Sunday, March 7, 2010

(2005) Busy, busy, busy!

March 2005

Dear Aunt Agatha,

The job hunt is still ongoing. I had my first interview last month, for an IT Director position, which I had to put in a lot of preparation for. Didn't get it, but at least it was a positive sign to be under consideration.

However it is probably just as well that I'm not working yet, because there is more than enough to do at home.

There's all the kinds of stuff that you'd expect, of course. Loads of boxes to unpack, things to find homes for, and still more things to buy. And all the packaging and garbage to dispose of. Luckily they recycle a whole lot more here than Guernsey, and kerbside pickup too. The playroom is finally useable, but the garage still resembles a warehouse.

But then there's all the unlooked-for projects that reared their heads as we took stock of our new environment. We've had endless phone calls and visits by a stream of tradesmen to quote on various pieces of work that need doing. I sometimes think we need a revolving door at the front of the house to cope with the traffic.

Our property is surrounded by hedges that have been untended for a few years. A big enough job to get quotes for. In the end, a whole gang of men spent all day cutting rampant vegetation back to a manageable height, and shredding the offcuts. Wow! What a difference. The back yard has opened out considerably and gets a lot more light now.

And we need quotes to re-roof the house (which we knew about from the building inspector's report), to put more units and worktops into the kitchen, and to remodel the bedrooms downstairs for the kids to move into. This north American penchant for built-in closets is great when they are properly designed, but when they are added as an afterthought they can really mess up a space. So we want them gone, and the kids will use the standalone furniture we brought with us.

Ali and I both spent many long hours clearing a huge patch of ivy choking two trees and about thirty feet of one of the back borders. In doing so, we uncovered a pile of stones the size of a small car, and a big open compost bin that was completely hidden from view. When this is all cleared, there'll be a fantastic space for a children's play area.

The cats have been exploring their new back yard, and getting used to a new arrival. Ali always said that when we had the space she wanted a dog. So now we have a dog! A husky-plus-goodness-knows-what puppy from one of the local rescue societies. Very cute, though. As a result I've had an endless stream of small jobs around the place making the fence and gates puppy-proof. And trying to keep the cat bowls and litter tray out of harm's way.

And, yes, another stream of people to quote for fencing the back of the yard properly. For huskies, the recommendation is six feet! So that means I've got to go around the boundary making sure it is accessible. Stones, soil, and logs to shift out of the way. And a rickety tin shed to demolish.

We learned more about practices for marking out properties along the way. Property lines over here are marked by boundary pins, actually long metal stakes, sunk into the earth at the corners. We managed to locate the one at the far corner so we know our new fence is within our property.

Even that isn't the whole picture. There are many more smaller jobs to get the junk-heap that is our back yard under some sort of control. So, yes, we've been busy this month and there's a lot still to go. But it is good to see signs of progress around the place.

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