particular apartment has had a high turnover.
Me though? I have a future to deal with.

Tomorrow morning my eldest will be - hopefully - turning up to look after his brother and his dog whilst I bimble down the canal to Limehouse Basin to do the check-in at the new place before returning and doing no moving whatsoever as I’d rather spend time with my children. Still it’s an emotional moment, whilst I can sleep here all the way until April the 7th and will at least be here tomorrow night after that I will be in the new place and slowly sorting and clearing this one as I have the luxury of time. I’m trying not to think of it and I’m just hoping that this next chapter is as interesting as the one I am leaving.

Watch this space.

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