dEAr diary ~ leaving…tears and treats

How did last week slip by so quickly?  What a whirlwind it has been here.

Unfortunately Tuesday, not only my wedding anniversary day but my last day at work, started with a bit of a stand-off with the new lady – I was playing it cool, polite but not overly friendly (quite unlike me).  It was our first encounter since our difficult day last Wednesday and I was adamant she was not going to spoil my final few hours at work.  Not much had changed in her attitude but she got the message that I wasn’t going to pander to her whims on my last day when I threatened to put all of my reference files in the shredding bag if she felt I was wasting my time checking they were all updated to pass on to her – though as she already knows everything she shouldn’t need them!  Standing my ground seemed to make her more amenable for the rest of the day.

In the afternoon I was suddenly called to the training room for a meeting which  ‘surprise’ turned out to be a buffet spread laid out with Prosecco, party food and cupcakes and attended by all the staff and directors.  There were speeches and presentations, more bouquets, gifts and wonderful words of thanks and appreciation for my hard work over the last 18, almost 19 years.  So my house is full of beautiful flowers once again and my birthday cards had to move over to make room for my leaving and wedding anniversary cards.

I was really touched – it was certainly a good send off – quite unexpected and lots of goodbyes, with promises to keep in touch and a few tears.

Then after an emotional day it was back home to collapse.

Early on Wednesday morning we set off for Pateley Bridge and Studfold Park with fairy wings and birthday presents on the back seat and a picnic in the cool bag ready to celebrate Little L’s 4th birthday.

The only route for us was 2 hours on busy (A) roads through Bradford and Otley and then along some winding (B) roads but it was a pleasant enough run through the countryside – places I had not been before.  We all met in the car park at about 11am – the weather was very warm but luckily it stayed mainly overcast so we didn’t get burnt as we were hunting for the fairies.

Both Little L and her friend were far too excited to eat much of their lunch and only managed half the ice cream cone and a lick at the cream frosting flowers on the birthday cake.

Her main birthday present was a balance bike but she wouldn’t ride it until she was kitted out with the full helmet, elbow and knee pads.  Luckily the postman came with them during the afternoon and then she decided to keep them on until bedtime!

We had bought her a camera that takes real pictures and selfies which you can add cartoon features to.  I had as much fun with it as Little L and would add it to my Christmas list if I could!

After a lovely day playing it was then back home to collapse.

On Thursday morning up bright and early again it was all hands to the deck once more at my elder daughter’s house – DH sorting out new banister rails on the landing and me back on the gravel patch.

By Saturday with a bit of help from the men to lift some very heavy paving stones which formed a pathway and edging we finally laid the gravel.  Our daughter then added the finishing touches of the table, chairs and pots of plants to form a seating area.  It looked really good but I forgot to take the all-important picture – I will take one and post it soon.

After 3 days hard graft it was back home to collapse.

On Sunday morning DH and I rushed around packing clothes, food and tools for our trip to the cottage in Scotland.  We finally managed to get away at lunchtime and arrived at the cottage about 8pm to then unload everything again and finally fall into bed.

After a hectic few days we must have been so tired that we slept for 10 hours solid but at least now we are here our time is our own and we can go at our own pace for a few days until Thursday when our commitments begin again.

I love exploring the garden when we haven’t been for a while – so many changes and so many different plants in flower.  Our Bramley apple tree is full of apples – it must be a good year – each morning I am gathering up the windfalls, before we leave I daresay DH will give the tree a good shake.  I will have to give most of them away as our freezer is still full of apples from last year.   

The cottage garden has lost a lot of its summer colour due to the hot weather  – many of the flowers have had a shorter flowering period with the intense heat and lack of water but the Buddleias on the woodland walk are weeping with the weight of the blossoms this year and they are full of butterflies.

The Hydrangeas are also out in full bloom now – the one above was my dads, I have no idea what it is called but it is a beautiful shade of coral pink around the edges of the petals which fade slightly as they open.

The Rosa Rugosa hedge down the lane has huge hips forming already and the Agapanthus are just loving this sun.

There is plenty to do here – weeding, pruning and tidying but only one day left so I need to prioritise.  On our next visit which will be longer maybe 2 or 3 weeks we should have time to make more of an impact. Going to Italy this year certainly put us behind with the general maintenance.

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer – I have a bit of catching up to do with my favourite blogs.

Back soon x

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dEAr diary ~ oh dear …what can the matter be?

Before I forget this time thank you for all the birthday wishes and your lovely comments about my recent explorations in Derbyshire.  It has been a battle keeping all the flowers I received for my birthday looking fresh in the vase with this heat.

But outside in the garden my sweet peas are starting to flower one by one.

Sweet Peas

Only two days to go now at work (next Monday and Tuesday) and I suddenly find I have quite a lot of work to get through as well as packing up my belongings.  I am in high demand from so many different departments in the office who want to know how to do something.  I seem to have acquired quite a skill bank over the 19 years and now everyone is panicking because when I go some of the knowledge will go with me.

The pressure became so great I had to leave work at lunchtime yesterday as I was having palpitations.  I have been having them for the last week and often this is because my Thyroxine is out of balance again.  A very pressured meeting during the morning made them far worse to the point I felt I couldn’t breath properly.

I won’t go into detail here but I am now finding it hard to know what to think about the new person.  As you know during her first few days our HR lady had received two formal complaints about her from colleagues – if you remember I thought at the time this was a bit premature and I did all I could to make her welcome and just put it all down to the newness and change.

But since then there have been further ‘events’ two in my absence at the end of last week and the one yesterday involving me.

The issues last week with the new person was yet another complaint from a junior member of staff whom she had been extremely demanding and rude to and then again when called in to explain this episode to our HR lady she walked out of the meeting with her.

I cannot accept rudeness, bullying etc in any form by a senior member of staff on a junior.  In my books you should treat everyone with the same politeness as you would want to be treated no matter what your status.

In further conversations with the new lady she told me she was used to working in London and down South and there you just click your fingers (which she does often) and you expect a job done.  Is this right?  I have not worked in the South since college days – is there such a big difference now as she claims or is this an excuse?

We must seem like the parochial cousins to her  – slow-witted and a bit behind the times as she is very critical of the way we work and the speed.  She is even more preoccupied about money and targets than the directors!

I have always thought of myself as a very fair person and giving people the benefit of the doubt but I must say I am finding it really hard to understand the new lady and her approach.  I am starting to question my first impressions and wondering if I could actually work with her after all if I had been staying.

The reason for this is there is an IT issue at the moment on our accounts program – looking into it I believe it has been there for four years so not life threatening but before I leave she is almost bullying me to do something that I know will not fix the problem and could make matters worse.  I deal with the maintenance of the software for the Legal Aid part but I keep telling her that our Software provider should be given the chance to look into it first and establish the extent of the problem and reason but she hasn’t the patience for that as you have to log a call and wait in a queue – and waiting she doesn’t do.

I know I shouldn’t really care or be bothered and just do what she asks but I do care as the implications of adding things onto the software without knowing what you are doing could be huge.

So I am feeling tired now and looking forward to the final day so that I can make plans for the future.  I have many thoughts swirling around in my  mind that I need to get onto paper.  I know I want to establish a regular exercise plan as soon as possible and introduce  a few healthier meals but I also want to get my house in order – a good spring clean and a lot of decluttering.

Whilst I was ironing on Monday I watched the minimalist Japanese writer of ‘Goodbye Things’ on You Tube and noted one or two ideas he had that I found quite perceptive.  I am not sure I want to go to only 300 items but I do need to reduce our stuff.

I often sell / give away/ repurpose stuff but it just builds up again.  Reading around the blogs it seems that we are all doing this endless decluttering task many times over.  Thank goodness for charity shops and car boot sales. I never remember my gran decluttering ever except the day they moved into a granny flat.  She never seemed to have things that she couldn’t find a home for and this maybe because they didn’t really have multiples of anything not even on her grocery shelf (and yes it was just a shelf!).

I do remember my mum ‘doing out’ her cupboards before a major holiday like Easter and Christmas but this was just straightening rather than decluttering.

I am beginning to think decluttering is only like a sticking plaster – a temporary solution and that I need to get back to the cause of my accumulation of stuff.

More thoughts another day. x

 

dEAr diary ~ collEAgues…who’d have ’em

A bit of a mad day today.  I arrived in work quite early this morning and was met by a desk covered in flowers and presents from colleagues for my birthday tomorrow ( I won’t be at work tomorrow as I don’t work on Thursdays).

I was quite touched and know that I will miss them all when I go.  The flowers are all at home now and in water and I will open the cards and presents tomorrow.

But then…we had a slight upset at work – I cannot go into detail here – but I did wonder if I was at work or playschool!   I suppose it can be hard to accept changes and some of my colleagues in the team I supervise had already decided they are not going to like the new person and have already found something to complain about.

It is all a bit childish really and a little premature I think.  After only three days I found the team’s attitudes a bit difficult to understand but I expect sometimes it just takes time to accept a new personality with new ways and new thoughts.  I actually like my replacement quite a lot and I can see past that initial compulsion new people always seem to have to need to make an impression.  I know I would have enjoyed working with her had I been staying.  She is disappointed I am going and worried how she will get along with a team who are finding fault with her already!  I didn’t leave work until after 7pm tonight as she was so upset by the incident.  I feel bad for her.

I finally got home, had tea and the minute I had finished we had a visit from my friend (who is also a vicar) with another card and gift for tomorrow.  We had a little chat and caught up with the news.  We have many mutual friends who are presently retiring or downsizing or just moving within the area and spent some time catching up with the progress of each of them.  We also established that we are not moving for the foreseeable future and neither is he!

At nine o’clock we had time to relax but it has been a full on day with mixed emotions.  The same colleagues who had showered me with gifts and best wishes had been so different with the new lady.  Puzzling!

I am glad I will be off work now until Tuesday (I am allowed to have Monday off in lieu of my birthday day).  I am hoping everything will have settled down a bit by then and that I will still have a replacement.

Thank you to all the comments from my blogging friends who are offering me such good advice and keeping me sane at the moment – I am so grateful and taking it all on board.

Welcome to new follower Dar (from An Exacting Life) one of my favourite blogs – if you want to read about a book review – this is the site!

Take care  x

dEAr diary ~ just pondering on life

Sometimes you have days where you feel ‘off’ for no particular reason that you can put your finger on – today was one of them.

Perhaps it is the hot weather – this sticky and uncomfortable state making me feel constantly headachy and lethargic or maybe it is being in this place of temporary suspension waiting for the ending of one chapter but not able to begin the next.

My replacement started at work yesterday and there is a lot to show her so it is quite exhausting – but she is very nice and had I been staying on I am sure we would have got along just fine.

I am also aware that coming up soon on the calendar are a few ‘memorable’ dates – each one of them evidence that life speeds ahead whether or not you are enjoying it, doing what you want to do or otherwise.

  • July 19th – my 64th birthday – yikes really?

  • July 30th – my eldest daughters 2nd wedding anniversary – already?
  • July 31st – our 42nd wedding anniversary and the day I leave my job

  • August 1st – Little L (my granddaughter’s) 4th birthday – growing up fast now.

  • August 16th – this would have been my mum and dad’s 70th wedding anniversary if dad had still been alive but we will still mark the occasion with my mum in some way.

A lot of celebrations, maybe commiseration, a lot of memories, a lot of years and it does leave you wondering where did all that time go – have we become what we wanted or hoped to be?

As I am about to venture into this unknown territory soon of being job less (through choice) am I going to cope but more worrying am I going to fulfil all those things I once dreamed of doing.  If I have things still left to do then I need to get on with them quickly as I have more life behind me now than in front.

I have been so busy recently that I have not given much thought to what I will do,  less so to the financial implications of living on one state pension and our savings until I can claim my own in 2 years’ time.

Already our time is being booked out to helping:- decorating for our elder daughter, child minding our granddaughter for our younger daughter during the summer holidays and also granny minding for my mum whilst my sister is away.  We have also booked the man to come to sort out the rendering of the upper part of our house.

Looks like it will be September then before we can draw breath!  This doesn’t sound like a ‘retirement’ to me.

 

dEAr diary ~ reappraisal…the next steps

As you might have realised by the sudden gap in transmission we are now back home in Yorkshire and I am back at work.

Back at work wondering why on earth I didn’t put my final day to leave work as June 30th when I handed in my notice – so now I am stuck with 31st July (I gave them two months notice) and to be honest this was a mistake.  The break from work for our two-week holiday has meant it has been so hard to return to fulfil these remaining days of which I have now only 7 to go (not that I am counting), but it suddenly seems an eternity.

It is a bit scary leaving but now I just want to get it done.

Overwith.

Start my new life…whatever shape that will be.

Today is my first day off this week.  We arrived back quite late last Sunday, unloaded the car, watered our devastated and thirsty garden with endless watering cans of water (as we didn’t know if a hose pipe ban was in place) then fell into bed.

So now my home looks like it has had an attack of some kind with the contents of all the bags from our holiday dispersed around the rooms waiting for some action.  So my task for today will be to CLEAR IT ALL UP.

I have washing to sort, unpacking to finish, menus to plan and a shopping list to write.  I actually feel a bit disoriented and exhausted.  Maybe that is just age, maybe just me but somehow as they say my get up and go has got up and gone.

I have a new follower, Cathy from Still Waters – welcome Cathy.  I noticed her most recent post was about insomnia.  I can relate to this –  I did not sleep well the last three nights and it was not the heat but the pressures of work, or should I say the pressures of leaving work.  There is still much unrest in the office – speculation as to where the new directors are taking us, the new imposed restrictions, the never-ending meeting and setting targets to bring in more money.  It is all about more money – never about client satisfaction and care or even the employees satisfaction and care.  I can’t continue to work in that world.  So I won’t be.

Well I don’t wish to moan anymore I just have to sit out my last seven days over the next three weeks – my replacement starts on Monday – and then I can turn my focus to my new life.

What am I going to do with my new life?  It is a bit like having a blank page or the start of a new year.  I need a plan.

But that will be another post another day – I have to get moving on the tidying and shopping.

Quick update – whilst out shopping this afternoon I picked up a few things in Sainsbury’s – the rope coil basket was £6 and will be useful to keep our laptop chargers and cables in, the gardening gloves are reduced to £2.25 and are great for gardening – I had a pair recently at the cottage so I have bought 2 more.

Lastly, I got a copy of Mollie Makes – I hope it is the right edition –  No 94 as it should have the feature in of Gillian’s home from the blog ‘Tales from a happy house.’

Back soon x

dEAr diary ~ saying goodbye

It’s official – on Tuesday 31st July I will be leaving work – (notice I say leaving not retiring) for at this point I am not sure what my immediate future holds, and also notice I say immediate future as my working life at 64 is becoming increasingly shorter.

So at present I am saying goodbye to all my colleagues and everything I have known for the last 19 years… to venture into the unknown.

I am not able to draw on my state pension until May 2020 – so a while to go yet and it will be a challenge to see if we can survive on just the pension of DH.  His first instalment has just been deposited in our bank account.  I think we have paid out bigger bills!

I can’t even believe we have reached pensionable age – it has come round quicker than expected.  What happened to all those years that used to stretch ahead of us and are now behind us?  Do I sound a little scared – I could easily be if I sat and thought about it too much.

I have a number of alternative opportunities at this point, other than just to retire.  I have been approached by one or two people to work within the Legal Aid sector that I know and love but remotely from home (I quite like the idea).  But and this is a big but, I do want to have some quality time for myself to do all the things I am passionate about – gardening – crafting – painting, and some time just to be rather than to do and I want to do all these whilst I am generally still fit and able.

So lots of decisions to make and lots of challenges ahead of which I will no doubt keep you posted along the way.  Any tips or advice welcome.

Apologies for anyone trying to leave a comment  recently and thank you to the people who have hijacked other bloggers commenting page to get a message to me.  It seems that WordPress Twenty Seventeen theme that I chose is not comment friendly so I have now switched themes – so I hope this solves the problem and I would love to hear from you if you would like to try again.

On the same note there are a number of blogs mainly on Blogger that I used to comment on that have recently changed and only allow Google account uses now for comments and I cannot sign into mine.  I would love to leave you a comment if you could adjust your comment drop down to include the ‘Name/URL’ version.

So that is all the technical stuff taken care of and I am now about to run around in a frenzy trying to pack to go up to the cottage for a couple of weeks.  The weather sounds good and I am sure our jungle of a garden up there will need quite a bit of attention.  I am also hoping for a trip out on the Waverley paddle steamer – one of my favourite holiday treats.

Back soon x