Missing Vox

Since moving to the Isle of Arran and staring our new lives here, my techo life has changed dramatically. I used to spend hours reading blogs, reviewing hardware, doing Photoshop courses, etc. Now I’m having to run a Post Office and shop and I just don’t have time any more for any of that good stuff. I’ve played guitar for probably no more than a couple of hours in total since getting here three months ago.

But that’s the way it has to be.

It’s been tremendously hard and it continues to be that way. We used to be fairly well off, with savings in the bank and enough disposable income to satisfy my impulse buys of hardware and gadgets. Now the savings are gone, the bills are piling up and I’m having to make do with the old CRT TV that came with the house we’re renting (not that I have time to watch it much anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter really).

This is us about to get on the ferry last month for a trip to Ikea to buy some display cabinets for the shop.

But having said all that, I was walking along the main street in the village and people were saying hello and how are you and I really felt like I belong here in a way that I haven’t felt since leaving home a long time ago. We were never particularly happy living overseas, I especially, and so although it’s so hard sometimes that I feel like we’re not going to make it, deep down I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I love the challenge of taking on this new thing that’s so overwhelming at times and the job side of things is starting to get easier. I think I’m a decent boss, at least I try to be, and we’re slowly making the business our own. Lorraine has done brilliantly well ordering stock and we now have two display cabinets in the window with a decent range of teddies (from cheap-n-cheerful to designer) and a range of Island Porcelain (locally made hand-crafted wildlife in porcelain). I’ve also got a display cabinet full of guitar strings but the word has yet to spread as I’ve not yet managed to get out and play. There’s quite a vibrant folk scene on the island and nowhere to buy strings. Just got to get out and play some and meet some players. Soon, Camuel, soon.

But yes, I do miss my blog time, my hobby time, hell, just the chance to veg out for an hour. Now it’s home at 8 or 9 then into doing the books, the wages, the orders, or whatever else needs doing. Some nights I get home at 7 and wind up in bed at 8 with the kids.

Both the kids are happy here and are growing, oh how they grow. We forced ourselves to take half an hour out last Sunday and do the 2-minute walk to the beach (yes, I should count that particular blessing every day) where I got a few shots of the family.

I remember how I used to feel the need to make sure that I was caught up with my RSS feeds every morning and enjoyed doing that when I was supposed to be doing other things like work *cough*. Now I actually am having to work really hard  and I haven’t logged on to Google reader in months. I guess it’s history for the time being, as is Vox pretty much, which is a shame as I often find myself wondering how my ‘hood is getting on. Perhaps it’ll even out in a few months’ time, once I’ve got into the rhythm and can afford a bit more time out, so if y’all just bear with me and hopefully I’ll be back Voxing a bit more often again.

@ontheprowl – not sure if you’re reading this but I’m still digging your mixes
@stevebetz & greywolf – my book chums. Still not listened to the fourth GRRM and probably won’t bother until all books are released. I hate to wait and forget too easily.
@venus – hope you’re keeping up with the weight loss. Sorry I’ve not been keeping up.
@cat – hope you’re hellish nightmare is getting less hellish and less nightmarish.

Greetings from Arran

Well, we made it… just. It’s been one of the hardest weeks of our lives and I never, ever want to go through it again. Having an 18-month old makes everything so much harder. Plus we had too much stuff. And all the lost weekends when people would invite us round during the only real packing time we had meant that, even after staying up the whole night before leaving, we still couldn’t do it. Lorraine left with the kids on Tuesday morning at 6.15. It should have been 6.00 and, thanks to the Tom Tom, we missed the train in Arlon. Thankfully she still made her flight, but barely.

Then I was back to the apartment to wake my brother up and try and get everything into the neighbour’s garage. My brother had slept from 3 a.m. so got a good 4 and a half hours. I, on the other hand, hadn’t slept at all and had been up and down to the garage all night long, all 43 stairs, carrying box after box. The landlord came round about 10 as scheduled and by this time I was close to collapse. Just the exhaustion, the stress and not eating properly at all. I ended up laying on the kitchen floor while my friend, whom I’d called in for some urgent help, tried to communicate with the landlord for me. He ended up having to call his wife to talk to the landlord on the phone to interpret into the landlord’s native Italian. We agreed that I was going nowhere that day – I wasn’t fit for anything. Then we decided that my brother would still be able to make the ferry and take the cat, providing we could get the cat out from behind the kitchen units. If he couldn’t get her out, he could still make the ferry but then I’d have to get the ferry too, and have to take our car, which means we’d spend a fortune and not be able to leave the car behind to sell it (because the Brits like to be different and drive on the other side, have different electrical sockets, different currency, etc.) Anyway, we knocked the bottom panel off the cooker and managed to get the cat out, get her to the vet’s before the 11.30 deadline (she needed tick and worm treatment between 24 and 48 hours ofin the UK – not easy to arrange).

So, with my brother departed, I went to my friend’s house and collapsed for a few hours. Then back to the apartment to see the mess and start shifting it all to my friend’s. We did about half, then I started sorting it the next morning to see what to throw, what to ship and what to bring on the next morning’s flight. Another dear friend of mine met me at the apartment at lunch time and we got the rest of the stuff to our friends. Then she fed me a really good meal at her mum’s and we went back together to sort out the rest of the stuff. Then a trip to the recycling centre with all the stuff we were not taking or shipping and then back to box up what was left ready to ship.

She then fed me another good meal at her mum’s after we’d shifted all the boxes for shipping to her parents’ garage. And we were done! I flew out at 11 the next morning, got the ferry to Arran that night and have been here since Wednesday night.

The whole ordeal has taught me two things, one is that I love my wife, and the other is that friendship is one of the most valuable things in life. I really could not have done it had it not been for my two friends in my hour of need.

The new house is nice but full of old furniture and we have to try and fit around it. So far it’s working out but it’s taking a long time. And now that we’ve got all the furniture pretty much where we want it, I can’t even start unboxing as I’m heading out in a few hours for two weeks’ training on the mainland. It’s quite frustrating. Still, I guess it’ll work out in time. I have to learn how to be patient.

And so ends my first post from Arran. It really has come to pass!