Now that Christmas is out of the way despite the odd decoration still hanging up - I mean, how lazy do you have to be not to have taken down your Christmas kitsch by 7 February, I can report on the weird goings on in this corner of the world.
We spent Christmas at Richard's parents, down in Ashford, Kent. I missed the children enormously but was able to speak to all but one whose phone was turned off. Some things simply don't change. I was very well looked after and spoilt with presents from Richard and his family, and my daughters sent me a present too which was lovely. Richard took me to look at my old school but I didn't recognise a thing - I have obviously blotted out that part of my life as I hated it so much. It was rather unnerving not to be able to remember a place that housed me for seven years of my life and I was glad to leave the spot.
We celebrated the new year in Crewe at home and went to the front door at midnight expecting to see people wishing each other a happy new year but the road was empty. Plenty of fireworks, but not a soul in sight. This is really bizarre as I am used to people - and not necessarily friends, but people at the end of the road where I used to live, yet had never met before - getting together passing a bottle of champagne around and wishing one another all the best.
Mmmmm. The Christmas decorations were incredibly tacky and so kitsch that Crewe gets 10/10 for that, but the new year was a quiet and lonely affair spent with Richard and too much TV. I don't think that we went to bed until 4am. God knows what we were watching.
Then January happened. I started an Assertiveness Course which basically teaches us how to get around difficult situations without killing anyone. I think I must be doing something wrong as each time I try to avoid an argument, Richard asks me why I'm talking to him so strangely. At least it gets me out of the house for a couple of hours a week.
Last week I started doing voluntary work ("That won't bring in any money," said my Dad, "Well, no, that's why it's called voluntary work - and apparently it looks good on your CV," I replied. I don't seem to be able to do any good in his eyes - it's a good job I'm so far away from him) at Eagle Bridge, working with the Wishing Well Project. I'm helping in the IT Suite (stop laughing, this is serious), meeting and greeting people who use the computers and helping out when I can. Richard has started too, although on a different day.
Jobs aren't pouring in, but the hunt goes on. I gave in to my damp problem and bought a dehumidifier - thanks to everyone who gave advice. It does help enormously. The dining room still remains to be painted which will be a task as there is quite a bit of furniture in there as well as plenty of full boxes. And book shelves - where on earth am I going to put all my books? There really isn't the space in this house.
The girls are already talking about visiting again but I have said to wait until the weather gets warmer as it's nicer to visit the surrounding villages then. I can't believe that I have been living here for almost a year now. Much as I like Crewe and it's surroundings, I'm still finding it hard to adjust to the culture. If they have Christmas markets here, they don't sell gluhwein as it is against the law to drink on the streets. Most holidays are held on Mondays and are called Bank Holidays. If you have savings and no job, then this is definitely NOT the country to move to. You will be expected to live off those savings and that really and truly upsets me. And I'm leaving it at that.
Hopefully something of interest will happen before I next post because even I am getting bored. Perhaps I'll find a job!