21st October

Ok this edit I’m working on is driving me nuts! It’s for an awards ceremony of sorts and I have to make a video for each of the finalists which I’m told should be around one and a half minutes long. The problem is that there’s about 15 minutes of footage for each of them and getting it cut down that far is a nightmare and a long snd painstaking task. It doesn’t help that they’re all as boring as shit as well. Only got 4 done by the end of the day so it looks like I’m going to be on this all week!  Well that’s something to look forward to!

20th October

Careful what you wish for…….

So I applied for a job a couple of weeks ago and according to the advert the interviews were to be held last week.  So when I hadn’t heard anything by last Thursday I was starting to panic that they hadn’t got my cv so after much deliberation I emailed them to check.

They said that they had received it and would be in touch but again when I hadn’t heard by today I was starting to expect the worst. Then suddenly this afternoon I got an email inviting me for interview and giving me a list of things that I have to do for it. So now instead of panicking about not getting an interview I’m panicking about the fact I have!

First problem is I can’t actually make the date they sent me 😦

19th October

We went shopping today and instead of going to Consett like we usually do we went to Bishop Auckland instead. We decided (Sarah and I that is) that we were fed up of chicken and we would get a nice bit of beef even though we knew we’d be the only two who ate it. The prices are extortionate but we found a small bit that we felt we could afford and got that. The shopping came out at a heart stopping £125 and that was on top of the £7 we’d already spent at the little fruit and veg shop in Crook that we like. I know we bought a lot of stuff to put away for Christmas and I bought some oil for the car (which incidentally has been put into a new design bottle and had a massive price increase added to it!) but even so it’s been a long time since we spent that much in one go!

Anyway we were just about ready to serve dinner and I was just bending down to check on the yorkshires when everything went black! My first thought was “what did I do” but we soon realised that it had gone dark all over the estate and on the new estate too – another power cut! So we scrabbled round looking for torches and candles and solar lamps and eventually managed to get the dinner served and we ate it by candlelight. We were just about to look up the Powergrid number or phone Sarah’s mum to get her to do it as we were struggling to get any decent signal on the phones as well (think the Vodafone mast must have been knocked out too) when all the lights came back on.

18th October

After yesterday I woke up with the urge to get out and do something today rather than just potter about the house. However I didn’t know what or where I wanted to go! Sarah suggested all the usual places but I didn’t fancy the likes of Bishop Auckland or Durham and Newcastle just seemed too busy. In the end we decided to have a run up to Hexham as we hadn’t been there since we moved here. In fact I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever done anything more than just pass through.

So Ben was in a very grumpy mood having been away for three days at his adventure camp thing so when we said we were going out he threw a wobbly and actually went and hid under his bed! So we asked Lissi if she minded looking after him which meant we had a nice quite afternoon but had to get back in time for Lissi to go to work at 6.

We drove into Hexham and went to find somewhere to park. When we did find the car park it was heaving and we had to drive round for ages before we found somewhere to park. This wasn’t helped by what I think was a piece of dirt in the fuel line that kept causing the car to stall whenever I slowed down! Eventually I did find somewhere and we set off to look round the shops.

There was a tourist information place and we looked in there. I found a book about mushrooms and toadstools that had been reduced to £3 from £9. It was just the right size that it would fit in my bag if I went walking so I decided to buy it. Afterwards we looked around the rest of the town. It reminded me a bit of the old part of Canterbury which I loved and there was a shop we went into called Gaia. This definitely reminded me of a shop in Canterbury – one where I’d bought a thumb piano years ago and this shop was the first one I’d seen that sold them since. Also by a curious coincidence it had one of the postcards we used to have on our bedroom door – one we had also bought in that shop in Canterbury. Sarah pointed out a card about tea which we bought for our kitchen.

After lunch in a local pub which looked as if it had been a theatre or cinema in a previous life we had another look round and Sarah ended up buying a bright pink suitcase in a charity shop for £3. We then had about an hour before we needed to set off home so we drove down to Corbridge and had a wander round there.
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Corbridge is a place where I have had a long connection. A friend of my mum’s lived there and we were often coming up to visit her. Her parents used to run one of the pubs in the town and as I pointed out to Sarah it was quite possibly the first place I ever got drunk. I think I was left upstairs watching TV with her son Michael who was older than me and my Dad kept sneaking me a half of lager every now and again. Last time we were here the pub had closed down so it was good to see it open again. I went in to ask about the cost of the carvery and needless to say the inside has changed a lot but I can honestly say I don’t think it has changed the character of the pub too much.

It has been an emotional couple of days with lots of memories so it was no wonder that I crashed out when we got back and when Sarah woke me up I had absolutely no idea where I was, what time it was or anything!

17th October

Although I didn’t go to bed till late I still had to get up early to take Lissi over to Consett to catch the bus to Newcastle. It’s getting darker every time I do this but as I was driving back the sun was rising. Almost every morning I see a sight that makes me want to stop and take a photograph and today was no exception. Looking across the hills I could see the sun rising with the wind turbines in silhouette and looking like they were floating on a sea of mist – beautiful!

My car had to go into have it’s MoT test done this morning – I dread this every year! The last two years it has needed work doing to it that has cost us around £400 each time. Luckily for me I had the money put aside this year so I was hoping that there wouldn’t be too much to be done and I’d be able to cover it with the £350 I had in my deposit account without having to dip into my current account. I wandered round the house for an hour after walking back from the garage dreading the phonecall. The longer I waited the more convinced I was that there would be a huge (expensive) problem. When the phone call finally came I was informed that the car had passed and apart from the £45 test fee the only thing to pay was £5 for a brake light bulb – phew!

It was my former mother-in-law’s funeral today and it was right down almost to the last minute before I decided to go. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to go and pay tribute to someone who was in my life for the best part of a quarter of a century but because I was unsure how my ex-wife, who can be unpredictable, would react. It was only after I double checked with my daughter that I decided to go.

I got to the crematorium early and waited outside – there wasn’t anyone I recognised although there were several people who were obviously there for the funeral. The cars were nearly 15 minutes late arriving, a fact noted by one of the people standing next to me to which another replied “It’s Margaret, of course they’re late!” – this made me smile because my former Mother-in-Law was never known for her timekeeping (something her daughter inherited!)

Anyway the funeral turned out to be far more emotional than I had anticipated with a lot of memories being stirred. There was one point during the (non religious) service that really touched me. They asked us to spend a few moments contemplating our memories of Margaret and while we did they played Spandau Ballet’s True which meant I could only remember the time when Margaret and her husband danced to it at their eldest daughter’s wedding. I stayed and talked until the cars drove away and then headed back to my car. I didn’t go back to the do afterwards as I had other things to do.

I went into Durham to meet up with Lissi and had about half an hour to kill. As I walked through the shopping centre I was stopped by a chugger (Charity mugger!).

“Excuse me sir, how’s your day been today”

“Well I’ve just come back from a funeral”

This didn’t seem to deter her in the slightest and she continued saying she wouldn’t take up too much of my time. Her next question was

“Do you know anyone who suffers from heart disease? It is one of the countries biggest killers!”

You couldn’t make it up – needless to say she didn’t get much further.

16th October

Just before I left work last night I opened an email from a client that I had sent something to earlier.  It was really negative and it made me feel really low for the rest of the evening. However today, after a really bad nights sleep, and after it had been pointed out to her that it was the concept she was meant to be looking at rather than the finish she came back and said she really liked it!

Anyway since I started doing this this was the most I’ve ever been glad to be driving home. It didn’t help, given I was tired before I even left, that i found the motorway closed at one point and was sent on a 25 mile excursion around single carriageway roads before rejoining the A1 just south of Blyth services where I was glad to stop but the diversion had added over half an hour to my journey.

For the last few weeks I’ve been arriving in the village between 11 and midnight and I’ve been contemplating the idea of last orders in the pub. Well tonight as Ben was still away at his camp Sarah and Lissi had gone down to the hotel where Lissi works. I thought they’d probably would have already gone home by the time I got there but they hadn’t. So I had a pint in the bar while talking to one of the locals called Terry. I love this place it’s so friendly AND I didn’t have to pay for the beer! 🙂

15th October

I’ve been really down all week. I haven’t missed Sarah and the family this much for a long time and I’ve only been away for a few days. I can’t wait to get back home again tomorrow – this is most unlike me! I’m usually very resilient but this week just seems to have got to me.

On the upside, if there is one, I always feel more creative when I’m down!

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Then to make things worse I got a text off my daughter about her Gran’s funeral on Friday:

Thanks dad
I don’t know if you want to, but everyone has said that you are welcome
if you want to come 
Not that I know any details yet so can’t tell you even if I wanted to

So that set me off feeling even worse than I already did! I would like to go – after all I did know her as my mother-in-law for over 20 years. But on the other hand I didn’t invite my ex to my Dad’s or my Gran’s funeral (not that I think she would have come anyway) and I don’t want my presence to cause any upset. Oh this just gets more complicated every day!

14th October

Oh god what a day at work! When i went in today all of the files in the project i was working on had disappeared or been corrupted or something. It took me till 11am just to get the two files i was currently using restored and the rest of the day to restore the rest……and I’m still not convinced they’re all back 😦

I left work feeling really low but on the way back to Barbara’s i got the good news that Chubby the cat had been found! Sarah’s brother and his girlfriend had been round and put up posters and it had had an almost immediate effect – someone called to say they’d found him. He’d been seen at a pub about half a mile to the east of the house and had follwed someone home, past the end of the street and ended up about half a mile i  the opposite direction! He was chilling on the chair when I got back – actually he was taking up most of it!

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He is actually huge, almost like a dog. I’d been stroking him for ages but it wasn’t until he stood up and walked through to the kitchen that I realised the full extent of him! I think Barbara was sad to see him go but happy that it had all turned out well in the end!

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13th October

As I was walking into the office this morning I saw someone who I’d never seen before walking through the car park towards our building.  I knew straight away that he was the new designer in our department – even though I wasn’t actually aware that anyone was actually starting! It’s odd going back into the office after such a long time away.

The weather continues to be disgusting down here – I think it’s actually better at home at the moment.  I went to Tesco on the way back to Barbara’s and had to run through the car park to get in out of the rain. Then having put all my stuff through the self service checkout I realised that I’d left mt wallet in the car and had to run through the rain to get it.

Sarah’s mum was looking after Sarah’s brothers two cats while they went away and just before theywere due back one of them went out and has yet to return. She’s really upset about it and has even contacted the local Cat Protection people about it. I was in on my own tonight and must have opened the front doorto have a look every single time I heard a noise!

12th October

After being at home for almost 2 weeks I’m not looking forward to heading back down south. I’ve really enjoyed being here for that time and feel so at home and happier living in Tow Law. The sooner I find a job up here the better!

The journey down felt like it took ages but it was the usual length. It probably felt longer because I had to take Lissi over to Jean’s first. Then there was the saga of trying to get her to sign some forms for Dad’s estate, one of which needed to be witnessed. It was about 7pm by the time I filled up the car and got on the road.

It was almost midnight by the time I got to Caterham. The weather was so disgusting it felt as though I’d driven from summer into autumn!