Thursday, 30 January 2014

One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things - Henry Miller

Lambs are here! Lots of them. Everywhere you look, there're more and more. And more on the way. How cute are they? There are black ones and white ones. Fat ones and thin ones. I nearly crashed the car this week, straining to see one particularly cautious, cute one cuddling up to its mother.

I also nearly crashed into a sheep this week. Thankfully I drive slowly because of the tight, country lanes. And as I journeyed away from work the other day, I came round a corner and face to face with a beautiful, white and fluffy sheep. She was totally unperturbed by my presence. Or by my car's presence, more to the point. She did accept to move when I flashed my headlights at her. But thought about it a moment before she did.

Indeed, I've been encountering a good deal of wildlife these past couple of weeks. Rabbits scampering about the lanes, the audacious sheep in the lane. And lots of impressive birds. Dancing starlings aside, I have been privileged to see a number of larger birds of the preying variety. None of which I'd dare to name as I am no bird watcher. But I keep seeing them sitting along the roadside. Or hovering over a nearby field. Hunting, I imagine. Or maybe just watching the world go by.

I will try to keep my camera with me in the future to share these wondrous sights. And to educate myself on the bird front.

Monday, 20 January 2014

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign - Robert Louis Stevenson

Time is certainly flying. I can't believe how quickly it goes by. And while on the one hand I am settling matters galore, on the other hand there is still so much left to sort out. Such is my life at this present time.

I continue to settle into my new job. My colleagues are lovely and welcoming, the clients are charming, the environment delightful. I also continue to settle into my new life. Calm, fulfilling, enchanting and fun.

I'm re-discovering more and more old acquaintances. And making new ones. My books on allotments have arrived in preparation for sowing the first seeds. My wellies and gardening gloves are at the ready. I'm also baking bread again. Kneading and pounding like a pro. A fairly mean fougasse being my latest triumph.

But not all goes so well. There are obstacles to my total contentment.  An application I made for a particular bank account was refused. It would seem I am not a safe bet. Shocking to hear, I might tell you. Certainly as I have never owed a penny to anyone in my life. Who'd have thought that could be detrimental. Apparently, there's little trace of me in this country over the past decade or more, good or bad.  Which makes me a risk of some sort. Never mind. Such are the trials of an expat.

I will say though that bank appointments are some of the most tedious meetings ever. That said, my last one was a tad more lively once I knew the counsellor loved photography. Our time was pleasantly interspersed with photographic exchanges of great value. To me. He was a whizz with a lens. Once I saw his work, I was ashamed to admit that I had a camera, never mind used it. And extensively. So off I go to practice some more. And then some more again...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move - Robert Louis Stevenson

Storms continue to batter the country at large. The island. My home. However, my immediate vicinity seems to have been spared the worst. Apart from my guttering. Which flew past my window and across the road during the worse part of the gales. Much to my dismay. And that of my neighbours, in whose garden it landed.

I did witness some of the more dramatic damage on a drive around the coast hours after a spell of heavy rainfall. Some parts of the road were flooded. And seaweed strewn. Still passable though, at that stage. Methinks they are not so passable now. And far more dramatic.

But I enjoyed the run round. I was showing the island to a friend of mine. Showing it off, indeed. She arrived in the morning to grey skies and drizzling rain. But after a good, hearty pub lunch, the clouds cleared away and we could stroll across the beach under blue skies and a few rays of sun.

It was a good day all round. Lovely to see her. Lovely to share my new environment with her. Lovely to be out on the beach.

But down to more serious things. I start work this week and am a tad nervous, to say the least. I did a dry run drive over to my work place this weekend. Just to calm my nerves. Or at least try. I do so dislike first days at work. I've had a few due to my propensity to move around a fair bit. And yet I never get accustomed to them. I likely won't sleep tonight. Won't manage breakfast tomorrow morning. And will worry my way through the whole day. But then it will be over. Hopefully for a long, long while.

It was wonderful to remind myself of my new working environment. Beautiful as it is. And while many parts of the island are sitting under water, these fields seem untouched. As green as ever. And full of sheep. Of course. 

I have a good feeling about it. I really do. Let's hope my instinct is trustworthy. It hasn't let me down thus far. So let's see. Watch this space...