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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

As an anti-dote to the Things that are Weird posts, since there are (of course) more good things about living here than weird things.

1. The light quality. It’s so much softer, more restful. Still bright, but not scorching. Love it.

2. Clouds. I’ve always loved looking at clouds, I even have a Flickr set devoted to photos of them. The clouds here are fantastic. They scud across the sky, or hang there as a gigantic sky sculptures.

3. Plants. They are green and lush and just everywhere. Wildflowers tend to be the flowers I love – foxgloves, sweet pea, blackberries (OK not a flower, but I love looking at them), and ones I am recognising and coming to appreciate.

4. The cafe downstairs from work with the lovely Italian men who call me Bella, and say Bourgiorno to me every morning and make my toast and coffee without me needing to say a word. They also the best steak sandwich on the planet. Tender, juicy, right balance of ingredients. It’s been a goal to find a good steak sandwich for years. Yay Italian cafe that is a restful place in the morning just before work! Wish I could take them with me to all future employment situations.

5. Summer is lovely. I don’t care what the popular opinion is, summer is really pleasant, like a few months of the nicest September or March days in Sydney, not too hot, lovely breezes, long twilights.

4. Berries! I didn’t really get the love of berries in Australia. With the exception of fresh blackberries. English strawberries are divine, raspberries are to be consumed whenever possible.

5. Most people speak softly. This has reduced my incidence of noise sensitivity which is fantastic. One less stress point is a very good thing.

6. Variety of ingredients. Sydney – Newtown has a better selection of places to eat, but England has a much better selection of ingredients, which are easier to access. Perhaps this is why I am doing more cooking here. Which is also a good outcome.

7. In my opinion the discourse around sustainability is more balanced and advanced. This is probably the subject of a future post. Or one in a related blog if ever I get it up and running which will focus on policy/sustainability rants, rather than muddy-ing the two together.

There’s more, but 7 will do for now.

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I probably need to not write these on the following Tuesday afternoon as most of it escapes me, but here goes.

A better working situation

Work got better this week, possibly because we lost another contractor and so now they’re not actually overstaffed and I’m picking up her overflow of work. Or, I stopped being mildly stressed out and hibernating about life and responsibilities and actually started to drive this process. Or I realised that this place is not like my previous workplace (duh!) and that my former boss was fantastic in the way she gave feedback, I’m not going to get that here and I should just use it as a chance to practice other skills.

Reflection and growth

It was a week of reflecting on the past, the future, the current and trying to establish what has changed and what needs to change. Some of this has been, and continues to be rather difficult and exhausting. By the end of the week I was in tears while talking to Jed “just… wanting… it… to… stop.” I’ve done so much growth and change and work on myself over the past 2.5 years that I was hoping for a bit of a break. Apparently no. Assuming that it’s going to get easier when you move to an entirely different country is a rather silly assumption. Add to this that communication and working on our stuff is part of what makes Jed and I work, and we’ve both made a concious commitment to not sweep things under the carpet, then it is very silly to assume it’s not going to be exhausting at time. Worthwhile, definately, but also exhausting.

On the plus side I can feel patterns and assumptions I’ve been carrying for years starting to untangle and be voiced. Fears of failure and not being good enough and people being disappointed with me if I say what I really think and feel are slowly being addressed. Untangling a whole new ball of emotional wool, discovering a couple more issues onions that I need to get to the centre of, which I’ve done before and can do again and I know that at the end of it these particular submerged fears will be less problematic. Just the getting there is tough.

There was some cool stuff that came out of this reflection.

I drew up a timeline of the people and ideas and stages and events from the last 2.5 years, which was an interesting excercise in where I’d been and what had drastically changed.

I realised that one of my behavioural patterns developed during a very specific period in my twenties and if I could catch the first stages of that behaviour and remember that it wasn’t always like this then maybe it could change.

I’m working on convincing inner me that I am actually an adult who’s allowed to be heard and doesn’t have to be invisible anymore.

And Jed and I started to plan out a future where he gets to be the thing he’s always wanted to be and I get to practice all the things I’m really good at. That’s been quite exciting, and means that very shortly I’ll be getting out big pieces of paper and coloured pens to write and draw diagrams and plans and lists, one of my favourite things. We’re also getting closer to working out what we need to do to move to London for a year. By Christmas.

Stuff we did (or where’s the photos! and you’ve not mentioned the lego yet, for once)

What with all that reflection and growth we didn’t really do a lot of ‘things’ this week. Although I forgot my camera, so there’s no photos.

Friday night Jed got carded at the local supermarket for the alcohol he was trying to buy, but was refused as he didn’t have photo ID (32!!). I didn’t have any ID either. So we went to our local and laughed with them. Then a bat was discovered in the pub and we both had a lovely time helping to shoo it out and generally just watching it fly around. They are truly stunning. I can understand why you’d instictively be scared, but a bat is never going to hit you because of it’s sonar.

Saturday we went to Brighton for brunch, just because Redhill has not-even-close-to-Newtown-standard cafes and I was seriously craving such a venue. We eventually found a place that did crepes, with the right sort of staff, decor and music, and had a lovely breakfast. At 12.30. Then shopping. CDs, window shopping, and lego (see, told you!), which means my medical centre is almost, almost finished.

Sunday we went to Kew Gardens with one of my oldest friends and her boyfriend. Wandered around lots of trees, looked at fish, had tea and cake, climbed through a very large replica badger sett (and avoided collecting any of the myriad of children that were also crawling around inside the drakish tunnels), sat in front of the Japanese garden section, and then went back to their place for a late BBQ. Lovely! The National Garden photographer of the year exhibition was on, so we also got to look at gorgeous photos. So gorgeous that Jed bought the book so we can keep looking at them.

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Redhill, Surrey

The GaribaldiI’ve ended up in Redhill, Surrey, for the moment. It’s a railway town, with predominantly Victorian housing stock, and a town centre that was rebuilt during the 1980s. It reminds me a lot of a large Australian country town like Bathurst, combined with the rural north-west of Sydney where I grew up. It’s probably a combination of surroundings, climate and demographic.

I’ve made some additional tools for this post, an annotated googlemap, and a Flickr set which you may find interesting.

Redhill is about half hour by train from London. It’s just outside the M25 that rings London, and is essentially a satellite town for the nearby city of Reigate, as well as a commuter town for London. There are a number of finance businesses located here, so the centre of town is bustling at lunch, and therefore supports a number of eateries and retail shops. That being said, there’s no stand-out place to eat or to socialise in except the pubs which means it’s a good place to live, but not an outstanding place. I’ve taken to getting my morning coffee from the local Costa, which is a chain maybe a few steps above Starbucks. At least they have soy milk, actually know what a macchiato is, and offer fair-trade at no extra charge.

The centre of town has grown up along two cross streets, which have been converted into pedestrian only spaces. A line of trees planted down the south arm of the cross have had circular solid benches built around them, a pleasant place to sit and wait for certain men to go on their lunch break. The north arm is under a glass arched cover, with small black benches to sit on. This end is closer to the local Sainsburys.

To my eye the town seems to be divided between these two spaces, in terms of where you will wait for a friend, or eat lunch. The north arm seems to be more chavs (bogans in Australian parlance), whereas the south arm seems to be more porfessional. This split exemplifies the town in general, with both groups existing, but not necessarily mixing.

There are a number of pubs. Our ‘local’ is the Junction, right in the middle of town, which has frequently been referred to as a pub attempting to be a wine bar. This does mean it’s quieter and a bit trendier than other pubs in the area. Seems fine to me.

One of the things I notice about the area (and England in general) are the gardens and greenery. Gardens of all sizes, in almost any available space. Colour and greenery. Some of which have been there for years and grown into a lovely, but pretty mess. Some of which you know was recently purchased and bought to bring a shot of spring colour into a landscape that was recently wintery and grey.

There’s a local market here every Thursday and Saturday, which means there’s a butcher, fishmonger and fruit and veg stall which I can visit on a regular basis in an attempt to maintain seasonally based eating. To compliment this there’s a Delicatessen and fine food store on the hill behind the house, which sells the other small items I need for my cooking, and they do a decent coffee, although there’s nowhere to sit and enjoy it.

I’m sure there’ll be more to say about the town as time progresses, but this is enough for a introduction and backgrounder.

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